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Shutter island – Britain’s new design craze

Window dressings can be a great way to instantly revitalise the look of your home, from the outside in. And the hottest new trend in the sector, and an alternative to those fussy drapes or blinds, is wooden shutters.

According to John Lewis, demand for their plantation-style shutters has risen dramatically, with the retailer seeing a massive 95% boost in sales in 2011 alone. James Foote, the company’s blinds, tracks and poles buyer said: “We have been pleasantly surprised by the growth in popularity of shutters this year. They are bang on-trend and are becoming a status symbol for both urban and suburban householders across the country.”

Aesthetically, the chic, clean lines of these louvre-type blinds look fantastic in any home, giving a rustic, colonial feel. They can also be made in materials that match your existing bedroom furniture, say, or the tables and chairs in your living room.

But while these made-to-measure shutters will certainly make you the envy of your neighbours, could this relatively small change in décor actually increase the value of your home? Estate agents seem to think so. Shutters are tremendously popular with house hunters, according to Danny Hardy, sales manager at Kinleigh Folkard Hayward in Battersea. He says, “They're the type of fixture that can really add value to a house. If you have a street where multiple houses have window shutters, this is always appealing as it's a really upmarket, well-kept look.”

Shutters can give your home great curb appeal, and while fashions do change, there are other benefits that make this one home interior trend that’s here to stay. First, there’s temperature regulation. Although most people buy shutters simply because they like the look of them, they’re often pleasantly surprised at their ability to keep out winter drafts – if they’re properly installed, of course. They can even be a good alternative to double glazing as the extra layer of insulation also keeps houses feeling cool in even the hot summer months.

Allergy sufferers may also be able to hang up their hankies and antihistamines, as dust can’t penetrate the hard wood in the same ways as curtains trap dust between their fibres. It’s much easier to keep them clean as the panels can simply be wiped down and they can also be made to fit any window, however awkwardly sized or shaped.

Those living on noisy streets or under flight paths will be amazed at how this extra layer of insulation can really cut outside noise and control the amount of light in a room as each panel can be independently adjusted. Of course, they can also be completely closed to block out all the light – or any beady eyes should you want to resume your living room disco dancing.

Issued by John Lewis
Image: Keith Levit, The Canadian Press, Press Association Images

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