Horizontal blinds and plantation shutters may look similar, but they each offer different benefits to homeowners. When searching for the perfect window treatments for your home, weigh the pros and cons of each style.
If you prefer modern, clean lines over soft draping, chances are that you gravitate toward blinds rather than drapes as your go-to window treatment. But even once you’ve made that design decision, you have a variety of specific blind and shutter options from which to choose. In addition to tackling details such as material and color, you have to pick a basic window treatment structure. Horizontal blinds and plantation shutters will both give you a clean, sleek look that you can customize to fit your design scheme.
Horizontal blinds generally mount at the top of the window frame and hang down. You can open and close, raise and lower the blinds using an attached cord, and can leave the blinds hanging part of the way down the window, if desired. Plantation shutters, on the other hand, are mounted completely into the window frame, and do not move up and down. They often open and close via a rod that manipulates the entire shutter’s louvers at once, or the whole shutter can be opened into the room like a door.
Both horizontal blinds and plantation shutters are available in an array of colors and materials, though the selection is greater for traditional blinds. Most plantation shutters are made from wood or faux wood with small slats, although vinyl is also an option; blinds can feature wider slats and come in plastic, aluminum, and other materials. When picking between the two, in addition to considering your preferred colors, slat sizes, and materials, think about the character of the room in question and whether the style of blinds or shutters would best complement that decor.
Because plantation shutters fill the window frame completely, they can increase your home’s energy efficiency. Closing plantation shutters can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer, in addition to blocking out summer sun that can heat a house. Although wooden horizontal blinds can also act as natural insulation, the fact that they hang away from the window decreases their effectiveness on this front.
There’s no getting around it: Plantation shutters are generally more expensive than horizontal blinds. The construction is more specialized, and you’ll have fewer inexpensive material options. Additionally, whereas many homeowners can mount horizontal blinds on their own, you may wish to call a professional to install interior window shutters, which will increase the overall cost. However, properly installed plantation shutters should last for years, whereas blinds might need to be replaced if they break, if the cord gets tangled, or if they deteriorate from constant use.
Your windows frame your view of the world, and they shape how others see your home, inside and out. Choose window treatments that reflect your decorating style and personality, and don’t be afraid to put down more money up front for a set of blinds or shutters that will last for years. Weighing aesthetic and practical issues side by side will help ensure you make the right decision for your space.