The primary function of window shutters and blinds is to allow you to regulate the amount of natural light and heat entering your home but they can equally be attractive, decorative items in their own right. You can choose shutters and blinds to create an environment that is cool and shady during the summer months but, nevertheless, warm and cosy during the winter. This need not be at the expense of your interior design; window shutters and blinds are available in a wide range of materials, styles and colours to complement your existing décor and to make your own personal lifestyle statement.
Window shutters can, of course, be exterior or interior although in the United Kingdom they do tend to be of the decorative variety, rather than the storm or hurricane shutters employed in other less clement parts of the world. Exterior or interior window shutters are typically constructed from vinyl which is relatively inexpensive and virtually maintenance free but not overly attractive, or from one of a variety of woods which are more pleasing aesthetically but require further thought with regard to maintenance and weatherproofing particularly if used externally. Nowadays ecologically sustainable hardwoods such as Western Red Cedar or Basswood are very popular not least because of their uniform graining and variety of staining options.
Window shutters can be manufactured in a range of heights, widths and louvre profiles so that the number of panels – and hence the overall look of the shutter – opening arrangements etc. can be chosen to suit your own personal requirements. These may, of course, be determined to some degree by the size of the window and the degree to which it is overlooked from the point of view of privacy.
Window blinds offer a typically less permanent – but often no less effective – window covering than window shutters and are similarly available in a wide range of styles and colours. Roller blinds, for example, provide a simple, modern alternative to curtains and are eminently practical in just about any room of the house. Roman blinds – constructed from fabric, or other material that can be raised in folds, or pleats, to create a layered look – are an attractive alternative as are Venetian blinds. Venetian blinds can be constructed from real or faux wood or aluminium – useful in “wet” areas such as bathrooms or kitchens – typically have good insulating properties and are easy to clean. The individual slats in a Venetian blind are usually just 1″ or so in width, but can be as much as 2½” across, creating a distinctive “plantation” look akin to that created by interior, or “plantation”, window shutters. Vertical floor-to-ceiling blinds can provide a professional look in a modern office but are equally applicable to a modern living space where they can provide a useful solution around awkward window spaces such as bays.