Towel rails are fantastic if you have the space to have them in your home. While they’re commonly thought of as a trendy upgrade to have in your bathroom, it’s only one of two rooms in the home you tend to use towels. I feel that the kitchen is often overlooked as a great space to have a towel rail, especially if your kitchen/dining table is situated beside a radiator, and everyone has a bad habit of hitting chairs off it as they get in and out.
I think that towel rails can look great in a kitchen, but it is very easy to muck it up and make mistakes which will see you kicking yourself for the rail not looking or working how you imagined it. If you’re sitting reading this with a few tabs of towel rails open on your browser you think can take pride of place, make sure you follow these tips so everything can go as planned.
Know your limits
To me, size is the most important factor in moving from standard radiators in your kitchen to using towel rails instead. You’ll automatically want to go for the biggest rail you can afford, but you need to know that it will fit and be supported.
Typically, a towel rail sits higher on the wall than a normal radiator, so you’ll need to factor in how much space is available at the top and bottom of the wall, paying particular attention if you have skirting in the way. And also make sure that if you’re opting for a small rail, you don’t hang it higher than halfway up the wall, as it will affect air circulation.
Lining up with studs helps a lot too. If your rail is going over plaster, if you can find where the studs are, it’ll fit nicely. While towel rails are themselves quite light, it’s hanging things on them that adds the weight. It might not seem like much weight, but it will show if the rail is hung up poorly.
Know your pipework
The switch in direction also means the distance of pipe entries will shrink down. Getting a rail usually means you need pipework carried out to remove existing bends and narrow your pipe centers. If you didn’t, you would have some very weird looking pipe connections coming to meet your new rail.
If pipework is too costly and your heart is set on a new rail, I would recommend looking at some towel rails with electric elements instead. As long as you can get one plugged in and going, you can have a lovely new rail on the wall without needing to connect it to your existing pipework.
Know your heating requirements
Never go like for like in matching radiator size with towel rail size. You might have a 1200mm by 600mm panel radiator on the wall currently and think that a 60mm by 1200mm rail hanging vertically will be able to match heat output, but that sadly isn’t how radiators work.
You’ll need to know the heat output your current radiator has (measured in what is called a BTU) and then look at towel rails that match that same output. You don’t want to forsake heating efficiency for design. I know I’d rather have a cozy warm kitchen with an older looking radiator than a freezing room with a rail that didn’t work as hoped.
Know your ladders & gaps
One last tip to be aware of. You’ll most likely be putting a rail in your kitchen to give you somewhere to hang tea towels and oven mitts, so don’t go getting a rail that has no wide gaps between the horizontal rails. Look for “ladder” rails which tend to have panels in sections with enough room to pop towels on. You don’t want to end up with a radiator where you have to stuff towels in to keep them in place.
That’s all the advice I have on making it easier to shop for a towel rail in your kitchen. Hopefully, it will help you avoid making easy mistakes. If you’re in the process of redecorating your kitchen, be sure to read more of our kitchen hardware articles.