The terms shutters, shades and blinds are used synonymously at times, although they are certainly not the same types of window covers. Although there are products that can combine features from shades, blinds and shutters, most window covers only belong to one of the three categories.

Knowing the key differences between the three is important, because unless you have a clear idea, you will not be able to predict how your choices will end up looking and performing inside your planned/existing decor. On that note, we are going to define the three and point out certain differences between them so that people can make more informed choices whether they are buying shutters, blinds or shades.

Shutters

Those that have the budget should be buying shutters over blinds or shades, because shutters are a perfect combination of aesthetics, variety and durability. Sturdier than even blinds, the cordless, hard covers are fitted directly on the window frame, which is also one of the primary differences between blinds and shutters.

They offer excellent insulation, better ventilation and acute light-control, since each slat can be operated individually and minutely. Made out of the same materials as blinds, you will likely be able to choose between wood, faux wood, composite, metals (steel or aluminium) and vinyl. As these high quality, slatted, hard window covers are indeed expensive, pay a visit to The Oxford Shutter Company’s FAQ page before buying shutters for your windows. They are a family-run business that are dedicated to sharing their knowledge and experience with their customers. A proper understanding of all your options in this category is essential, if you wish to make a smart, well-informed choice.

Shades

Shades and blinds are quite similar, but they are not the same. The primary difference between the two is in what is used to manufacture them. Shades are also panelled, but the panels are made from fabric, which is why they are called soft window covers. This also means that shades offer a much wider variety of colours, patterns, designs and fabric materials to choose from, despite being budget friendly for the most part. Instead of traditional shades which offer little to no light control, choose motorised/manual up-down shades for effectively controlling both the natural light and your home’s privacy.  If you do decide to go with these soft windows covers, you will have to choose between:

  • Roller shades, which drop straight from a valence tube
  • Roman shades, which are more expensive and have designer folds on them
  • Natural material (bamboo, jute, etc.) shades
  • Honeycomb (cellular) shades which are excellent for energy savings
  • Layered shades (stripes of fabric and sheer)

Blinds

Finally, we have blinds, which are usually the cheapest, as well as one of the toughest options anyone can go for. Corded, hard window covers are not the most diverse in terms of design and decor, but the slatted window covers are significantly more durable than shades. Cleaning them is also much easier than it is to clean shades. How easy it practically is to remove stains, paint, dirt, etc. will depend mostly on what the slats are made up of. Also, blinds simply cannot compete with shades if light-control is important to you.

When you are in the market to buy horizontal/vertical blinds, your options in material will include:

  • Aluminium
  • Steel
  • Wood
  • Faux wood
  • Composite
  • Vinyl

Other than budget and decor, one should also consider energy efficiency and long-term maintenance costs before choosing any type of window cover. Buying shutters is likely going to be the best long-term choice, but there’s no harm in mixing things up a bit by choosing different types of window coverings for different rooms.