To give windows a more finished and polished appearance in the home, it’s a good idea to install coverings such as Plantation Shutters, Venetian Blinds or Roman Shades. All of them add to the room’s decor and provide a level of privacy as well as protection from sunlight. But each has distinct advantages that may prove more beneficial for some window openings and environments than others.
Many people like the elegance and classic simplicity of Plantation Shutters, which are interior window coverings made from broad slats of wood mounted in a solid frame. These shutters gained wide usage throughout the southeastern United States because they are perfect for using in warm, humid climates since they allow for the free-flow of air and ventilation through the slates at the same time providing shade from the sun to keep the inside of the house cool.
Traditionally, Plantation Shutters fill the entire window space, with a control rod in the center to open or close the shutters. They can also be designed as hinged panels which can be pulled completely open for the maximum in ventilation or folded partway open. Plantation Shutters can also be designed to fill only the bottom half of a window, allowing the Cafe-style Plantation Shutters to provide some level of privacy without covering the entire window. Plantation Shutters are usually installed in windows that have glass or removable glass panes so that in hot weather, the glass can be stored and the shutters opened enough for air without eliminating privacy or shade.
Venetian Blinds, first created in New Orleans in the mid 19th century, are another popular style of interior window covering that can be shut to completely exclude outside light and any outside prying eyes. Constructed of slatted blinds of metal or vinyl arranged in numerous rows and connected with a string that allows the slats to be turned at an angle or parallel to the window sill to let some sunlight enter, or to lie completely flat against the window to exclude all light. This string system also allows the blinds to be pulled up or down if the user wishes to have access to the window.
Roman Blinds, also called Roman Shades, are a third option to dressing up a window opening, but uses fabric rather than slats. The shade fabric can be lined or unlined depending whether light control is needed. The fabric lies flat against the window when in the lowest position for complete coverage, yet can be raised upward toward the top of the window jam, folding neatly accordion-style to allow an unobstructed view from the window. Roman Blinds can also be partially raised, accented by neat horizontal folds of material. This style works best when clean horizontal lines are desired in a window covering as well as the option of using fabric that matches the rest of the room’s decor.
Susan L. West, a professional interior decorator, offers advice on how to decorate on a budget. Learn all about plantation shutters and choosing the best plantation shutters