If privacy is a priority, then you can’t go wrong with plantation shutters or blinds. But these window treatments are not one and the same. You’ll want to make sure you’re familiar with all of the differences, including the costs, before making a decision for your Brisbane home.

Whether you’re after lower energy bills, elevated style, or protection from sun, there are plenty of reasons to add window treatments to your home – and there’s certainly no shortage of options to choose from.

All of the different styles, materials, and colours make your imagination the only limit.

Then again, having too many choices can confuse matters quite a bit. And let’s face it, creativity can sometimes get in the way of practicality (and your budget).

From curtains to shutters and blinds, and everything in between, you’ve got options on options.

Are you looking to simply decorate a space, or are you looking for options that allow for privacy, light control, and even protection from the hot summer heat?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that design aesthetics are just as important as function. You’ll be seeing your new shutters or blinds every day, so factor this alongside your window size, budget, and objective.

The answer for most Brisbane homeowners comes down to two stylish, versatile and affordable options:

  • Plantation Shutters
  • Blinds

But which one is right for you?

We’re going to take a super close look at both types in a head-to-head showdown: plantation shutters vs blinds. In the end, you’ll be able to choose the best option for your home.

What makes plantation shutters and blinds different?

On a basic level, plantation shutters and blinds can seem fairly similar.

They both provide a decent amount of privacy and light control for the windows they cover. But the similarities end there. When it comes to plantation shutters vs blinds, quite a few features are different.

#1: Form factor

There’s no mistaking blinds for plantation shutters.

Plantation shutters are known for their rigid, solid structure and tilted louvres. These allow homeowners to control the amount of light that enters the home. The louvres can be adjusted in different directions, or the actual shutter can swing open on a hinge (similar to a door).

Blinds come in a variety of styles with different control systems, none of which are necessarily louvres. Vertical blinds, for example, run on a track and are made up of (you guessed it) vertical slats. Venetian blinds use horizontal slats that can be raised or tilted usually using a cord.

#2: Installation

Both window treatments are permanently affixed to your windows. But how they are installed is quite different.

Plantation shutters include a frame that is attached directly to the window frame. This gives them more stability. They are also hinged with an inside mount, which makes it easy for them to swing open.

Blinds, on the other hand, have a variety of install methods depending on the specific type of blinds. Vertical blinds come with a track that must be mounted and given space for the panels to slide along. Venetian and other varieties of horizontal blinds are installed with either an inside or outside mount depending on the style and fit of your windows.

#3: Fit

Blinds can be much more forgiving when it comes to an exact fit. If you are off by a few millimeters, you can still hang the blinds, but you might have a small gap or rays of light sneaking through.

In contrast, plantation shutters require an exact fit. Mismeasure and you won’t be able to hang the frame within your window frame. The shutters won’t open and close properly or could bang into one another.

#4: Material

When it comes to what the window treatments are actually made of, you’ll probably see more options with blinds. Their design allows for use of fabrics, for example, that simply wouldn’t work with plantation shutters. Of course, fabrics are much less durable, but we’ll get to that.

Blinds can be made out of:

  • Natural Wood
  • Engineered Wood
  • PVC / Vinyl
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Synthetic Insulating Fabric
  • Natural Fabric

Whereas you can find plantation shutters made from:

  • Natural Timber
  • PVC (with metal core)
  • Aluminum

With their more sturdy construction and thicker materials, plantation shutters also tend to do a better job at keeping out light and reducing how much heat enters your home – which is a major consideration for Brisbane homeowners dealing with the summer heat.

What to consider when comparing plantation shutters and blinds

Here’s the bad news – there’s no simple answer to which window treatment is a better choice for your home as everyone’s needs (and windows) are different, after all.

OK, now for the good news – we’ve created a comparison guide so you can keep score at home and choose what’s best for you.

Material options

As we listed above, blinds will have more options when it comes to materials. This comes down to the fact that their less rigid design allows for lighter weight metals, plastics, and fabrics.

The downside here can be durability. While fabrics can look amazing and color coordinate exactly with your chair cushions, they can wear down and fade over time.

They’re also less easy to clean, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves again.

Price

When comparing the cost of plantation shutters vs blinds, shutters will generally be more expensive. This is because they are made of more material and sturdier materials. They are also more intensive to install and usually come custom measured and custom made.

The table below will give you a quick idea of average costs. This does not include extras like custom colors, for example.

Window Treatment Average Cost per m2
PVC Plantation Shutters $500-600
Timber Plantation Shutters $700-800
Aluminum Vertical Blinds $40-80
Vinyl Vertical Blinds $20-40

* Pricing is based on average pricing in Australia and is subject to change.

Installation

Your best bet is to have your window treatments professionally installed, no matter which option you choose. You can try to DIY the project, but you will be much more likely to damage your blinds or plantation shutters along with your window frame.

Professional installers will also pre measure your window to make sure they fit properly before you place an order.

That said, installation costs will be higher for plantation shutters. They are just a bit more involved and require finesse to ensure they are level, square to the frame, and working right. Look for plantation shutters to cost $50 to $70 to install per panel.

You can compare this to vertical blinds, for example, which cost anywhere from $30 to $80 to install for an entire window.

Durability

This comes down to material and design, and plantation shutters usually shine here. Plantation shutters have a solid frame that is affixed directly to the window frame, making it a long-lasting solution. There are few moving parts, aside from the hinges and louvres, so you don’t have to worry about wear.

Blinds tend to be less long-lasting. For one, they have a lot more moving parts. Vertical blinds have a track and each piece has to run across properly. Venetian blinds have cords and pulleys that not only open but retract the blind. And for items like roller blinds, fabrics can wear, fray, and fade.

Maintenance

Both plantation shutters and blinds should be low maintenance. If you go with fabric blinds, you’ll find them more difficult to keep clean and they’ll be more likely to trap dust. However, either option made from wood, synthetics, PVC, or metals will wipe clean.
Plantation shutters are a popular choice because they can remain closed while you tilt the louvres to control how much light enters a space. They can also let in a bit of sun while maintaining most of your privacy.

Privacy with blinds comes down, in part, to the type and design. Vertical blinds lose their privacy when you open them up to let the light in. Fabric blinds are usually either room darkening or light filtering, which gives you less control as the light and your needs change throughout the day.

FKR GROUP TIP: Light control can also come down to thermal protection. The more light you let in, the warmer your space can become. For this reason, plantation shutters are also more popular in homes that want to cut down on how much heat, not just light, from the sun enters their space.

Can you install plantation shutters on every window?

Plantation shutters are a popular window covering option in modern Brisbane homes. But can you install them on every single window in your house?

From a design standpoint, plantation shutters have a distinct look. It’s typically recommended that if you use plantation shutters on one window in a room, you install the same shutters throughout the room for aesthetic purposes.

For example, some homeowners choose to go for a look where all of the windows on the same storey or frontage of a house have plantation shutters for curb appeal.

Budget, however, can get in the way here. Be sure to have your home measured out and consult with a professional installer. You can also get creative with options such as half length, or café style, plantation shutters that cover the lower half of a window.

One way to minimise your costs is to combine two window treatments of the same material. For example, you can use timber plantation shutters on windows where design or light control matter most to you. Then go with wood blinds in a similar timber and finish on the rest of your windows. They’ll coordinate with one another while giving your budget a breather.

How plantation shutters add value to a home

Where do we start?

Firstly, you’ll reap the rewards of privacy, light control, thermal protection, and beautiful design. But plantation shutters are also a popular option in Australia right now, helping you beautify your home for as long as you live in it (and to attract future buyers).

As plantation shutters are literally attached to your home as part of the install, they’re usually custom measured to fit your specific windows. This adds value to your home for the long term as buyers are likely to see this as an upgrade to their living space.

After all, since they don’t have to go through the process of installing shutters themselves they can enjoy all the benefits with none of the cost.

Mixing design: using plantation shutters with other window treatments

One of the perks of plantation shutters is that they essentially eliminate the need for additional window coverings.

Also, depending on how they are installed or the shape of your window and frame, there may not be much room to add anything.

If you’re looking to get creative with your combinations, here are some design considerations for you. Keep in mind that using more neural colors can give you more flexibility now and in the future as your preferences change.

  • Curtains: You can hang curtains on rods higher than the window itself to soften the look of the space. Just be sure that they can be drawn back far enough to properly open the shutters as needed.
  • Valances: These decorative options can add drama to a window, but you have to be careful. If they come down too low, they will block the movement of the plantation shutters. These could be a good combination for a window with only a half-height shutter, too.
  • Blinds: While you wouldn’t use these together on the same window, we noted above how you can use blinds with similar color or wood in a room that also has plantation shutters.

How to install the right window coverings in your Brisbane home

When comparing plantation shutters vs blinds, the choice is simply a matter of preference.

Both blinds and plantation shutters can add design elements to a space while also giving you light control and privacy.

Be sure to review all of the differences and consider what matters most to you. In some cases, budget will dictate design, but you can creatively use different yet complementary window treatments in the same room to achieve the right look.

Since the installation method really makes plantation shutters and blinds different, make sure your existing window frame can accommodate the option you want. In some cases, you may not have enough space to install a frame or attach hinges and tracks as needed.

Let the pros at FKR Group help you choose and install the best window treatments for your home. Our experts have over 30 years of experience as shutter and blind specialists, so you’ll be in great hands. All of our installs are custom made and backed by both product and installation warranties.

We’ll measure your space and make recommendations that will fit your home, style and budget. Just call us on 0412 872 822 or request a fast free quote today to get started.