Window shutters are a sophsticated window treatment which can be timeless in the right setting.
The louvre size, choice of material and opening method are just some of the options to consider when selecting this versatile window treatment.
This quick guide which will help you choose and purchase the right shutters for you and your home.
Before you buy
Image: Clement Browne
Take into account how you will use your shutters before you commit to a design. For instance, will you open them up regularly or keep them closed and adjust the louvres to control the light coming in? It’s worth discussing your requirements with different suppliers who will advise you on the best fixings for your needs and whether you need a track or not.
Interior shutters can be solid or feature a series of louvred slats that overlap each other. The louvres can be opened and closed to let in more or less light and for privacy. Traditionally, they are controlled via a tilt rod but the latest designs can be operated by hidden mechanisms or by remote control. A latch or lock can be fitted to provide an extra layer of security. Shutters require regular cleaning to remove dust, which can be a fiddly process, and they take up more space than blinds so may not be ideal for very small windows.
DIY or bespoke?
Image: Clement Browne
The number of windows you want to cover, the style of shutter and what it’s made of will have a big influence on the final cost of your shutters. At the premium end of the market, companies provide a full service where they will measure, make and fit your shutters. You simply choose the style, material and colour you want.
A less-expensive option is to measure up your space, place your order online and fit the shutters yourself. The designs are custom-made to your specifications but there are no installation costs. This is only recommended for standard windows; a full service option should be taken for anything out of the ordinary.
Which style of shutter is right for you?
Image: Shutterly Fabulous
Tier on tier
Tier-on-tier designs have two independent sections, one on top of the other. The tiers can be opened and closed separately. For instance, the bottom can be closed for privacy with the tier above kept open for light and fresh air.
Full-height options are classic in design and are ideal for most windows, but are particularly suited for tall ones, in which case they usually have a centrally placed dividing rail for strength. The louvres above and below the rail can be adjusted separately. For large expanses of glazing or patio doors, a tracked system is recommended.
Cafe-style shutters are fitted at the bottom section of the window only. They suit rooms where there’s no need for complete privacy but may not be suitable for bedrooms or bathrooms as they don’t provide total blackout at night.
Solid panels are available in a range of designs, from simple shaker styles to those with raised or moulded centre panels. They are ideal for creating a near blackout effect and offer high levels of noise insulation.
The right material
Image: Thomas Sanderson
Top-of-the-range interior shutters are made from solid hardwood, which can be lacquered, stained or treated to reveal the timber’s natural beauty. Look for sustainably sourced options: those with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification are from managed forests that don’t have a negative impact on the environment. Shutters made from teak, paulownia, basswood, poplar, oak or cherry can be bought from specialist companies and DIY chains. They are a significant investment, and prices vary according to the type and whether you have them installed professionally.
Shutters made from MDF or craftwood are more affordable options. They have a wood-like appearance but can only be painted, not stained. Hybrid composites are a mid-range product combining an MDF frame with wooden louvres. Composites won’t warp or crack in fluctuating temperatures. For bathrooms, uPVC or ABS are waterproof.
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