Plantation Shutters vs. Shades: Which Is Better?
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Plantation Shutters vs. Shades: Which Is Better?

If you're looking for window treatments that are both elegant and convenient, plantation shutters may be the right choice. Shutters can be customized to match your home's color scheme and decor, as well as give protection from UV rays and noise pollution. Plantation shutters are also energy efficient, which will help reduce your monthly utility bills.

Having said that, if you want a more classic look, shades could work better for you. Shades can be personalized in hundreds of colors, patterns and textures. And they give off a warm, welcoming glow in certain lighting conditions. With so many options available now it's hard to choose just one window treatment!

Through the years, Louver Shop of Columbia has assisted many homeowners with selecting and customizing window treatments. With your vision and our expertise, we're certain to find a solution together. We'll begin with a free, in-home consultation where you can see samples up close, from the convenience of your living room. Then your local design consultant will be with you every step of the way, from your free quote to professional installation.

For now, let's review plantation shutters vs. shades so you can learn more about the distinct features of these window treatments.

What Are Plantation Shutters?

Plantation shutters are also called hard window treatments, since they're made from either wood or faux wood. They're often white but are also available in a variety of stains.

Plantation shutters have broad louvers that are operated by a tilt bar, allowing you to customize the amount of light in your rooms. Unlike other window treatments, shutters are permanently installed to the window frame.

What's the Difference Between Blinds and Plantation Shutters?

The terms plantation blinds and plantation shutters are frequently used interchangeably when talking about window coverings. But window blinds and plantation shutters have several key differences. Let's go over them so you can find the right style for your home.

Budget and Personal Style

Both are a beautiful window treatment. But what fits best in your home depends on your personal preference, interior design, existing décor and budget. Our custom-made plantation shutters are a premium product created to last a lifetime, while blinds can fit a wider range of budgets. Horizontal blinds also come in a few different materials, including wood, faux wood and aluminum.

Louver Thickness

Both have vertical slats. But plantation shutters have much bigger and thicker louvers than horizontal blinds. These widths range from 2 1/2" to 4 1/2" and can be customized based on the design you choose.

Pull Cord vs. Tilt Bar

Blinds are usually controlled by a pull cord, while plantation shutters have a tilt bar that allows you to let in varying levels of natural light. This makes window shutters a better option for homes with small children or pets, since they don't use dangling, long cords that can be a safety hazard.

Window Size and Shape

Plantation shutters are best for a broad variety of window sizes and shapes, from large windows to specialty shapes. Real wood shutters are best for the largest windows, since they're much lighter.

Light Control and Room Darkening

Plantation shutters provide the greatest light control. Unlike blinds, they can provide a full room-darkening effect. They're able to supply superior light blockage and your desired level of natural light because they're mounted within the window frame.

While horizontal blinds offer some relief from the high temps, window shutters offer the best energy efficiency. This is true whether you choose a real wood or faux wood design. They help keep you more comfortable by stopping energy loss at the window, where your home loses the most air. This may even help reduce your energy bill!

What Are Shades?

Shades are soft window treatments manufactured from fabric, vinyl or woven wood. Our designer shades from Hunter Douglas are available in many different colors and styles, including sheer shades, honeycomb shades, Roman shades and roller and solar shades. Certain shades are on a continuous roll while others stack into orderly pleats when brought up.

Roller shades have the biggest selection of fabric to select from, including sheer fabric allowing more light coming through but less privacy. Roman shades deliver a more elegant look, while honeycomb and roller and solar shades offer the greatest energy efficiency.

Which Window Treatments Are Best for My Home?

This answer depends on a number of things, like your budget and home décor style. Here are a few points to consider that will help you narrow the selection process.

Most Customizable

Winner: Tie

With Louver Shop of Columbia, your plantation shutters will be just like you picture them. You’ll have your option of wood or faux wood, plus louver dimensions, color and more.

Similar to our premium shutters, our Hunter Douglas shades are manufactured just for your home. When you partner with Louver Shop of Columbia you’ll have access to all the latest fabrics, colors and patterns you need to elevate your home. You can see samples of our innovative shades from the comfort of your couch during your free, in-home consultation.

Smart Home Automation

Winner: Shades

Whether your shades are on big windows, hard-to-reach windows or you just don’t like the look of dangling cords, PowerView® makes it even simpler to move your shades. You’ll be able to move your window treatments with a tap of your smartphone or with a voice command via Amazon Alexa, Siri® on your Apple device or Google Assistant.


Winner: Plantation Shutters

You’re limited with how much you can adjust your shades. With plantation shutters, you’ll be able to customize how much natural light comes through, from completely open to full blackout.

Energy Efficiency

Winner: Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters are one of the most energy-efficient window treatments. Our LouverWood® shutters are crafted from an exclusive polymer that insulates up to three times better than wood. This material blocks heat, keeps you more comfortable and may even help lower your energy bills.

A close second for energy efficiency is honeycomb shades. These shades have geometric pockets that capture air at the windows. The result is reduced heat transfer, better comfort and potentially lower heating and cooling bills.

Most Current


You might not think of plantation shutters as a modern window treatment, since they’ve been around for so long. Available in contemporary neutrals like white, gray and brown, plantation shutters complement a wide range of home styles.

Designer Roller Shades or Designer Screen Shades are a great choice for minimalist homes. The Designer Roller comes in more than 400 fabrics, so you’re certain to find a style that complements your décor. Designer Screen is perfect for rooms with strong sunlight, as these shades block at least 75% of damaging UV rays when shut.

Light Filtering

Winner: Shades

Want to change harsh sunlight into a cozy, pleasant glow? Look no further than sheer shades. You can personalize the opacity of the fabric then enjoy the full adjustability of blinds, which float between the shades. Sheer shades are available in horizontal and vertical styles so you can develop a united look across your home.

Blackout Capabilities

: Winner: Tie

Plantation shutters are valued for their blackout capabilities. Ours are able to deliver excellent light control because they’re customized for your windows and installed within the frame.

Some Hunter Douglas shades are available with an integrated, room-darkening panel. That way, you can enjoy light filtering or blackout capability when you need it.

UV Protection

Winner: Shades

With Designer Screen Shades, you’ll be able to see your surroundings while protecting your furniture, floorings and belongings from damaging sunlight. When down, these solar roller shades shut out 75% of UV light.

Start Designing Your Custom Window Treatments Now

Customizing window treatments for your home shouldn’t feel stressful. It should be an enjoyable and even exciting experience. You’ll have plenty of styles and fabrics to look at, but you’ll have expert support from your local Louver Shop of Columbia design consultant. We’ll be there to assist, from your free, no-pressure quote to professional installation. Ready to begin? Give us a ring at 888-428-1415 to schedule your consultation today.

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