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Q: We have ugly radiators in both our dining and living rooms. How can we make them look, well, hotter?

Photograph of an ugly, old radiator.Tamara says...
The quickest fix is to paint the rads in the same colour as your walls or trim. Be sure to do proper prep work including washing them with trisodium phosphate (TSP), drying them and priming them with an oil-based primer or another primer that is made for metal and will not rust. Once they are primed properly, you can either brush or spray on latex paint (oil can be used as long as an oil-based primer is applied). If you decide that painting the rads is not enough, you can create a top for them out of plywood and narrow crown moulding—this adds a functional surface—or build a rad cover out of MDF and wire mesh. A rad cover can be made just big enough to house the rad or you can make it larger and create a credenza to provide open shelf or closed storage on either side of the rad. Good luck!

Tamara Chiarello's interior design company, In Vision, does both residential and commercial work. Send her your decorating questions here.