When designing or updating window treatments, a common dilemma is deciding whether to pair shutters with curtains or use shutters alone. Both approaches have pros and cons in terms of aesthetics, function and effort. Should you combine shutters and curtains or let shutters stand alone? How you decide often comes down to window location and personal priorities.

Combining Shutters and Curtains

The layered look of shutters and curtains has traditionally been popular for good reason – the combo maximizes style and function. Here’s how shutters and curtains work well together:

More options for light control

Shutters on their own allow some light through slats. Adding curtains in front gives you total blackout capability by blocking remaining light. This is ideal for bedrooms.

Extra privacy

Closed shutters offer privacy during the day. Drawn curtains provide full privacy at night when interior lights are on. The layers prevent views or light escape.

day and night options

Open shutters let daytime light filter in. Closing lined curtains at night helps limit heat loss through glass windows for added insulation.

Softens hard window lines

Crisp shutter lines look more relaxed and approachable softened by the draping fabric of curtains. This creates a welcoming atmosphere.

Heightens the focal point

Framing a window with shutters draws the eye to this architectural focal point. Elaborately detailed curtains provide further emphasis.


The familiar look of shutters flanking draped curtains provides a classic, timeless style. Many associate this with refined, formal spaces.

Shutters and curtains just seem to belong together in many homes. Their combined strengths give you the best of both function and beauty.

Potential drawbacks

There are a few caveats to the layers:

  • Cost – You pay for two window treatments instead of one which can get pricey
  • Effort – Layering means twice the installing and twice the decorating effort
  • Light blockage – Too many layers can overly darken a room with natural light blockage

Overall though, the benefits tend to outweigh the downsides for rooms where optimized function and soft elegance matter most.