How you decide to dress your windows is undoubtedly a big decision because it has a lasting impact on a room and is a long-term investment in your home.
Here at The Window Shutter Company you won’t be surprised to hear that we would strongly recommend shutters, but at the same time we understand that shutters aren’t for everyone.
In this article we address the benefits of each of the three most common window dressing options – shutters, curtains and blinds – which will hopefully make your decision a little easier.
Of course if you’d like to discuss your requirements or have any burning questions, we invite you to contact us directly.
Before we get stuck into the arguments, here are the highlights.
The case for window shutters
The only solution that can offer you different degrees of privacy and light control. Arguably the most stylish, contemporary and long-lasting solution of the three.
The case for curtains
You choose the colour and/or pattern that best suits the style of your room. Some would argue that curtains are the cosiest window dressing option.
The case for blinds
Possibly the cheapest solution, depending on the configuration you choose. Like curtains, you have more options to choose from when it comes to deciding on the finish.
Next we highlight some of the arguments that you should consider before you decide.
Ok, let’s go!
1. Best control of light and privacy?
Window shutters are by design, incredibly versatile. They provide varying levels of light and privacy that curtains and blinds simply cannot. The shutter style and configuration and louvre you choose determines the amount of light coming in and how easy it is to see into the room.
You can have full privacy while still allowing for a generous amount of light to be let into the room, as well as views out.
Curtains are either open or closed. Blinds are open, closed or tilted at an angle.
With full height or tier-on-tier shutters you have the option to have a lower section of louvres closed for privacy, and the upper section open to flood the room with light. There’s only one winner here.
2. Best fit?
This one is easy. Our shutters are custom built to the millimetre and we install them for you. Whether your window is small and rectangular, or something more unusual like a hexagonal shape, unlike curtains or blinds, window shutters are tailored to fit exactly with the size and shape of your window.
Across the board it’s shutters, hands down. They are the perfect fit for any window and your room will feel bigger.
3. Most efficient?
We’re often asked if our shutters are good for insulation.
As we said, our shutters are custom built to fit the window. A frame is fixed into the window reveal, and the panels are hung from the frame. There are less gaps for cold air to get into the room, hence they can help maintain a desired room temperature and ultimately reduce your heating bills.
Conversely shutters are also the best window dressing option for combating heat gain. The British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) carried out some research which suggested some 20% of homes across the UK are prone to overheating.
Unlike curtains, shutters help by reflecting some of the sun’s energy away from the room – and louvres offer ventilation.
Blinds of course work in a similar way to shutters, but if windows are open and there’s a breeze, blinds are going to move around.
Blinds can compete with shutters on reducing heat gain, but shutters take this one because they do a better job on heat loss.
4. Hardest wearing?
Window shutters are incredibly durable. Whichever shutter you choose, they will be robust and built to last. Unlike blinds, they will be fixed in place which ensures they’re less likely to break or suffer from wear and tear.
If you choose curtains it’s unlikely they’ll need replacing, unless you redecorate of course.
Curtains can become discoloured after prolonged contact with the sun.
Window shutters can be set to be partially open which allows the required light into the room whilst simultaneously reducing the impact of full sun on fabrics such as furniture and carpets.
This is starting to get embarrassing, it’s shutters again! Our shutters won’t warp, discolour or fall apart.
5. Most child-friendly?
Shutters are perfect for children’s rooms and nurseries. Unlike blinds, there are no cords for a child to play with. Shutters also help to control the light, ensuring a good night’s sleep for all. We have identified a number of different solutions that can also help create better blackout.
Curtains are obviously a great option for a child’s bedroom or nursery too, to complement decor or continue a theme, but without a blackout blind, they don’t provide the full solution.
Shutters by a whisker from curtains. If you have no need to create blackout in a room, then you could argue for either solution here.
6. Most pet-friendly?
This might not be something you’ve considered, but shutters are definitely the most pet-friendly option of the three. We’ve already established they’re the most hard wearing solution, and they can’t be climbed like curtains!
With many styles and configurations you can have the lower section of louvres closed to shield anything that might unnecessarily distract your pet. We get asked about this a lot. Here’s a case study about a job we completed for a client who’s dog wouldn’t stop barking.
It’s shutters because they give you added flexibility.
7. Easiest to clean?
Of course when it comes to cleaning the easiest option would be no window dressing at all, but if you had to choose one, then we’d argue for shutters. In fact we have some tips for how to keep your shutters good as new.
Curtains are not easy to clean and they attract dust. Shutters are easier than blinds as the louvres are solid and less likely to move.
If you had to choose, it’s shutters again. We recommend using the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner every once in a while.
8. Most inconspicuous?
On a breezy day, with your window open, shutters aren’t going to move like a curtain or rattle like a blind. This is a huge advantage, especially for people with young children who nap during the day, or people who like to sleep with the window open at night.
Unlike curtains and blinds, shutters are modest and unassuming. Even with the window open, you hardly know they’re there.
9. Best deterrent?
There’s a stand out favourite here, and I expect you’ve guessed already?
Interior shutters can help with security as they make it difficult or – with certain styles and configurations, like the Café style shutter – impossible for people to see into your home, and they can act as a deterrent to intruders.
In addition they do a wonderful job of deterring other smaller intruders, such as bees, wasps and flies! In the summer, you can have windows open and shutters closed with the louvres tilted – so still allowing light – and pests can’t get in!
It’s shutters. Curtains and blinds don’t come close on this one.
10. Best dressed?
This is entirely subjective. Many would say that shutters are the most stylish, contemporary option. They are a talking point when friends or relatives enter the room. They could become the envy of the street and your neighbours will likely want to follow suit.
Some will say you have more control and choice with curtains or blinds. Some might argue that shutters are less handsome than curtains. It depends on your own preferences of course.
It’s important to remember that some of our shutters can be colour matched to your requirements.
It’s a dead heat! As we said, this one is totally subjective, so who are we to pick the winner here?
11. Best for bathrooms?
We offer a fully waterproof shutter which is ideal for bathrooms or humid areas – they will not warp.
Curtains aren’t an option for a bathroom. Blinds might be, but we think shutters are the cleaner and less fussy solution.
12. Most cosy?
Tricky one this, as again it’s subjective. Curtains offer a softer finish to a room but you could argue shutters and blinds are equally cosy, as they also shut the outside world out completely.
Some might say shutters and blinds can look too clinical, but once again this is just a matter of taste.
We’ll give this one to curtains. We’re definitely not saying shutters can’t create that feeling of cosiness, because they can and do.
13. Best value?
And so to the big one.
We’re often asked if shutters are more expensive than blinds. As I’m sure you’ll appreciate, it’s impossible to generalise. We ask that you to describe your requirements, providing measurements if possible, and we’ll supply a guide price within 24 hours. Then you can decide!
More often than not, window shutters will be more expensive than blinds, largely due to the cost of the materials. Since our shutters are custom-made, we’ll install them for you so they’ll fit your window perfectly.
But they might not be as expensive as you think. There’s only one way to find out.
It’s just not possible to compare shutters with curtains as the costs are going to vary wildly because of the countless different fabrics.
Value is pretty subjective too. What we determine as good value could be quite different from your definition. Whilst we believe our shutters are priced competitively, as we said earlier, they’re not going to be for everyone.
We hope the arguments we’ve presented have given you food for thought to help you decide which is the best option, and therefore the best value.
So there you have it.
We’ve tallied up the results and window shutters take it by 13 votes, from blinds with five and curtains with four.
Whilst this might not be the most scientific of studies we’ve used our experience to highlight most if not all of the important arguments we believe you need to consider before you make a decision about how to dress your windows.
So, should I get shutters, blinds or curtains?
Whilst shutters might in some instances be the more expensive option, their versatility means they provide better value than curtains or blinds. If privacy, light control, efficiency and durability are important to you, there is no better window dressing option.
If after all this you’re still undecided, you might want to consider installing shutters with curtains, or shutters with integrated blinds.
Whilst you don’t need shutters with curtains, this configuration will give you additional privacy and light control during the day when the curtains are open. Having both would also further reduce heat loss and heat gain.
Shutters with blinds would be a good option for those looking to achieve near blackout during the day.