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When Beata Heuman invites guests over to her London house for dinner, she wants them to talk about the food—not the two bulky radiators in her dining room. The Swedish interior designer was faced with a choice when she moved into the place: accept the eyesores for what they are (unavoidable) or reimagine them as decorative features. Naturally, she went above and beyond to turn them into something fun and functional. 

The fastest and most affordable way to hide a less-than-pleasing heater is to buy a cover, but those boxy, vent-like structures are usually uglier than the appliance itself. It was this realization that led Heuman to sketch a solution of her own: a scalloped shelf long and deep enough to cover the radiator tops. The result? A mini console for displaying books and plants.

To make it happen, Heuman handed off her drawing to a trusted craftsman who built the tops out of wood. (Unless you’re a real whiz with carpentry, the designer doesn’t recommend making the pieces yourself.) “With shelves, it’s especially important that everything is executed precisely so that nothing slides off,” she says. But if you’re dying to DIY, Heuman suggests tackling the final stage (painting!) after the pieces have been mounted to the wall.  

“With shelves, it’s especially important that everything is executed precisely so that nothing slides off.”

Once the camouflages were installed, Heuman got to the fun part: styling them. And she has some solid advice on the matter. For one, avoid candles—or really anything that melts easily. Plants are definitely welcome but think twice before putting your lady palm or spider plant on there. (Psst: These heat-intolerant ones won’t last long.) “I’ve lost a few to that fate!” says Heuman. Aloe, ponytail palm, and most succulents, on the other hand, will thrive in this spot. 

Heuman completed the vignettes with matching statement mirrors (her quirky egret one by Gail Dooley for Victoria Stainow definitely adds a playful touch) and whimsical wallpaper. The entire look is so stylish that it makes you say, “What radiator?”

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