Window shutter ideas – with tips for choosing interior shutters

We take a look at window shutter ideas that will transform the look and feel of a room. Plus we have all the tips for choosing the best type for your space.

Are you looking for window shutter ideas that will go with your window and home's style? Not only are they super practical – ideal for keeping the heat in and prying eyes out – but they look stylish too.

Every year we wait with bated breath for the first rays of spring sunshine to peep through the clouds, then the next moment we’re frantically fanning ourselves in an attempt to keep cool in the increasingly stifling summertime.

But while we can’t control our fickle climate, we can invest in window treatments that give us some shade and protects our interiors too.

Chic, sophisticated and oh-so-stylish, shutters give you everything you'd wish for in a window treatment idea. They're practical – providing light, privacy and reduced noise without compromising on security (you can add locks for extra confidence) – as well as low-maintenance, requiring nothing more than a wipe-down to keep them looking their best.

room with shutters and table and chair

(Image credit: Blinds2go)

More adaptable than curtains and more versatile than blinds, shutters come in a whole host of modern materials and super-chic colours, that not only make a feature of your windows, but provide flexible shade and privacy when you need it.

‘Sales of shutters have grown an impressive 40 per cent in the last two years,’ says Fiona Kelly, managing director of The Shutter Shop.

‘People appear to be leaving curtains behind in favour of the clean, minimalist lines of shutters.’ Some shutter companies provide a completely bespoke service, where a consultant measures up and fits the shutters for you, while others can make something for you to fit yourself (only advisable for those confident with their tool kit).

With lots of materials to choose from, from MDF-based wood to the more expensive solid woods, Mark Carter, company director of Shutterly Fabulous points out: ‘It’s worth investing in the best your budget will allow as shutters are, in reality, furniture for your windows.’

From MDF versions with special coatings (great for high moisture areas such as kitchens and bathrooms) to hardwood designs that ooze sophistication, there are plenty of great options to choose from. Design-wise too, there are lots of different looks you can go for. We take a look at some stunning shutter ideas that'll help you work out what overall look you’re going for.

Window shutter ideas

1. Tier on Tier shutters on double fronted windows

living room with shutters on window and shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

Tier-on-tier style window shutters are perfect for large windows that not only let a lot of light in but also a lack of privacy. They are also really handy in that they can be folded back completely or half height dependent on your preference.

2. Tier-on-Tier shutters in a dining room

dining room with lighting and wooden lighting

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

This boho-chic style, white dining room has tier-on-tier shutters in a crisp white to work with the white washed walls, so as to create a seamless light, bright space.

3. Plantation shutters on a bay window

bay window with shutters and flower vase

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Merewether)

If you have a small and wide bay window, why not opt for fitted plantation style shutters that'll look neat and tidy. Close the louvres to keep sunny spots cool and shaded from the mid day sun or open them to warm up a room in chillier weather.

4. Vibrant green plantation shutters

living room with patterned wallpaper and shutters

(Image credit: The Shutter Store)

If you're feeling brave, choose a eye-popping shade to paint your shutters to liven up a space without worrying about taking up space with more furniture. These green shutters give a gentle nod to the green patterned living room wallpaper and green textured ornaments and vases on the coffee table.

5. Shutters to match your walls

living room with blue sofa and shutters

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Make the plantation shutters blend in seamlessly to a room by colour matching with the walls, like in this blue living room. You can ask most large shutter companies to colour match or stain shutters to Farrow & Ball, Dulux and many other well-known paint colours.

7. Red shutters to match the furniture

room with red shutters and sofa

(Image credit: California Shutters)

Or if you're even braver, a vivid shade to match an occasional chair or perhaps cushions in your scheme. Choosing a bright colour is a good way of adding extra interest into a dark scheme. Just make sure you're ready for a bold hue for the long haul.

7. Full shutters on French doors

kitchen with french door with red lighting and dining table

(Image credit: Tuiss)

If you have French doors in your kitchen and you're wondering what window treatment to go for, full plantation shutters are the way forward. They'll look neat and will blend seamlessly into any white kitchen scheme.

8. Natural wood plantation shutters

living room with coffee table and grey sofa

(Image credit: David Brittain)

If you have lots of natural colours in your decor, why not go for stripped back wooden shutters, instead of the ever popular white? They'll make all your natural accessories and materials pop.

9. Cafe style shutters to match a bath

bathroom with free standing bath and shutters

(Image credit: Shutterly Fabulous)

Liven up a neutral grey bathroom by colour matching the bath and your shutters to create a seamless scheme. Accessorise with natural wood and blue and white accessories.

10. Full solid shutters to match bed linen

pink bedroom with table and window

(Image credit: Californian Shutters)

Using muted pink on solid shutters will keep your bedroom feeling bright but will make sure no light gets in to interrupt your sleep. Create a feeling of calm by accessorising with pinks and taupe and a dash of copper thrown in the mix.

11. Bespoke shutters for round windows

bedroom with round window and solid shutter

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Have any quirky windows in your home that you can't find a window treatment for? Why not go bespoke and get a shutter made for the window in question. This round window above the bed in this small cottage room lets in much-needed light but come night time, the neat, solid shutter blacks out light for a peaceful night's kip.

How to choose window shutters

Taking their name from the sprawling 19th-century mansions in America’s deep south, the most versatile are plantation-style shutters. These feature louvres that open and close to minimize heat from the sun. They provide ventilation and privacy when needed and come in an impressive array of colours and materials.

Shutterly Fabulous, Shaftesbury Shutters and The New England Shutter Company will all colour match or stain shutters to Farrow & Ball, Dulux and many other well-known paint colours. They will also treat with a UV sealant so touch-ups aren’t necessary. The New England Shutter Company also offers hand-stitched faux leather, suede and fabric finishes in a huge range of shades and textures.

You can now choose the width of your louvres too. ‘Larger louvres allow in more light when the shutter is open,’ says Harriet Shackleton, sales manager at The New England Shutter Company, ‘so it’s worth bearing this in mind when you’re making your decision.’

The traditional method of opening and closing louvres is with a rod on the outside of the shutter, but many companies now offer designs that feature hidden mechanisms or even remote-controlled shutters (good for hard-to-reach windows) for a contemporary finish.

room with wooden flooring and chandelier

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

Solid shutters were originally installed in pre-Edwardian houses and were only used a couple of times a year when the owners decamped for the season. They weren’t designed to be opened and shut daily like our present designs, which is why so few remain today. As well as traditional wood, they now come in a number of materials, so try Parma Lilac for an acrylic version or Draks for Japanese-style canto shutters with hardwood frames and a bespoke central panel of non-reflective acrylic, glass or even a fabric of your choice.

You can also source antique shutters at salvage companies such as Lassco. ‘Shutters can be cut down, just make sure they still work proportionally,’ says Francis Lee, design consultant at Lassco. Or you can add an extra leaf to make them fit, but measure up carefully to find a pair as near perfect as possible.

Types of shutters – what are my options?

There are a number of shutter styles to choose from, and which you finally opt for is often down to a mixture of which design detail best reflects your personal style and what you want your shutters to achieve for any given room.

Café-style shutters

These are hung only on the bottom half of the window and are more cost effective (as they only cover half the window). They are ideal if you live at street level and need privacy, but still want to allow light in, but no good if you ever want to black out the room completely.

Tier-on-tier shutters

Also known as double-hung shutters these are the most versatile shutters you can opt for, with two sets hung one above the other, working independently. This gives great flexibility as you can have the top open and the bottom shut, or vice versa, and both sets can be open or shut too. The only disadvantage is that they can look a bit fussy on some types of windows.

Full-height shutters

These are best for taller windows. There is usually a dividing rail either halfway up, or at a natural break in the window (i.e. at the level of the sash). This makes taller shutters more sturdy and enables the louvres in the top and bottom half to move independently, so you could open the top set to let in light but keep the bottom shut for privacy.

Solid shutters

This shutter types gives a clean look and comes with various centre panels such as raised, moulded and Shaker styles. Solid-based shutters are a combination of louvre panel at the top and solid panel at the bottom.

Bathroom shutters — what should I look for?

bathroom with bathtub and white wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jason Ingram)

Unlike fabric blinds which can get damp and mildewed in steamy bathrooms, shutters allow extra ventilation with their louvred slats, so they'll dry more quickly. They're also easier to wipe down and keep clean.

While painted wood or MDF shutters are fine in well-ventilated bathrooms, for rooms with high humidity, moisture-resistant shutters are more practical. Made of ABS plastic, polymer or polyvinyl, they are waterproof, so the slats won't rot or warp.

Plantation shutters – how to measure for them

Jason Peterkin, director at 247 Blinds, gives his step-by-step guide on how to measure for plantation shutters and offers his top tips.

'There are two types of frames for you to choose from; L frames and Z frames. The L frame will allow you to position your frame anywhere in your recess, at the back leaving you with lots of window sill space or at the front of your window allowing the panels to close flat against side walls,' says Jason.

'On the other hand, the Z frame is positioned at the edge of the recess and creates a traditional style architrave outside of the recess.'

Measure the width

Measure the width inside the recess three times, at the top, middle and bottom. Choose the smallest size from these three measurements and deduct 5mm.

Measure the height

Then measure the height inside the recess three times at the Left, Right and Middle, again choosing the smallest size and deducting 5mm.

Measure across the recess

You’ll then need to measure diagonally across the recess in both directions.

Note: if the recess is more than 15mm out of square, you may want to choose the Z frame as this will require less remedial work.

Where to buy shutters for windows

There are a number of companies that stock shutters including Luxaflex, Eclectics, Oakhurst, Velux, The New England Shutter Company, Hillarys and John Lewis & Partners. Shutterly Fabulous will also colour match or stain shutters to Farrow & Ball, Dulux and RAL paint colours.

You can also source antique shutters, such as French shutters, at salvage companies such as English Salvage.

The traditional method of opening and closing louvres is with a rod on the outside of the shutter, but many companies now offer designs that feature hidden mechanisms or even remote-controlled shutters (good for hard-to-reach windows) for a contemporary finish including The Great Shutter Company.

room with chandelier and table

(Image credit: Nick Pope)

Are shutters expensive?

Most shutters are made-to-measure and installed by the company itself, but if your budget is limited contact The California Shutter & Blind Company who will take measurements and produce shutters that you can then install yourself, substantially reducing the overall cost.

You can also cut costs by opting for other DIY shutter options. These are made to size and delivered pre-drilled, pre-mitred and ready to fit yourselves. You can snap these up at companies including 24-7 Blinds, B&Q and Blinds2Go.

Are shutters better than blinds?

The easy-to-adjust slats allow greater control than with a regular blind. By tilting the slats up and down you can vary how much light comes in, with the angle of the slats obscuring the view from the outside. Shutting slats completely will give total privacy or they can be opened fully to let maximum light in.

Shutter effect blinds could also give you the best of both worlds. They come in at a reasonable price point, can be easily installed and look almost as eye-catching as the real thing.

Jenny McFarlane
Senior Digital Editor

Jenny is Senior Digital Editor and joined the team in 2021, working across Ideal Home, Real Homes, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc and Gardeningetc. Since getting on the property ladder, her passion for interior design and gardening has taken on a new lease of life. She loves collecting and salvaging unique items (much to her other half's despair) but sniffing out stylish home bargains is her one true love. When she has a spare minute, she loves crafting, having studied textiles at university – although she hardly gets the chance with her daughters keeping her permanently on her toes.