Windows give a house a unique look. But more than this, windows protect a house against the rain, glare, wind and theft. They also allow sunlight to brighten up rooms and let fresh air in which help reduce electricity use. Additionally, they help reduce outside noise and provide privacy.
There are two window coverings that are prevalently used in homes: curtains and shutters. Curtains are made of fabric, usually of two pieces hanging from the top of a window, that could be closed to block out light or opened to let in sunlight. Shutters are hinged panels, like doors, with angled slats called louvers. They can also be opened or closed. When deciding whether to install shutters or use curtains as window cover, their advantages and disadvantages should be considered with regards to the following factors:
- Management of amount of light getting into a room. When fully open, both curtains and shutters let light enter fully. Shutters, however, have the advantage of having adjustable tilted louvers that allow the shutters to filter the amount of light so there’s less coming in. Curtains segment light rather than filter it. They could provide a light filtering effect only if they are made of translucent, open weave fabrics. However, such fabrics would not have the insulating effect that shutters give.
- Protection of privacy. Both provide privacy. Shutters are impenetrable to light when closed. Curtains should be thick and dark enough to be impenetrable to light.
- Cost. Because of the materials of which shutters are made of, the initial cost for shutters would generally be higher. Installation cost would depend on whether the shutters are of standard size and ready-made (less expensive) or customized (more expensive). Curtains cost less to install than shutters. It is also inexpensive to change curtains. Because shutters last longer than curtains and need very little maintenance, they save time and money.
- Maintenance. Maintenance of shutters is minimal – just frequent dusting – but may need occasional refinishing. Because it would be a bit difficult to do in place, the slats may need to be removed and reinstalled. Curtains need to be dry cleaned twice a year to keep their form. This makes curtains more costly to maintain.
- Temperature management. Plantation shutters have an insulating effect on a house. During the hot season, the gaps between their tilted slats allow air to flow, thus making the house cooler. When closed during the cold months, they keep the warmth in. Curtains’ insulating effect on a house is very limited and would depend on the fabric used. Thin, sheer or net fabrics won’t be able to make a room cooler during summer. When closed, dark curtains would but they will make the interior dark.
- Effect on energy bill. Because of their thermal insulation property, shutters contribute to a lower energy bill, as compared to curtains.
- Longevity. Shutters are durable, lasting up to 20 years, as compared to curtains, which last from 5-10 years because they are prone to fading and tearing. Even sturdier are plantation shutters that are made from high materials, some of which are hand-crafted and custom-designed, like some plantation shutters in Sydney. They last longer, which save you money and time over the years.
- Look. Curtains add formality and elegance to a room. There are many types of fabrics to choose from, as well as colors and patterns, to give a particular look to a room. Shutters, on the other hand, look less formal than curtains.
- Sound/Noise reduction. Because of their adjustable slats, shutters are better than curtains in allowing how much sound from outside could be heard in the house.
Shutters had been in use long before curtains became the mode. They are still in popular use even today because they provide more advantages to a home.