There are few additions to a home that are effective and appealing both inside and out. External doors and windows fall into this category, of course, because they have an important impact on the external appearance of a house or flat, as well as on the interior. Extensions such as a conservatory also have this double impact – they extend the internal spaces and are a highly visible addition on the outside. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to how doors and windows are treated, what materials they are made of and how they are decorated. Choosing curtains, blinds or shutters for windows therefore has to take into account a number of key factors in order to make the most of the opportunity to create an appealing and fitting impression without and within.
Window shutters are solid and stable coverings that usually consist of a frame of vertical stiles and horizontal rails – top, centre and bottom. This frame is designed to hold a wide range of different materials, so shutters can be finished with solid panels, glass or fabric. They can also contain louvres, which may be vertical or horizontal. Sometimes these louvres are fixed, and sometimes they are moveable.
External shutters have been popular in warmer climates for some time, and many brightly painted wooden types can be seen adorning homes in Mediterranean countries. They will often sit either side of a window, flat against a wall. This has the effect of making an attractive feature of the window itself. Window shutters can be used to provide enhanced privacy, to control the level of sunlight within a room, to provide protection from the weather and to offer additional security for a property.
Hurricane shutters made from a variety of materials, including fibreglass and aluminium, are fitted in certain countries and in some states in the USA these have to conform to local regulations.
Shutters fitted inside a window or glass door have many of the same functions as external shutters, however their use inside the home has become increasingly diverse and, besides doors and windows, frequently shutters are used as room dividers or as doors for wardrobes. There are many popular styles, and those with moveable louvred slats, such as plantation shutters, can be adjusted to control airflow and external visibility, as well as sunlight.
Solid panel shutters for interior use can be used to enhance the décor of a room or to highlight a feature, such as a room divider. When shutters are used for wardrobe doors they often combine an attractive lower solid panel with an upper louvred one to improve the strength and the appearance of the door panels.
As the name suggests, café style shutters mimic traditional half curtained windows in a café and provide additional privacy at windows close to or facing a street. They are also ideal in homes where a ground floor window looks on to a neighbour’s house or garden.
Not all windows are of standard size or shape, and because they can be made to measure, shutters make a highly practical, elegant addition to any home; they are versatile, decorative and can be relied upon to last for a long time.