Does the radiator in your kitchen take up valuable space, and you wonder if you could utilize that space for something more? A breakfast bar in the kitchen creates convenient seating, especially if your space is limited. Not only is a breakfast bar convenient, but it can also really make a kitchen that much more cozy. Can you put a breakfast bar over a radiator? We've done the research and have an answer for you.
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You can put a breakfast bar over a radiator. In fact, placing some kind of shelf or tabletop over the radiator is a great way to utilize space you might have thought was unusable. With the right clearance and proper materials, a breakfast bar over the radiator is well within your reach.
Now that you know a breakfast bar over a radiator is a great idea, let's discuss all the pros and cons that come with it. There are many considerations to be made before tackling this project. Read on for all the details, as well as answers to other questions you might have!
The Pros of a Breakfast Bar Over the Radiator
A properly positioned breakfast bar can add an out of the way place to sit in your kitchen. Not only that, but it provides an additional workspace if you're preparing a large meal or need a stable surface to chop some veggies. By placing the breakfast bar over an unutilized space, such as the radiator, you aren't sacrificing any other valuable floor space.
In addition to adding more workable surfaces to your kitchen, a properly placed cover can actually help the radiator direct heat into your room instead of it rising straight to the ceiling. If seated at the breakfast bar while the radiator is running, it also makes a cozy, warm place to sit.
Read our post, "6 Dining Table Alternatives," to find out all your options when kitchen/dining space is limited.
The Cons of a Breakfast Bar Over the Radiator
There isn't much of a downside to putting a breakfast bar over your radiator. If you run warm, the heat coming from the radiator could make you overly so while sitting at the breakfast bar. If this is the case, you might consider turning the radiator off before sitting at the bar to ensure you don't overheat.
Also, anything installed over the radiator must be thoroughly secured. If there are any chances of the breakfast bar falling, you run the risk of damaging your radiator. Many bar top tables could fit nicely over a radiator, though. So this is definitely an option if you don't want to make the breakfast bar a permanent fixture.
If leaving chairs or other furniture positioned at the breakfast bar, ensure they aren't so solidly built that the warm air cannot travel into the rest of the room. Your best bet is to use tall, leggy barstools so that the heat isn't blocked.
What type of material should be used for a breakfast bar over the radiator?
When considering what the breakfast bar should be made of, try to steer clear of anything wooden. Being exposed to heat for long periods can cause the wood to warp over time. Wood also tends to be heavier than other materials. You can still use wood if your heart is set on it, but it will need to be replaced. Radiators do not get hot enough to set the wood on fire, so you needn't worry about a fire hazard by using wood.
A laminate tabletop is the best option. It's inexpensive and smooth, and you can get a laminate countertop in just about any pattern or color you could want. Laminate is durable and easy to work with if this would be a DIY project.
You can also make your breakfast bar out of stone if desired. With this option, however, it's best to contact some professional help for installation. Stone countertops are heavy and must be secured properly to prevent injury or property damage.
Is there anything I shouldn't leave on a breakfast bar or shelf over the radiator?
You shouldn't leave anything with a low melting point over the radiator, such as butter or chocolate. Allowing something like this to rest on the countertop will create a mess. Additionally, anything made of metal that could become hot to the touch should not be left. Although the radiator likely would not heat metal on the bar to the point of injury, it is best to avoid any potentially dangerous situations.
How much clearance does a radiator need?
The clearance a radiator needs depends on the size of the radiator. A general rule is that the radiator needs a minimum of 10% of its height in clearance. So if your radiator is 36 inches in height, this means it needs at least 3.6 inches in clearance around all sides.
How high is a breakfast bar?
Bar seating tends to be higher than a countertop or traditional tabletop, which is why it works well as a place over a radiator. Traditional bar height is about 42 inches off the floor, but of course, this number is customizable depending on your needs and your radiator.
Do keep in mind that if you fluctuate much from the standard bar height, it might be difficult to find prefabricated bar stools to sit as they are made based on an average. That doesn't mean you can't still have barstools, though! Just get ready for the necessity of having them custom made.
Read our post, "How Much Should a Breakfast Bar Overhang?" to learn more about breakfast bars and their installation.
Can you put a cupboard in front of a radiator?
You shouldn't put solid furniture directly in front of a radiator. It blocks the heat from spreading throughout the room and can warp or damage the cupboard itself. The radiator will have to work much harder to heat the room, and you're looking at an increase in your energy bills. Make every effort to ensure the radiator has proper ventilation.
In What Ways Can a Radiator Be Covered?
If you're considering the breakfast bar to hide the unsightly radiator, there are other ways in which to keep the radiator hidden. There are plenty of inventive ways to cover the radiator as long as it has adequate breathing room so your space can still be warmed by it.
You can purchase premade radiator covers, or you can have them custom-made. If you're good at DIY when working with wood and mesh, you could even make one yourself. The inside must be reflective, and there must be plenty of room for the heat to escape. Be leery of making this your next DIY, however, because if the radiator cover is done incorrectly, your energy bills could suffer.
A breakfast bar is a fantastic way of utilizing all your kitchen space and covering a potentially unsightly radiator. Just ensure the radiator has plenty of clearance and airflow, and you'll be loving that extra countertop and kitchen aesthetic in no time.