Window dressings explained: which is which?

From shutters to drapes, there are a multitude of window dressing options to create the perfect balance of light and warmth in your bedroom (or any room for that matter). If you’re anything like me, when it comes to what to put up on my bedroom windows, it has to be blackout blinds. Believe you me, only complete darkness means a good night’s sleep. No glimmers of light in my rest space, thank you. But, in the name of balance and journalistic fairness, I must share the other options out there – all with their own design qualities, light limits and insulation properties. Have a read of my guide of window dressings to see what’s what.

Venetian blinds
Venetian blind window dressings are made up of horizontal slats, usually in aluminium, wood effect or fabric. You can adjust the amount of light they let in more easily than with a roller blind, because you can tilt the slats as well as raise and lower the whole blind. Slats come in various widths and, as a general rule of thumb, the bigger the window, the wider the slats should be. If you plan to measure and fit a Venetian blind yourself, take a good look at one of the many measuring and fitting guides available online. After all, you don’t want to run the risk of getting it wrong.
Venetian blinds

Venetian blinds allow you to control the amount of light and privacy in your space. This White Faux Wooden venetian blind with cotton tapes is priced at £38.75 per sq m from English Blinds.

Roller blinds
They are typically made from stiffened material and operated by a slidewinder chain so you can adjust the height easily. For a tailored look, install them inside the window recess to make it look larger. This is a good option if your window isn’t square or the recess is shallow.
Roller blind

Choose a patterned design for your window dressings to brighten up a neutral colour scheme. This Deck the Halls roller blind from 247 Blinds is priced at £16.37.

Roman blinds
Made from fabric, these window dressings are operated by a cord mechanism attached to slates or dowel rods sewn into the lining. They are simple to use but the folded fabric that gathers when they’re pulled up can reduce light levels. If you’re buying made to measure blinds online, read measuring and fitting instructions before you start to ensure easy installation in your bedroom.
Patterned roman blind

If you’re decorating a kids bedroom, choose a fun pattern to add personality. This Polly and Friends Tropical roman blind is priced at £21.15 per sq m from Blinds 2go.

Blackout and thermal
If like me, you need to block out all the light, invest in curtains with black-out linings or blinds with special backing that prevents light from filtering through. Plus, both options will help on energy savings, but for added cosiness consider curtains with thermal linings or blinds for your window dressings.
Blackout and thermal blinds for your bedroom

As well as giving you complete darkness, blackout blinds reduce noise levels too, so you can sleep better. This Sweet Dreams Bossa blackout roller blind, costs £21.96 per sq m from Apollo blinds.

Solid shutters
If blackout curtains or regular shutters still leave you battling unwanted cold and light, consider a solid shutter. This will be less flexible than louvred shutters when it comes to controlling daylight, but it will offer an added insulating layer that cuts draughts and retains warmth. Regardless of the style you choose, the material you opt for will affect the price. You’ll find window dressings options ranging from solid woods, to wood composites – MDF and craftwood, as well as plastics.
Solid grey shutters

These solid wood shutters painted in deep grey, Dulux trade colour paint from California Shutters make this bedroom feel cosy and welcoming. Priced at £156 per sq m.

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Tier-on-tier shutters
Popular because they are versatile, they feature top and bottom panels that can open independently from each other. Throw back the panels to let the light flood in, for example, and keep the bottom closed for privacy, or vice versa. Shutter louvres generally come in a choice of widths. Bear in mind the size you choose should be in proportion to the size of your windows.
Mint green tier-on-tier shutters

Create flow within your space by choosing bold coloured shutters to match your walls. Mint green tier-on-tier shutters from Shutterly Fabulous start from £168 per sq m.

Full-height shutters
A full-height shutter does what it says on the tin: it covers the full-height of the window. Often, it will feature a central divider rail so you can operate the louvres above and below it independently of one another. So, you have complete control over the over the amount of light you let into the room.
Full-height shutters

If you have a large open plan space, you’re able to easily adjust the amount of light coming in with full-height shutters. This San Jose design by John Lewis is made-to-measure and priced on application.

If you’re working to a tight budget, ready-made curtains can be hung as soon as you get home from the shop. However, they tend to come in a range of set sizes, so if you can’t find one that suits, you’ll need a made-to-measure service, which will offer a wider choice of fabrics. Alternatively, if you don’t want any limitations in terms of the fabric you choose and the look you can achieve, go bespoke.
Patterned curtain fabric

Along with providing more light control, thicker fabrics in dark colours will also provide more privacy. Goosegrass curtains from Clarissa Hulse are priced at £85 per m.

Featured image: Control the amount of light and create a statement in your bedroom with these yellow tier-on-tier shutters. Priced at £168 per sq m, they’re available from Hillarys. 

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