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Blinds or External Shutters? The elements to consider

If you are thinking to buy a new house or if you decided to embark on a renovation project, amongst the decisions you will have to take, you will also have to consider what kind of window fixtures and window treatments you will want to use.

In these cases, one of the questions to ask yourself is:

“What’s the best solution? Darkening blinds or external shutters?”

As well as for the aesthetic evaluation, this dilemma often arises for more complex and different conditions.

For this reason, it’s probably useful to clarify a few things first before getting into the specifics.

Read on!

Why are shutters not used in some parts Europe?

In north European countries people generally don’t use shutters or roller shutters on their windows for different reasons.

One of these reasons is essentially the climate and the scarcity of sunlight during the day, which doesn’t justify the presence of purposely build protection for it.

This essentially structural need, in turn generate a furnishing problem as, even if there isn’t such big need to protect a house from sunlight, it is still necessary to provide its inhabitants with some privacy.

Furthermore, given the very cold winter in northern Europe, a shutter box installed on the windows fixture would definitely cause thermal dispersion and might allow cold drafts to come in the house.

Nevertheless, thick darkening curtains could be still used in this situation, as they would help the insulation of your window fixture and help the energy efficiency of the house.

Given this much-needed premise, which offers us useful insight about some elements to take into account, let’s move on and see the best way to make our choice.

Window shutters: an architectural element to value

The choice between darkening blinds and external shutters very much depends on the condition in which we find ourselves.

If your house already has shutters, remove them or change them could mean having to do significant structural work with consequent high costs. In many cases, they also represent a charming architectural element that can improve the aesthetics of your exteriors.

More in the specific, in central and southern European countries such as Italy, Greece, Spain and France external shutters are a typical feature present in homes for centuries, and they are therefore an element to value and not necessarily to abandon.

Obviously, if the external shutters are old, in bad conditions and need of repairs, their overall charm might be lost.

In this case, the advice is to attempt the refurbishing of them or change them for new models with high energy efficiency.

Darkening blinds: a hybrid solution

If you are building your home from scratch or going through a massive restaurant work, you could consider to opt for a more north European solution, excluding external shutters and try darkening blinds.

A few things to consider:

  • The dimension of the space: bigger rooms are more suitable for darkening blinds – perhaps combined also with a filtering one to be placed behind it. This allows the light in during the day and also, by simply closing the filtering one, it an option that will also respect your privacy. It will be then effortless to lose it at night when the temperature, especially in winter, really go down.
    Type of use: the most utilized rooms of the house such the kitchen and the bathroom need more practical and functional solutions. Our choice? Roll-ups blinds.
    Style of interior decor: blinds can adapt themselves to any style of interior design, the most important things is to choose with care the right model and suitable colors. For more modern solutions we suggest Venetian blinds internal to the double glazing. Innovative and practical they get rid of problems such encumbrance and the gathering of dust and they can truly enhance our living spaces. Alternatively, standard Venetian blinds are also a good choice.
    Practicality: while external shutters represent a structural element which we can’t change very often for economic and practical reasons, darkening blinds (not the models internal to the double glazing) are a much easier furniture accessory to manage so much so that you can change as many time you want, even depending on the season.

Imagine having a house kissed by the sun, full of large size windows made with window fixture of great quality without external shutters.

By opening your internal blinds your will be able to inundate the house with light with all the benefits that it brings, especially during the colder seasons, and also getting rid of any encumbrance and of an additional structural element to deal with.


As you will see, the great “shutters vs blinds” debate highlights many important elements to consider and evaluate.

However, this is not a simple choice and shouldn’t be made lightly, as it could very much affect the final result that you want to achieve while designing your home.

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Sunbell, the future of blinds design
Born in 1977 thanks to the intuition of its founder Giuseppe Zuelli, Sunbell is a leader company  in the sector of technological advanced blind systems and it established itself for the strong connection between product development and design. High-end technology applied to solar shielding and a  ‘Made in Italy’ style are at the heart of all Sunbell projects, thanks to an innovative production process, in constant development.