The shutters you choose to enhance the windows in your rooms are very different from the ones you see on the outside of houses. Why? Their purposes are different. Exterior shutters protect your windows against the elements. Interior shutters add class and style while providing adjustable light and privacy.
Interior shutters are designed to be moveable. They are hinged to open and close at your whim, depending on what light you want in the room. The slats or louvers can also move up and down. That is why designers call them semi-opaque. It simply means they block out most of the light, but a little will always shine through.
Like Venetian blinds, shutters allow you to adjust the direction of the light that streams in as well as the amount. Most interior types, like blinds can be flipped up or down or a variety of angles in between. But not all interior styles do this. So, make sure you choose the right ones for your situation.
Some interior shutters have stationary louvers which are more decorative than functional. Many of the café style that split the window in half have this type of stationary look. You’ve seen the type. You can either buy just the lower panels, or have two to three levels ( know as tiers) of panels that accordion back depending on if you only want light and views coming in the top, middle or bottom. The café style can seem less formal and have a more cozy, cottage-like feel to them. They are great for bedrooms and bathrooms where you may want views but a lot of privacy as well. Often times, people use them in the bay windows of eat-in kitchen areas.
Older styles of interior shutters have fabric inserts. These were especially popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The advantage was that you could change the panels to match the décor of the room. They used less fabric than draperies and still provided a classic, clean look to the room by accenting the window’s architecture instead of covering it up. Fabric paneled shutters were often used in breakfast nooks and children’s rooms. They are harder to find now, but for the semi-handyperson, they are not hard to make.
Interior shutters with moveable louvers also have tilt bars. Exterior shutters do not. Tilt bars are the rods in the center of the panels that allow the louvers to move up and down. Thus, you can control the amount of light you want, or the level of privacy you need and still keep the shutters themselves closed.
If you examine an interior shutter you will see that each panel has a tilt bar, a top and bottom rail that is stationary and side stiles that are also stationary. These form a “frame” around the louvers or slats. The panels attach together by hinges. While you may need custom ordered to fit your window space, many interior shutters come ready-made with side stiles that can be trimmed down.
There are generally two styles of interior shutters available nowadays. These are the traditional or colonial style that have narrow slats and the Plantation style that have larger slats. Interior shutters come in wood, faux wood like vinyl, or plastic. While a good majority of interior shutters, especially Plantation shutters, are painted a crisp, clean white, modern designers are not limiting themselves to that. Wooden ones can be painted or stained to match any interior decoration. Only your imagination is your limit.