By Linda Merrill, Networx
Interior window shutters, as opposed to exterior shutters, are generally used for more decorative purposes with a small amount of functionality. They are not required to protect the home from the elements such as rain, cold or flying pests as exterior shutters are called upon to do. Interior shutters can be purely ornamental or provide some control over air-flow, light and privacy. There are several different types of interior window shutters available, which offer different looks and functionality.
Louvered shutters come in moveable and fixed positions. These are the most common style of interior shutter treatments and the moveable options provide the most functionality of the two styles. The moveable option allows for positioning of the louvers for best control of airflow, direction of light and privacy. Fixed louvered shutters are purely decorative only and when closed, block most of the airflow and light and cannot be controlled. Plantation shutters are a type of louvered shutter that features a wider louver, sometimes up to 3-4", whereas standard louvers might be as narrow as three-quarters of an inch. The wider louvers allow for greater airflow and are particularly popular and useful in warmer climates although they enjoy great popularity regardless of climate for the strong architectural element they provide a room.
Interior Paneled Shutters
Interior paneled shutters were the traditional choice in the days before central heating was common. They were used to block the heat of the sun and keep drafts at bay. Generally speaking, they offer little control over light and airflow and these days offer a purely decorative old-style look.
Fabric Insert Shutters
Another nod to old-style charm are shutters that use a fabric insert rather than a flat panel or louvers. The fabric can be matched to the décor of the room and offer a charming, yet tailored, alternative to traditional fabric window coverings. As with other fixed shutter systems, fabric inserts don't allow for much flexibility of air or light control, unless you use sheer fabrics for a translucent effect.
Bahama, or Bermuda, shutters have long been used in hot sunny climates for their excellent protection from strong sunlight, without impeding air-flow. These types of shutters, most commonly used on exteriors, hinge from the top of the window and pull away from the bottom. They keep the sun at bay while allowing cooling breezes to pass through the window. Generally, these types of shutters are a single board, either flat panel or with downward facing fixed louvers, that covers the entire window opening. Bahama style shutters are increasingly being used as interior shutters for their unique decorative qualities that bring to mind coastal and hot weather locations, especially in colder climates that require stronger exterior protection from the elements.
Interior Shutters for Unique Window Shapes
Unique window shapes such as arched windows or circular windows can also be covered with decorative interior shutters. Although they will likely need to be custom built to your exact specifications, they will provide some light and air control as needed. All window shutters offer at least some control over light and air-flow. The ability to keep out the hot sun, or let a cool breeze flow through, will have a tremendous effect on your energy usage as well. As we continue to be more and more energy efficient, the old ways of doing things -- blocking the sun, keep cold drafts at bay -- are coming back into style like never before.