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Shutters Versus Blinds Pros And Cons

June 15, 2023

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Can you visualize an entire room from tiny swatches?

Is that how you decorate your home?

If so, gosh, I envy you.

Family Room Idea Board with fabric and wallpaper and floor choices

I need to physically place things in a room, stare at them for a long time and then decide if they feel right.

I wish I were one of those people who could picture it all in my head.

But I'm not.
I'm more of a trial and error kind of decorator.

Yes, yes, when I'm in the store I have a pretty good idea that something will match. That it will feel right in the room. 

Complete the look and make me smile.


I never know for sure until I get that decor accessory home, set it up and really look at in context.

My family room is a perfect example.

Choosing  A Green Paint Color to match fabric and wallpaper

Last year, I shared my vision. I'd purchased a sofa from a catalog drawing and loose leaf sized fabric swatch.

It was going to coordinate with a floral wallpaper. Again, something I chose from a small page in a book. 

I matched those two tiny samples up to a chip of green paint and grounded it all with a 4x4" square of vinyl laminate flooring tile.

And then I prayed for the better part of six months.

Would it all come together the way I'd hoped? Would it really look the way I'd envisioned it? The way it appeared on my vision board and in my head?

Only time would tell.

As the room slowly started to come together, I was reassured.

The paint was perfect, the flooring was gorgeous and the wallpaper was so full of cottage garden charm, I just sat in the empty room some nights to stare at it.

Then the sofa and the window seat arrived and I knew I'd done well.

Cue the big sigh!

Cottagecore Living Room Decor

Unfortunately, that sense of accomplishment ended there.

I always say that the decorating magic is in the details, but honestly in this room those last few accessories proved to be decorating devils.

No matter what I tried, I just couldn't seem to get the window treatments right.

Which is odd, since I'm the self proclaimed queen of curtains.

First, I made pretty pink valances with tiny ball fringe and loved them. For about three weeks.

Then they felt too busy and too light in the room, especially in winter, and I took them down.

Next, I added white sheers, the same ones I have in my bedroom, but they were wrong from the get-go.

I followed that up with these delicate lace panels. I was getting closer, but still not perfect.

My last attempt was the closest by far. I made green velvet valances that anchored the room and felt good.

Until spring rolled around and they didn't. 

Plus, I suddenly felt the need for more privacy. We'd recently removed some trees and I felt like I was living in a fish bowl.

While the pull down, pleated shades we had were great at night, they weren't practical or pretty for use during the day.

Bay Window With Pleated Shade

So I headed back to the design shop where shutters were suggested. Hmmm. That sounded super charming. Very cottage-y, clean and updated.

I was smitten. 

Unfortunately, my Exquisitely Unremarkable mister was not.

He felt that the windows were too great a feature to cover up and that the shutters would block too much of the light we loved and craved. 

Especially since they were fitted inside the trim and we wouldn't be able to open them to reveal the window. Only the slats would open and close.

He also pointed out that they were not cheap window dressings.

Indoor Shutter Catalog

At about $1000 per window we'd be in for close to five grand, and this change loving DIY girl would not be able to play decorator as easily.

There'd be no removing them, since they'd be professionally fitted, every time the whim of change hit me.

If we were going down this path, I needed to love them forever and ever.

And that just seemed too long for me.

Plus, remember what I said about needing to see things in the room before I know if I like them?

Well, to test my love of shutters, I went to the store and bought these 2" wide, faux wood white blinds off the shelf and propped them up in the window.

Cordless White Window Blinds

Guess what? I LOVED them. So maybe shutters were the way to go.

Then I started thinking about the blinds instead...which is odd, since I've been down the blind road before.

 In the 90s. 

I had blinds, with strings, mind you on every window. 

So in my mind they were dated, passe and I'd been there, and done that. They weren't even an option.

However, once they were "hanging" on the window I noticed:

Cottage Style Window Treatments Blinds and Lace
  • The blinds looked remarkably similar to the shutters, especially since we'd be choosing shutters with a very small top and bottom panel to allow for more light
  • They didn't require a pro install or special mouldings
  • I could still pair curtain panels or valances with them
  • I could lift them fully up and away if I felt the need to expose the entire window
  • They were cheap, so if I hated them in a year I could just take them down with very little regret
  • They provided privacy we could control
  • I could have them immediately
That was it for me. Those blinds checked all the boxes.

So I ran back to the store and purchased one for each window.

Floral Roses Wallpaper

I'd measured carefully and I found the blinds in stock. Except one. The largest one for the bay window. Oh, they had the 52" wide blind on the shelf, but it was 60" long and I needed 48" long.

No problem. My husband is a expert DIYer and he'd shortened these kind of blinds before

Besides, the width was most important and I didn't want to wait two weeks for delivery when he could so easily remove a few slats to make it the proper length, so I grabbed it and headed home.

When I arrived, and explained the situation to my husband, he asked me to please order the right size instead.

Cottage Living Room Decor With Green Checked Sofa

He said it would just be easier for him, but me, being the very impatient decorator that I am, said no, you’ve removed the extra slats before before,  just cut it now.

Well, he was in the process of building yet another electric bicycle (he's more than just a decor DIYer 😉)  and wanted to get outside to his project, but again, I pleaded with him to do it now.

It'll only take you a few minutes. 

And he, being the great guy that he is, and wanting to make me happy, did it, but was moving quickly through the process.

And cut the wrong string.

Cutting Blinds To Size By Removing String Plug

Causing that one string to snap up into the header, breaking the winding mechanism and the whole blind simply fell apart.


It was not good.

Of course with his never quit, gotta figure this out, engineering wired brain, he tried to fix it, but it was busted.

After 30 minutes of toil, I gave that guy a free pass to go build that bike and let it go.

Of course, I had to order a new one for another $85 and toss this one in the trash. Haha.

And I had to wait almost two weeks for the new one to show up.

So much for my quick and easy DIY.

Oh well, I guess every project can’t be a winner.

Especially when you have an impatient wife.

The wait was worth it though.

The blinds are perfect.

Cottage Living Room With White Window Blinds

I absolutely adore them, their price and their versatility.

And most of all I love the way they look.

Now that I see them in the room.

Although, after that debacle, I wouldn't take them down even if I didn't.

Well, not for a good six months anyway.

Alright. Three. 


Do you have a DIY fail? I'm all ears.

Kim Signature

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  1. My fail was painting my kitchen cabinets.
    When we moved in they were all a very midtone bland brown...too dark...
    I painted them all white....very bright....too bright..
    Then I painted the bottom ones a sage green and the tops a creamy white....
    A lot of time and paint later...but 10+years later I still love it

    1. Oh my goodness, Margie, that sounds like a very time consuming fail. Yikes, but it also sounds like you ended up with a beautiful result that you adore. I love mixed cabinet kitchens. They're super charming and warm. I guess that was one of those times you had to see white paint in person to know it wasn't what you thought it would be...I totally get it!!

  2. First of all...your amazing DH was right about shutters. They would have blocked a lot more light than you would have liked. We had them in our previous home, and while they looked amazing and classic, they did NOT let me as much like as I would have liked. I do love how the blinds look; they look fresh and appropriate, cottage-y but still elegant! And the green is a nice counter point to the pinks and reds in the room, working perfectly with the green in the sofa! My fail was actually not actually fatal. When we first bought our house here in Indiana, I knew exactly the perfect place for the piano in the living room. Except, it wasn't. It threw the whole room off kilter. Sailor figured it out, of course. We hired a moving company (because I kept reading over and over to hire professionals) to move the piano from one corner of the living room, to the opposite, kitty-corner. Which exactly where it belongs and looks perfect.!

    1. Kristine, you just made my day...and my husband's too. He loves hearing "honey, you were right!" Hahaha!! You made my day, because everyone around me told me shutters were the way to go, but in my gut they didn't feel right. I just didn't feel like there were enough options and knowing I would be stuck with them for the long haul didn't sit right with me, either. So thank you! It sound like it was your husband to the rescue, too. I don't think we give those guys enough credit in the decor department, but sometimes they really do know best!

  3. I’ve moved more in my lifetime than most people move ever. I know I’ve lived in at least 30+ places in my lifetime. I was in 4 different homes by the time I was 6. My husband and I moved 5 different times after we married and then we went in the military. Nine times that I can think of right off the bat just in the service. Eight different homes in Florida where hubby grew up, 3 more times in SC after we got out of the service, then to Arkansas in 2 different homes back to Ca. Where I grew up from the age of nine and moved many times then, at least 9 that I can recall. Now in NC off the top of my head I can think of 10. So I’ve definitely had my fair share of decorating! It’s taken a lot of trial and error but I’ve finally got a system that works for me. I usually start with a couch and chairs then I will pick out some wall decor, not a lot just some things I know I want in the living room. Once I get to that point I go and pick up at least 4 samples of the same colors that I like. I bring them home and set one color(4 samples of the same) on an ottoman in the middle of the room. I walk thru the room many times in every angle to see if the color is going to work or not in the room. I leave it sit there until I know if it will work or not and then I go to the next color. Once I get down to 2 colors I put them both in the room together until I decide which is the right one then I go and buy my paint.
    If I am going to be using a flat or semigloss or whatever paint and the swatch doesn’t come in that sheen, then I buy a sample of the sheen or whatever and paint it onto card stock so I know that I have the right color by the sheen. At one home I went thru 5 living room sets in 1 year. I just couldn’t get it right. It was tedious but fun! I love decorating but I really take my time until I feel it’s just right.

    1. Oh my goodness, that’s a lot of moving…and a lot of decorating!! I can only imagine all the different places you’ve lived, the different style living rooms and all the unique architecture you must’ve had a chance to play around with and decorate. How fun…and also exhausting! That a lot of packing and unpacking. Your system sounds like mine, living with things for a little before making a decision. I think sometimes I have to sit with things longer than I like and in the end they don’t work out. I guess it is what it is. Ok, so I have to ask, did you bring your own decorating style with you to each house or did you let the house dictate the decor? I’m always curious what people do!

    2. I actually think that each home has a different feel. For instance the one I’m in now for 10 years (the longest I’ve ever lived in a home and this is my forever home, I think) lol…I lived here long enough to find out what was in the area years ago. Ends up it used to be horse and cattle ranches. I’ve always wanted a Hollywood glam theme so I chose that and old west. Well I’ve veered more toward old Victorian and old west since I live in the south it just seemed fitting.
      I think a house speaks to you..depending on its style and where it is located. Some bones are good and some are not so good. This one makes me want to feel like it’s coming from the early 1900’s and moving into the 1920’s and 30’s. It’s not a Victorian but is large. It is rather plain until I give it the touches it needs to give it that look and feel. So I guess you’d say I do let the house dictate to me what it needs.

    3. I love that! I agree that the house will let you know if you give it time. Our first home was an even smaller cottage then the one we're in now and it was light and bright and white. I decorated it in pastels. It just fit. This house has a large stone fireplace and beams on the ceiling. No pastels in there! Haha!! Your place sounds lovely and like it's found the perfect person to decorate it!!

  4. Kim, I love the way the blinds look in the living room. They look great with the green valance. I have blinds like yours in my bedroom, my daughter's bedroom, and in our guest bedroom. We love them and I hope you will too.
    I have had so many changes in our house over the past 30 years!

    1. Thanks Julie! I really like the green valances, too. They’re very clean. So far I love the blinds, but whenever I think of your living room, I think of your really large shade. I still can’t get it out of my head. It’s just so charming!

  5. I lived with 2 shades of green Martha Stewart paint in the front rooms for years until I finally got around to painting over all of it. I also painted the kids' bathroom a sickly shade of golden yellow. I don't know why someone didn't stop me - both rooms looked horrifying!! No more painting for me (:

    1. Oh Gina, I hear you, yellow is such a tricky color. We painted our living room yellow years ago and within a few strokes it was clear that it was going to be neon!! Not good at all. Luckily we caught it early, because trust me, if we had done the whole room, it would still be that color!!

  6. The white blinds look perfect in that window! I agree for all the reasons you listed that the shutters would be a no-go. FWIW, we have blinds on all our windows. There's not much of a choice here with houses all around us. We need the privacy. It's nice during the day to just pull them up or leave them down, but open.

    I've had so many decorating fails, I wouldn't even know where to begin. ;-) It also takes me forever to complete a room because I'm always looking for just the right....rug, curtains, pillows, artwork, you name it.

    1. Thanks Melanie! I love the shutter look, but I'm just not the type to commit to decor like that. I adore change and these blinds may be down by Christmas and back up again by Valentine's Day...and since the hardware is hidden behind valances, it would be an easy change. As for artwork, yup, the room still needs some and once it's up it will stay!!

  7. First, let me say the blinds look beautiful. As for fails? Have you got an hour? Fortunately, DIY fails are never fatal and we just keep going until we get it right!

    1. Thank you, Ann! I really like them...for now! Haha!!

  8. The blinds look perfect! I had them in my living room and really liked them for the same reasons you states, but I got sick of them and took them down. I have curtains we close at night for privacy, but I miss them. And after reading this, I'm wondering if I should go back to them too!

    1. Thanks Mari! It’s funny how everything old is new again and the older we get it all seems to be new again and again and again! Haha!!

  9. Hi Kim. I think you made a good choice with going with the wood blinds. They look amazing. The plantation shutters are pretty and classic but they are expensive and a big commitment. I have them in my bedroom and love them but they would have been too much in my other rooms and would not let the southern exposure of light come through. We DIY girls like our change so I think you made a great choice. I am so like you in I am visual and need to see it and not just look at small samples. This room is so cute and cottage. I love it all. Have a Good Friday and wonderful weekend. Hugs. Kris

    1. Thanks Kris!! I really like the way they look and like I said, if I get the urge to change the window dressings, and you know how often I do that, I can easily remove them! And then put them back!! Haha!! My poor husband...😂

  10. As soon as I started reading this story I immediately thought of blinds. Kim they may not be glamorous or trendy but they do the job! And look pretty darn good while doing it. I see this as a win win!!

    1. You're absolutely right, Mary! They're not glamorous or trendy, but they do get the job done. Funny thing, when I look around on Instagram, the big trend seems to be removing the shutters and replacing them with knows, maybe blinds will be back in a big way and I'm just a little ahead of the curve. Like my cottage style. Ha!!

  11. I like blinds. They can be pulled alllll the way up (unlike plantation shutters), and they are easier to clean and dust than drapes. We have peeps with allergies in our family! Your bay window looks great. :D

    As far as decorating fails....I've painted our kitchen island four times if that tells ya anything! :P

    1. Thanks Ricki Jill, you are so right about the allergies. I need things that are easy to clean and don't collect dust. I also love that they can totally disappear if I want them to...and then come back in a jiffy at night. Also, glad to hear I'm not alone with the fails. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Love your bay windows , and the selection of the lovely curtains.

    1. Thank you so much! That bay window came with the house. It's a very crooked mess, old construction, etc., but we do love it.

  13. Love this story Kim! I like the look of the blinds too, but I also liked the first red & white valance you had above the window seat. Love the wallpaper!
    Decor fails...I'm simply not good with decor. I tend to live with all my stuff & furniture whether I like it or not. We've been in our house a year and a half, and have yet to have the inside painted. We got natural blinds for the windows and they look OK, but they're not great. Paid too much to take them down now. I love the look of your place. I think I'm a cottagey kind of girl too. I just don't want to figure it all out.

    1. Thank you so much, Florence. So funny, at the time I thought the red and white valances were too much. Now that I see the pictures, I like them and might add them back for summer. I'm fickle! Haha...and I get it with decor. It has to be a passion, because it is a lot of work. There is no doubt about that!!

  14. BEAUTIFUL!!!
    I really like the look Kim.
    As far as a fail, we painted a door blue, dark blue when we first moved here. The door was painted and had stars stamped on it. Because we were young parents, we were painting and re doing some of the rooms rather quick. The quick fix was to paint the door. Now, 21 years later we took the paint off, back to original wood, beautiful oak wood. It took three weeks to get that paint off.

    1. Thanks Carla! We like these blinds more and more every day. That paint removal sounds like a huge job...goodness, three weeks? Yikes. I get it though, especially with old houses you want to keep the original elements if possible, so stripping was definitely worth it, I'm sure. Funny how our tastes change so dramatically over the years, isn't it?

  15. Kim,
    Can you tell I am playing catch up with your posts...I promise I am not a stalker!! LOL!!
    I think the blinds are perfect and so versatile for the windows that you have in the room. Plus you can still do different drape and window treatments , changing things up...I love what you have done in the room...It looks so charming and inviting....I am looking forward to when you share the entire room finished...

    1. I love stalkers, Deb!! Thanks so much for your kind comments about the blinds. I love the new look and the versatility. Like you said, I can do different drapes over the blinds, pull them all the way up or leave them unadorned. Lots of choices!! Thanks for the visits!!