Bamboo shade or plantation shutter owners, please give input

avesmorMay 29, 2012

I have matching windows in my kitchen and great room (share a wall, and visible to each other) that are about 70x70. I don't know the right term for it, but each has three smaller windows within a single frame. We are completely split between bamboo shades, plantation shutters or wide slat blinds. Of the three, I've only ever had blinds, so I would really appreciate some practical "love it/hate it" information on the others.

Bamboo shades - I like their looks the best. So much texture, and I like the unevenness. BUT I'm not sure if it would be a PITA to have to move them up & down each time I wanted to adjust lighting (e.g. no "tilt" mechanism). I've also spoken with a rep at Smith+Noble who thought a 70" blind would be too heavy (she suggested we could go with 3 small ones, but I have visions of them never lining up nicely...)

Blinds - I know they're handy and convenient, but they're kinda ugly and... ugly. Why doesn't one of these window treatment companies come up with a bamboo blind?? :)

Plantation shutters - my 2nd favorite for looks. I like that they tilt, and I like the chunky/wide slats for our fairly large windows, but are they a pain to "fold" open if you want the window completely clear? How about cleaning - PITA? We have a young'en too, and I like that they'd be easy for her to open (tilt).

, it's a model house that really needs a better decorator ;), but these are the windows we have. I'm posting this pic because it shows three smaller blinds used for the single window, as suggested by Smith+Noble. I think it would bother me.

Oh also for consideration - each window has "antiqued satin" panels in a dark muddy green color, and slightly oiff white cotton voile sheers. I'd prefer to keep the WTs for their color/texture. (I know some people hate WTs with plantation shutters, etc.)

I'll see if I have some pics of my windows, if not I will take some later and post. TIA!!

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We have 4.5" plantation shutters throughout our house. Very easy to clean. I dont fold mine open, there is enough light coming through these wider slats. I like the bamboo shades also but only when they are pulled up.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 4:08PM
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I have bamboo shades in my breakfast room and it's not difficult to line them up. However, mine are not lined and are ineffective against the afternoon sun or for privacy at night. I wish they were lined.

I have plantation shutters on several windows, but not on windows that I like to open. They are easy to wipe off, but not as easy as solar shades or Silhouette-type shades which can be dusted with the vacuum.

Personally, I don't much like draperies mixed with plantation shutters. If you are keeping the draperies, I would choose bamboo shades.

My favorite treatments in my house are solar shades, but they read as casual. Most of the time, mine are rolled up under a fabric-covered valance, but they are great for protecting my furnishings from the afternoon sun.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 4:30PM
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I should've added that the weight concerns with the bamboo shades were because the shades were lined for privacy (we have neighbors front & back). I didn't think lining them would add that much weight but I was told I'd be surprised!

I have a fairly casual (transitional) style house. A friend has solar shades, and I agree they do good things during the day. With the exception of two rooms, our entire house gets indrect lighting. We're mainly after the privacy without having to fuss with curtains.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 4:55PM
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We had windows in our last house similar to what you describe. We started with three 2" white faux wood blinds under one wood valance (too much weight for one blind). They looked great, but I got tired of opening and closing. We then went with one Hunter Douglas cellular shade that covered the whole window. It was very lightweight, easy to pull and when pulled was only an inch or two deep. Then we had a valance and side panels of fabric. When the shade was pulled, you didn't know it was there.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 4:57PM
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I have 3 windows also, but they're separated by frames which is logical in using 3 shades, That said, imo, think one continuous shade would work AND look better on your windows. The bamboo shades are not even close to being the weight of wood blinds so therefor the installion shouldn't be a problem.

I've had absolutely no problem with mine and would use them again. ;o)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 6:01PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I think a lot depends on where you live and your view....I associate plantation shutters with very hot weather and they do tend to block the view more than other window treatments....

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 6:26PM
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All shutters ... plantation or traditional block views much more than blinds or shades.

We have 72" bamboo shades on the screened porch. They're not hard to raise or lower. How much more weight does lining actually add?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 7:22PM
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We have plantation shutters across the front of the house (previous owners installed). Love them. They are easy to clean and add a nice touch to go with the "acadian" style of our house. We get a lot of natural light. Would love to have them across the back of the house, but after pricing them, know that will never happen. We currently have wood blinds in the rest of the windows. Don't care for those. They are way to heavy to deal with every day.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 9:27PM
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I've had plantation shudders in the whole house for 20 years. Time to repaint and I realize how much I prefer the unobstructed view--they are PITA to open and close because furniture must be moved.
So, I am replacing with cellular ones and no drapes. Mid century look has taken over my house so the shudders no longer fit.
Think about how plantations interfer with furniture placement.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 10:09PM
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I love my plantation shutters! I don't open them very often because I have enough light in tilting the slats. This is my third house with plantation shutters and I would do it again.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 10:57PM
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I have lined bamboo blinds from Select Blinds. I have 3 shades in a bay window. The center one is about 53" wide and it's very heavy to raise and lower. I can't imagine raising a 70" one, if it's lined.

In my bedroom I have blackout cell shades. The original shade I had made for this room was 78" wide. They were heavy to raise and lower with a continuous loop mechanism. Those broke and were replaced TWICE! I had them replaced with 2 separate shades with the usual lift. I must say that, although I'm not fond of Smith & Noble - their customer reps seem spectacularly uninformed- , they did stand behind their product.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 1:02AM
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We have plantation shutters throughout our house and have had them on previous houses----and love their crisp, uncluttered look. It is a particular style especially suited to very hot climates. They do cut some of the light and I don't mind that--- we need the shade! That's why we also have porches fore and aft. If you don't actually need them I'd go with something that better fits your house style and part of the country.

Under no circumstances would I combine dark satin drapes, sheers, and shutters---or add bamboo shades to the existing situation, either. On the one hand you have a heavy, old fashioned look. On the other you have a lighter, newer look. IMO you should go with one or the other.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 2:11AM
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Can you show us the room and windows with existing drapes?
I have 1" white basswood wood blinds in office and bedrooms that I keep slightly tilted up to help block direct light but still allow me to see the views. The 1" blinds give a "lighter" look. If I want total privacy I tilt down. I have panels on one bedroom over the blinds and I think it looks nice. The office has a valance over the blinds. No drapes in master BR yet.

I have not blinds - drapery panels only - in my main areas (LR and DR). We like the views and since we are on a hill, passerbys on our road only see our ceilings when they look in :).

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 7:06AM
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FWIW, I have bamboo shades in my living room, including 3 separate shades on a triple (double-hung) window. I like the look, but I find they need to be raised and lowered VERY carefully. A few times I've popped the tension cord out of its mounting, the pull cords get knotted, the kids can't seem to operate them without sending them askew, etc.

Keep in mind that I purchased one of the more inexpensive models offered by JCP; perhaps a better-made brand would work better. I love plantation shutters, but the cost was more than I could afford as I would have needed some custom sizes (I was able to "fake it" with the shades).


    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 8:20PM
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I have to agree with lizbeth that cellular shades may be what you're after. They're nearly invisible when in the open position and will work with the sheers/drapes. I've had cellular shades wider than 70" and with a continuous cord they were very easy to open & close.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:37PM
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I love my plantation shutters. They let in as much light as plantation blinds and are half the trouble. I just tilt the slats and never open them unless to clean every now and then but I can reach most of it without opening them out away from the window. I have the larger slats and don't find they cut out too much light at all. We do get a LOT of natural light though. I also wish I could afford them all over the house but only have them in three rooms in the house and the rest are plantation blinds or bare.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 2:13PM
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I had plantation shutters in my last house and now in my new house...I truly love them. I think they are the best example of form meeting function that I own! ;) The big fat ones we have look fabulous, they are an architectural element unto themselves. On most of my normal sized windows, they are hinged on the side so no center rail...they open like a door. This makes the view even more unobstructed. When not tilted, they let in lots of light, but the great thing is just a slight tilt can defect a harsh sunbeam. They help with utility bills in both summer and winter. They are super easy to clean, just a quick wipe with a dry swiffer every week or so (I have my children do this!) And, I think they suit both traditional and modern design.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 6:16PM
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Sorry for letting this thread drop, we had to make a bit of an emergency trip out of state. I don't want any of you who responded to think that I just didn't read through your responses. :)

I'm not sure why the lined bamboo shades would be so heavy (I've not felt them myself, but the rep said they'd be "ugodly heavy." We have babmoo shades outside and they're surprisingly light. Maybe a different quality of materials is used? I'm really not sure.

The existing panels & sheers, once we have a privacy treatment, would stay open - pushed to either side (not swagged). The panels & sheers are on a double rod and I like to have the sheers just barely poking out from behind. No idea why, it's just a look I really like. I'm not deeply in love with either, but it took me a LONG time to find panels in that color that were long enough so I'm not in a hurry to get rid of them.

I don't have a great pic showing the windows/current treatments, and never did get one taken before we had to take off. Here are some that I've taken to show other things, in which you can see partially what I have:

These are the actual windows:

You can see part of the panels/sheers here. The sheers can go if need be. There's just something I like about them paired. This is a very rare picture of them closed. We normally leave them pulled open. The panels aren't quite that dark, nor shiny, in person (and we now have a different rug in there).

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 2:35PM
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