Most things cycle in an out of trend, and shutters are on the way back up again, fast becoming a more and more popular choice for window coverings. Offering privacy, light control, versatility on the functional side, they also bring a timeless, elegant look to your home.
Different types of shutters
If you’re considering shutters for your home, here is an overview of all the different types and things you need to know.
Covers the window in full. This is the most common and popular style of shutters.
Leaves the top of the window un-shuttered, with shutters only covering the bottom half of the frame. Ideal for ground level windows and town houses.
Tier on tier
A very flexible option; independent panels on the top and bottom give greater adjustability to make the most of light, the view or to provide more privacy.
Provides a very traditional finish to windows with the addition of greater security. No light control though.
Shutters can also be custom-made to fit unusual shaped windows.
Ways they operate
The beauty of shutters is that you can leave them as is and tilt the blades to block or let in light, or you can open them right up and expose the view in full. Depending on your requirements and the amount of space on either side of the shuttered window, they can be operated through a number of configurations:
Hinged at the window frame, shutters can be opened out and away from the window. As the open panels are only supported by this one set of hinges this option is best for small to medium windows.
Panels are installed on tracks to slide across the face of an opening. If you have room it could slide as one large panel, or you could go for bi-pass sliding panels that slide in and stack over top of each other. This option allows you to cover wide widths; it’s great for sliding doors.
Bi-fold – hinged and on-track
There are two bi-fold styles, depending on the size of the window. Simple hinged bi-fold opens and folds at the window frame as well as at 90° angle in the centre of the shutters.
For larger windows you can have the same but with the extra guidance and stability of having the shutters on a tracks so they can be slid across the window while folded.
Shutters can be designed to separate your windows in two - allowing you to have one open and one closed, a versatility not on offer with curtains and blinds. Depending on where the sun is coming through and how much light you want coming in you can have half the shutter open, the other half closed. As the sun moves during the day you can adjust your shutters to suit.
Or they can be fixed and not move at all.
What are shutters made of?
Most commonly they are constructed out of wood or plastics but you can also sometimes get them with aluminium blades.
Ranging from premium hardwood to fast grown value woods. Be aware that cheaper products could be made of wood offcuts glued together and laminated for a nice finish; these are much less stable and durable.
MDF and craftwood for example. We don’t recommend these as good options as they are heavy but not strong, and they also absorb moisture. Wood composite shutters would not last as long as even a plastic alternative.
PVC, polymers, Thermalite, etc. These are cheap to produce but not as durable as a good quality wood. Best suited to smaller windows that don’t need opening and closing often.
As a good conductor of heat these may seem like a good option for winter, but consider their performance in summer.
Because shutters can be made from a variety of materials, they also come in a wide range of painted and stained colours, or can be colour matched to your décor. White or stained wood are the most commonly requested. Luckily, there is no wrong choice as it will ultimately be your taste and the style, and size of the room, that determines the finished look.
What rooms do they work best in?
The versatility of shutters is amazing; they really do work for every room. The one consideration to really focus on is the space and size of the room. Shutters need a clear area around the window frame to be opened, so if you’re dealing with corner windows (for example) they might not be a great idea, or you could opt for fixed non-opening shutters.
If insulation is your primary focus and your home needs an extra hand retaining warmth, there’s no reason your shutters couldn’t be paired up with a pair of curtains or Roman blinds.
General features of shutters
There are a range of features of shutters and a few things to keep in mind.
Shutters are a classic piece of design that add another dimension to the lines and shapes of a room. They look stunning and create a timeless focal point.
Invaluable light control
The two-way tilt of the blades of a shutter makes them adept at blocking light and providing ultimate privacy.
Help reduce heat gain and loss
In summer they help to deflect heat away. In winter, their snug position against the window lends them insulating properties.
Easy to clean
With no strings, ties or complex mechanisms in the way, shutters are the easiest window covering to clean; just run a damp cloth across them.
Built to last
In comparison to curtains and blinds that can age over time, shutters are designed to last for many years in the right conditions.
Interior shutters need a clear space to the side of the window when they're opened so keep in mind the location of your walls and furniture.
They also require hardware that is fastened to the window jams or trim.