Top tips for choosing shutters

More versatile than curtains, more durable than fabric blinds and great for allergy sufferers - this year’s must-have interior trend is shutters. Sam Tamlyn from The California Shutter Company, shares his advice on choosing the perfect ones.

Top tips for choosing shutters

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How to hang curtains
More about curtains and blinds

Plantation shutters
The most popular style is the plantation shutter, which have slats (also known as louvers) that rotate open and closed to control the light levels in the room. Because you can get really creative with the colour, slat sizes and type of rods, these sorts of shutters suit most rooms.

Solid shutters
Solid shutters are ideal for those wanting to create a more traditional look. These are designed to be folded back during the day and closed at night, and work well in country cottages to add a quaint feel to the room.

With tier-on-tier shutters, you have one set of shutters above the other. You can open each set individually, which gives you greater flexibility and light control - perfect for larger bay windows.

Solid shutters that have a solid lower half and movable slats on top work well on French doors, and give a lovely continental feel to a room.

Choose the right material
Wood remains the most popular material for shutters, but you can now choose from a whole host of other options, such as MDF and plastic. Although these are cheaper, solid wood has greater durability, strength and flexibility. Yellow poplar and elm woods have proven most durable against warping and shrinking under rigorous testing.

If you're looking for shutters for a bathroom or wetroom, waterproof polyvinyl is ideal as it is suitable wetter environments.

Consider the room elements
Look at the window frame and try to get this to match the shutter. Less is definitely more in shutter design.

Then take a look at the colour scheme in the room (floor, skirting board, furniture and doors). Choosing a colour that complements and accentuates these existing elements is important.

Generally lighter-coloured shutters pull in more light, while darker-coloured shutters absorb more. So, if your room is filled with heavy furniture or a dark wood floor, a lighter coloured shutter would be more suitable.

The direction the room faces is also important; for instance a north facing room will naturally be darker, so again go for a lighter coloured shutter.

Don’t shy away from colour
White shutters are extremely popular, but don’t be afraid to add a dash of colour to your room if white isn’t your thing. Neutral colours such as greys, blacks or browns also work well and won’t go out of fashion. Try to stay away from radical colours though – they might end up clashing if you decide to redecorate.

Maximise light
The larger the slat, the more light will be drawn in to your room. The contemporary 89mm slat is popular for this very reason.

When designing your shutters, think about how often you will open and close them, and how often you will tilt the slats. Generally fewer panels are more effective if you’re planning on leaving the shutters closed during the day with the slats tilted open.

Awkward spaces
Shutters can be made to fit any awkward spaces from ovals to triangles to hexagons, so you can really get creative and celebrate that unusual window.