We have 4 basic choices for window treatments – curtains/drapes, blinds, shades, shutters, or some combination of these products. Each, of course, has a use, dependent upon individual taste, and often combinations of treatments are used for specific effects.
In general, drapes continue to be utilized in more traditional environments. Thus, homes with formal living and dining rooms will often have drapes that complement the furniture and wall treatments (e.g., wallpaper). The more formal a room is, the “heavier” the drape treatment. Combinations of drapes and shades are also common in such rooms, using side panels and valances for a formal effect.
Contemporary architecture, however, tends toward larger, more open floor plans, with vaulted ceilings, great rooms and large window spaces. Traditional drapes often deter from this “open” feeling, however, and homeowners tend to opt for shades, blinds, and shutters that will allow at least some outside light throughout the daylight hours. At night, moreover, these treatments can be fully closed for privacy and to prevent daylight intrusions in early morning hours.
Given a choice among shades, blinds and shutters, my personal favorite is shutters, for a variety of reasons. And given the increasing popularity of these treatments, many others obviously agree with me. The preference for shutters over the other two is the result of a few important factors, as follows:
- If shades are selected, opening them to allow daylight in means that the entire window space must be bare, once the shade is raised. Yes, translucent shades may be used; however, they do not provide the opaqueness that may be desired at other times. Such opaqueness will require drapes as a secondary source of achieving darkness.
- Blinds are popular because they offer versatility in style and light control. One can select all sizes of slats, and they come in a variety of colors and materials. Always with blinds, however, are the rods that hang down, to adjust light and the inevitable strings that are used to raise and lower them, unless one opts for the new motorized varieties which can be horribly expensive. To me, this detracts from the smoothness that one may want in a window treatment.
- Shutters offer the “best of all worlds.” First, they come in as many varieties of colors and materials as blinds. As well, louvers can be of any size, just as with blinds. There are no rods and/or strings to detract from the effect, as a middle attached bar is used to determine how open or closed they are. One simple adjustment opens them for daylight and closes them for night, or any desired in-between effect. If they are on hinges, moreover, they can be completely opened away from a window to allow full window exposure while still providing a nice “framing” of the window itself. And cleaning involves only dusting, not a dry cleaning bill that comes with draperies!
A visit to one of our showrooms will provide a full understanding of the myriad of options available for these types of window treatments. And preserving “openness” as well as privacy can be easily accomplished with the right shutter design!