Design | How to choose between curtains, blinds and shutters

Window treatments have a true potential to be a defining feature of a room. At the very least, they may be a clear focal point, that frames a beautiful window, or conceals one with less character. Though which treatment to opt for is far from being an easy decision. Here, I consider curtains, blinds and shutters and why one might be more right for you over another.

For each of the below, there is of course, a vast selection from which you can choose. Not least the endless amount of fabric choice, but the design of the window treatment itself. 

I begin by ascertaining what our client is trying to achieve with their window treatment. Is it purely function, such as creating a blackout atmosphere in a little one’s bedroom? If so, a Roman blind shall not work as you will see light bleed at the sides. Is it purely aesthetics? If so, curtains may present you with more options to play with. Is it both? And do you have a budget in mind?


Quality is everything with curtains and a hand stitched pair, fully interlined will both hang beautifully and last well beyond you tiring of the fabric. I use them wherever I can as curtains present the most wonderful opportunity to showcase a beautiful fabric. That fabric can behave as a neutral but luxurious backdrop or as a real accent. They are a sizeable factor in establishing the aesthetic of a room and they create real warmth in older properties.

Roman blind

I have chosen to concentrate on my personal favourite of all the blind options – Roman blinds. For me these are supremely elegant and effective in an interior design scheme. They are an excellent consideration if your window and wall do not have the capacity to take on curtains, or if you are looking for a less expensive treatment. 

Roman blinds do however require wall space above your window, because the fabric folds in at the top and it is far better for this to be carried on the wall rather than being gathered within the window frame itself. Otherwise, you may lose up to a quarter of your window when the fabric is pleated in the up position. A Roman blind will also allow you to introduce another element of fabric to a room.


With shutters, if your home is an old, country property or even one with Georgian sash windows, there is something so special about having solid wood shutters. By this I do not simply mean shutters that are crafted from solid timber, but that are a solid panel with no slats. They speak of security, warmth and tradition. I love them painted too. If a home already has shutters when you move in, you could add curtains in addition if it is a very large window. This will help to soften it. In a coastal home, I often use slatted shutters as these are most suited to seaside locations.

In townhouses where you find yourself located on a bustling street, slatted shutters can be quite useful as you can keep the bottom half shut for privacy but let natural light flood through the top section.

The consideration with shutters is the width of your window. You want to be able to bi-fold each leaf onto itself and then have room to swing them out within the recess to meet in the middle. 

My advice would be to always consult a specialist. If you are working with an interior designer, they will be able to do this for you, but if you are not, and are simply concentrating on your window treatments, you can speak to curtain makers directly or the supplier. Having knowledge beforehand will point you in the right direction and act as your guide, but a specialist will help to guide you to the happiest option for you, your home and your budget. 

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