Cost Of Living: Shutters

In Britain we tend to compensate for our summer's uncanny impersonation of winter by over-exposing ourselves to the sun when it occasionally turns up. But when you need sanctuary from the heat, heavy curtains are never very cool.

Shutters are an aesthetically pleasing and thermally protective alternative to blinds or curtains. The most common and attractive varieties of internal shutter are solid shutters, seen in Edwardian and Victorian houses, and plantation or Californian shutters. The latter have movable slats, called louvres, which are operated either by a central rod or a concealed mechanism. These permit you to move the slats in order to increase or decrease the amount of light you desire.

The brightness of your room, when the louvres are fully open, will depend on how wide they are – so it's worth considering the width that will be right for you. Carpenters will be able to fashion solid or plantation shutters for you but it can be cheaper to use a specialist shutter company instead.

Shutterly Fabulous specialise in plantation shutters. They are made from poplar or elm, the former giving a smooth finish while the latter will be grainy. They offer 12 different wood stains and 10 colours but are able to match any provided.

Although plantation shutters suit more modern interiors, the solid variety lend themselves to a wider range of properties. Solid shutters are marginally more expensive but The Shutter and Blind Company says they provide increased safety and noise reduction.

So rather than spending the summer complaining about the heat, perhaps we should all just shut up.

What it costs: Solid shutters for a three-bay window: £1,200, including installation, from The Shutter and Blind Company (www.theshutterandblindcompany.co.uk; 01256 328 520)

Plantation shutters for a three-bay window: £1,000, including installation: Shutterly Fabulous (www.shutterlyfabulous.com; 0845 644 2873)

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