Half height shutters are also called cafe style shutters. This term is used to describe shutters which cover just the lower section of the window, but leaves the top section open. This design is often used where customers are trying to gain privacy (say, for example, when the window is overlooked or maybe close to the street). In this situation, cafe style shutters are used where the shutter panels themselves are most often left closed and the louvers are tilted at an angle for privacy.
Another reason customers choose cafe style shutters is because they wish to retain maximum light entering the room through the upper portion of the window. This can be a factor to consider if the window faces north or has restricted light due to a building or trees outside the home, restricting light into the room.
Half height shutters work well in the above situations but think about the practical considerations before you opt for this design. If you are thinking of these for a bedroom, have you also got drapes? No drapes means you could be blinded by the early morning sun if you’re relying just on those shutters? If the shutters are for the den, it could feel a little bleak in mid-winter if you don’t have the ability to close off the outside.
Double hung shutters are often called tier on tier shutters in Europe. This design sees shutters covering the entire surface area of your window, but have significant different over full height shutters. Double hung shutters see the shutter panels divide horizontally, thus giving you the option of leaving the lower portion of shutter panels in position while swinging open the upper ‘tier’ of panels. This therefore gives you the same sort of privacy offered by half height shutters, gives the same amount of light through the upper section of the window, but allows you to close the top panels if you want to make the room dark or want to make that family room feel snugger!
Generally double hung shutters are the most effective design if you are sure you are going to open back the top panels. If you do not open back the top panels, it’s not a great option. Double hung panels, as they are opened often, are best made with narrow panels, which ‘bi-fold’ onto each other – that way, they take up less space around the window. If you opt for this design but end up leaving the shutter panels closed over most of the time, it’s a bad design as you end up with lots of vertical solid sections of wood.