Robust, low maintenance and easy to clean, shutters have been the go-to window treatments solution for renovated homes for several years, being especially well suited to bungalows and villas. Now, they are also in demand for new houses.
But what is behind their rise in popularity?
Hayley Thompson of Brightshine, a shutter specialist, says a large part of the reason is affordability.
“Up until about 10 years ago, shutters were all made [locally], usually from cedar, and they were extremely expensive. Now we have imported wood shutters from Asia and the cost has probably halved.
“These companies have refined the product, in terms of functionality and mounting options, and made the price point a lot more accessible. Although they are more expensive than blinds, they are a lot cheaper than they were 10 years ago.”
However, there are many other reasons why shutters have surged in popularity. As our cities become more dense and houses are closer together, there’s a greater need for privacy supplied by window treatments.
“This has always been the case in some inner-city areas… and now new houses further out of the city are also close to neighbours,” says Thompson. “Shutters give people the option of a split rotation – the louvres can be tilted up so the bottom half of the window is screened from the road or neighbours, while the top half is open to let in plenty of light.
“Because the louvres in the shutters are quite wide, either 64mm or 89mm, you have much better control over privacy and light than you do with Venetian blinds.”
Thompson says she has just completed a project for the owners of a very large four-storey new house. “The owners initially wanted roller blinds everywhere, but that was going to end up looking very sterile. The shutters provide texture and break down what would otherwise appear to be a great expanse of wall. And curtains over the large windows would have filled the room with fabric. Window treatments should make the room appealing.
“Shutters also make a room look bigger,” she says. “Once they go in, they open up the room so much.”
Interior designer Micaela Wynne of Trinity Interior Design says shutters work particularly well for those looking to transform a room from an open to intimate space within seconds. In addition to filtering light and achieving privacy, shutters are also great for temperature control, which can have a significant impact throughout the rest of the house.
“Their best feature is that they’re low maintenance and easy to clean. Over time, curtains, roller blinds and Venetians can lose their colour or distort in [the] harsh sun, and replacing your window treatments every few years can become a costly exercise. Shutters are robust and this appeals to many clients.”
Wynne says people who install shutters for privacy and low maintenance usually don’t mind the fact that they have they have a “heavier” look on their windows than a fabric curtain. “Others may not like them because they appear bulky, restrict their view and don’t give them the soft luscious feel they’re after. It really depends on the look you’re trying to achieve. That would apply to all forms of window treatments.
“If you have a clear, uncluttered view with no privacy issues, then shutters might not necessarily work for you.”
While most people opt for white shutters, Brightshine often supplies black shutters. “When they are used against a white wall they provide a very dramatic, monochrome look. Some people choose them to match the colour of their joinery.”
Shutter maintenance is not an issue – Thompson says they are easier than Venetians to keep clean. “The blade width is so much bigger, you only need to run a feather duster over them once a week. It’s enough to keep them completely free of dust.”
Your choice of window treatments gives your home your personal touch.
–This article originally appeared on Stuff.nz