Shutters, shades, and blinds provide privacy and help to keep heat out in the summer and warmth in during winter. They also minimize glare from the sun and protect furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and artwork from UV rays, which cause color fading over time.
Plantation shutters are a traditional, elegant, and aesthetically pleasing interior window treatment that provides a thermal barrier, privacy, and light control. They typically consist of one or two vertical panels hinged to a frame that is built to fit snugly within the window frame. The side hinges allow the panels to swing open to the interior of the room.
Blinds range from the inexpensive, do-it-yourself vinyl types to professionally made, custom wood blinds. Custom blinds have a great long-term value and come in a variety of colors, sizes, and finishes.
Wood blinds provide durability and a traditional look. They generally come in two- or two-and-a-half-inch slat widths and can be constructed from a variety of woods, including basswood, oak, and cherry. They can also be stained or painted to complement any decorating scheme.
Faux wood blinds provide the look of wood while being made of less expensive materials, such as PVC, vinyl, or a vinyl-wood composite. Composite blinds are usually more durable and authentic-looking than vinyl blinds. Faux wood blinds are often preferred in rooms with high humidity levels, such as kitchens or bathrooms, because they will not warp when exposed to moisture.
Cleaning shutters and blinds generally involves little more than a light wipe with a duster or damp cloth.
Shades are the best choice for a home where the window treatments will be regularly opened and closed. Unlike shutters and blinds, shades do not have slats that light can pass through. Instead, the amount of natural light in a room is controlled by pulling the window shade up or down. Shades come in a wide variety of materials. Popular types of shades include woven wood; pleated, single, and double honeycomb; and solera, vignette, and roman as well as sunscreens and rollers. Many shades are power operated and can be automated and controlled by a central control switch, smartphone, or tablet.
Cleaning requirements for shades vary based on the material used; some can be pretreated to resist dusty buildup and stains.
Hybrid window treatments combine the blackout coverage of shades with the versatility and attractiveness of plantation shutters. Hybrid shutters are designed to allow for either completely uncovering the window or simply adjusting the louvers to allow light to pass through.