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Curtains and blinds (if you roll shutters and blinds into one category) are the two main ways that you can cover up a window. At first, it might look like they do effectively the same thing with only a few technical changes, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Curtains, blinds, and shutters can come in dozens of different forms, each offering slight benefits and drawbacks. So, which should you use?

Roller Blinds

Roller blinds are some of the most accessible options when it comes to covering windows and adding some extra privacy to your home. Not only are they relatively cheap, but they can last a long time and won’t take much effort to clean. While they aren’t particularly impressive-looking and don’t have anything special to offer, they can be a good option for homes with a lot of windows and a low budget.

The main reason that people like to use roller blinds, is the fact that they can make light control much easier. Whether you buy blinds online, in-store or make DIY blinds yourself, you can use them to adjust how much light flows into a room. This means that they aren’t a binary option: instead of having to choose between open and closed, you can through the use of light-filtering or sunscreen fabric achieve the light level you need at that moment.

Curtains

Curtains are slightly less common than they used to be, but they can also be very useful for keeping your home insulated and soundproof. The thicker materials mean that they can handle sound and heat much more effectively than blinds can, meaning that you can reduce the heat loss in your home by a significant amount. Different materials can make this more or less effective, but they will generally be better than most blinds.

Curtains are much more design-friendly, boasting far more pattern and colour choices while also being a more ‘complete’ way to cover up a window. There won’t be any light leaking around the side of the curtains, and you aren’t forced to move the curtain completely out of the way if you only want a little bit of light. However, unlike blinds, you can’t adjust them gradually: curtains have a set level of thickness, but you can opt for sheers – which will allow a lot of light in and still keep your privacy.

Shutters

Shutters are similar to blinds in many ways but offer some benefits that help them stand out. Not only are they stronger than blinds while still being just as adjustable, but they are usually also much more attractive. In fact, they can be such a desirable design element that they might even increase the value of your home once they are installed. As you would expect, this also makes them more expensive, especially if you are getting very attractive combinations of colors and materials.

While the price can be higher, shutters can be superior to custom curtains and blinds when it comes to oddly-shaped windows. Since shutters fit over the edges of the windows instead of hanging down, they can often be custom-made to suit particular shapes. A window with a curved top can have shutters that match, as can a bay window that curves rather than using angled corners. Even some porthole-style bathroom windows can have shutters placed in them.

Which should I use?

All three options are useful for different reasons, but a large part of it comes down to style and functionality. Curtains, blinds, and shutters operate in different ways and can completely change the atmosphere of a room once installed, so you should try to match it to the way that you want a space to look and feel. If you are making a home office, for example, you might personally find blinds more professional and easier to work with. In a bedroom, curtains might be what you prefer most since they can give you total privacy.

As long as you keep track of your budget (you can do this by sourcing online blinds), there are affordable brands and options across all three types of window cover, so don’t be afraid to take a look and see what you can track down. You also don’t have to use the same type all throughout your house: if you want a mixture of curtains and blinds in different rooms, there is nothing stopping you from making that choice.