Buyer's Guide to Blinds And Shutters

Sales of blinds have gone up by an imposing 40 per cent during the last two years,' says Fiona Kelly, managing director of The Shutter Shop. 'People seem to be departing from curtains in favor of clean, modest lines of shutters.' Some companies dealing with blinds are providing A to Z services to capture customers' interest. They offer the services of a consultant who takes measurements before fitting the shutters for you. While others fabricate something that you may fit yourself. But, that calls for a complete toolkit that you are confident of handling.

There is a wide choice of options varying from MDF-based wood to costlier solid woods. Mark Carter, company director of Shutterly Fabulous points out: ' Depending on your budget, it's worthwhile to invest in shutters as they really are furniture for your windows.'

Deriving their name from the expansive 19th-century mansions in America's deep south, the most adaptable are plantation-style shutters. These are louvers that open and close to adjust heat and light from the sun. They offer ventilation and privacy whenever required and are available in striking selection of colors and materials.


Shutterly Fabulous, Shaftesbury Shutters and The New England Shutter Company would all color match or stain shutters to shades of paints from any of the paint companies like Farrow & Ball, Dulux etc. Further, they may be treated with a UV sealant to dispense with the touch-ups. The New England Shutter Company deals with hand-stitched faux leather, suede and fabric finishes in a massive range of shades and textures.

Another feature is that you can decide the width of your louvers to suit your specific requirements. 'Bigger louvers permit more light when the shutter is open,' says Harriet Shackleton, sales manager at The New England Shutter Company, 'so you should keep that in mind while taking decision.

Traditionally the system of opening or closing of the louvers has been with the aid of a rod on the outside of the shutter. But many companies have innovated to offer designs with hidden mechanisms or even remote-controlled shutters thus giving the mechanism a modern look and making it convenient to approach those hard-to-reach windows.

Historically speaking, solid shutters were first put to use in pre-Edwardian houses and were hardly used a couple of times a year as the owners absconded for the season.
They weren't meant for a day-to-day operation of closing or opening, like we do and that's the reason that we are left with very few as of date.


Instead of traditional wood, they are now available in quite a few materials. You could opt for Parma Lilac for an acrylic version or Draks for Japanese-style canto shutters with hardwood frames and a bespoke central panel of non-reflective acrylic. You may even ask for it on your choice of a particular fabric.

Wouldn't it be amazing to have antique shutters! Try salvage companies like Lassco. 'It's possible to cut them down but ensure proportions,' says Francis Lee, design consultant at Lassco. Else, you may add an extra leaf to fit them, but take accurate measurements and find a pair to fit as perfect as possible.

Types of Blinds

Café-style shutters are used to drape only the lower half of the window and are therefore more economical (as they cover only half the window). They are perfect when you are living at street level because while they maintain your privacy, you nay still have some sunlight. But you can't achieve a total blackout of the room.

Tier-on-tier or double-hung blinds are the most flexible shutters you can go for. Here two sets are hung one above the other but each works independent of the other. This offers great flexibility of operation. You may open the top part and leave the bottom one closed or vice versa. Even both maybe closed or left open. The only shortcoming is that they don't jell with certain designs of windows.

Taller windows are best done with Full-height shutters. They are usually provided with a dividing rail either halfway up, or at a natural break in the window (i.e. at the level of the sash). It imparts sturdiness to taller shutters while enabling the louvers in the top and bottom half to be adjusted independently, thus enabling you to open the top set for getting light but keep the bottom set closed for privacy.

Solid shutters provide a neat look and come with a range of central panels such as raised, molded and Shaker styles. Solid-based shutters are derived by a combination of louver panel at the top with a solid panel at the bottom.