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

If you're seeking window treatments that are both stylish 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 provide protection from UV rays and noise pollution. Plantation shutters are also energy efficient, which will help reduce your monthly utility bills.

On the other hand, if you want a more classic style, shades could be better for you. Shades can be personalized in hundreds of colors, patterns and textures. And they emit a warm, inviting glow in certain lighting conditions. With so many choices available now it's difficult to decide on just one window treatment!

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

In the meantime, let's compare plantation shutters vs. shades so you can learn more about the unique features of these window treatments.

What Are Plantation Shutters?

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

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

What's the Difference Between Blinds and Plantation Shutters?

The terms plantation blinds and plantation shutters are often used interchangeably when referring to window coverings. But window blinds and plantation shutters have some key differences. Let's review them so you can choose the ideal style for your home.

Budget and Personal Preferences

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

Louver Thickness

Both use 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 often adjusted with 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 safer option for homes with small children or pets, since they don't have dangling, long cords that can be a safety hazard.

Window Size and Shape

Plantation shutters are great 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 lightweight.

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 amount of natural light since they're mounted within the window frame.

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

What Are Shades?

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

Roller shades have the biggest selection of fabric to choose 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 factors, such as your budget and home décor style. Here are a couple of points to consider that will help you narrow down the selection process.

Most Customizable

Winner: Tie

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

Similar to our superior shutters, our Hunter Douglas shades are manufactured just for your home. When you work with Louver Shop of Richmond you’ll have access to all the latest fabrics, colors and patterns you need to elevate your home. You can view samples of our innovative shades from the comfort of your sofa 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 appearance of long cords, PowerView® makes it even easier 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 regulate your shades. With plantation shutters, you’ll be able to personalize 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 near second for energy efficiency is honeycomb shades. These shades have geometric cavities that trap air at the windows. The result is less heat transfer, improved comfort and potentially lower heating and cooling bills.

Most Current


You might not consider plantation shutters as a modern window treatment, because they’ve been around for many years. Available in contemporary neutrals like white, gray and brown, plantation shutters flatter 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 an option that complements your décor. Designer Screen is perfect for rooms with strong sunlight, as these shades stop at least 75% of harmful UV rays when closed.

Light Filtering

Winner: Shades

Want to transform harsh sunlight into a warm, welcoming glow? Look no further than sheer shades. You can customize the opacity of the fabric then enjoy the full convenience of blinds, which hover between the shades. Sheer shades are available in horizontal and vertical styles so you can create a cohesive look across your home.

Blackout Capabilities

: Winner: Tie

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

Some Hunter Douglas shades are available with a built-in, room-darkening panel. That way, you can enjoy light filtering or blackout capability when you want it.

UV Protection

Winner: Shades

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

Start Creating Your Custom Window Treatments Today

Customizing window treatments for your home shouldn’t feel stressful. It should be a pleasant and even fun experience. You’ll have a lot of styles and fabrics to review, but you’ll have expert support from your local Louver Shop of Richmond design consultant. We’ll be there to help, from your free, no-pressure quote to professional installation. Ready to get started? Give us a call at 888-428-1415 to schedule your consultation today.