First things first: interior shutters are not blinds!
Blinds can also cover the windows in your home, but they're usually flipped open-and-shut, and drawn up by pulling on a special cord. Interior shutters, on the other hand, don't flip open-and-shut at all, and are opened much the same way as doors: on hinges. Chances are that your house has either real or imitation shutters on the outside of your windows. Ever though about bringing them inside?
The benefits of having interior shutters, over blinds, are two-fold: interior shutters are more durable, and look classier. If you've ever seen a well-designed, nicely-furnished living room punctuated by a few pairs of ugly, fickle blinds, you'll know what I mean. Interior shutters are also the more traditional, classic look and have withstood the changing tastes of many a generation.
Although it's an afterthought, opened interior shutters go a long way to covering that awkward-to-fill empty wall space beside a window that blinds leave naked.
Currently available sizes and styles will vary from fabricator to fabricator. Most of the better outlets offer louver sizes, (the louver is the movable slat), ranging from the very traditional one inch to three and one-half inches. Louver sizes of two inches and above are commonly called plantation shutters because the style was popular in the South.
The two - two and one-half inch sizes seem to be the most popular and are a better fit for most modern windows which do not have the casing depth needed to install the larger sizes with framing them.
What Are They Made Of?
Interior shutters come in three main types: wood, faux-wood, and plastic. As you can probably tell from those choices, wood is the most desirable as well as the most expensive. Of course, real basswood shutters would always be my first choice.
Faux wood has a tendency to look like the imitation that it is. Most of the faux wood shutters that I have seen are merely particle board covered with a plastic film. They are prone to chipping and I would assume easy damage from daily use.
Plastic (aka vinyl) is the better bet if you don't want to shell out for real wood, because it has its own style and texture. While not as cosy as wood, it's easier to clean. Based on what I have seen with the few sets that I have installed, I would pick the solid vinyl product over the faux wood product. In my opinion it is a better made product and will last longer.
For those of you who panic when it comes time to install something by yourself, rest assured: you can buy interior shutters with professional installation. They cost more, of course, but you have the piece of mind that they'll be installed right. The installation of pre-finished shutters is not a project I can recommend as a DIY project.
For those do-it-yourself gurus who wouldn't dream of paying someone to install their interior shutters, you're in luck, too: you can purchase an interior shutter kit that comes with the necessary material and a handy installation manual that you can follow to mount the shutters with your own two hands.
While it's difficult to come up with an accurate price for all interior shutters - because the price is so dependent on window size - be prepared to spend over $500 USD for a good wooden interior shutter, and about half of that for the cheaper faux-wood. Interior shutters are also, as a rule, more expensive than blinds.
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