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When choosing shutters, many of our customers opt for neutral tones and natural wood. These colours can be selected from our standard colour options, and there’s no denying that they work beautifully, but occasionally someone rings up asking for something a bit different. And that makes our ears prick up!

When Sue Merry moved into her new-build home near Horsham, she decided to order colourful shutters from us – with a different colour for each window! Intrigued, we paid Sue a visit to see her shutters being installed.

Hi Sue, thanks for inviting us into your brand-new home for your shutter installation. They look amazing! You’ve opted for a lovely shade of pale teal for your patio window full height shutters. What made you choose this colour?

SUE: I was looking at some very bold colours initially. Before I retired, I was a primary school teacher and having been surrounded by loud designs over the years I naturally gravitate towards quite a bright look. But when I showed a friend my original choice, she said it was too childish!

So I toned it down a bit and thought, “Maybe I could match the colour to some of my existing furniture.” I have some lampshades with matching cushions that feature seagulls on a lovely teal background. They really complement my Egyptian Cotton walls so I thought the teal could work.

Shutters in Sussex by Shutterly Fabulous

Sue Merry with her pale teal full height shutters. Top right, her bedroom shutters in Green Verditer. 

It certainly does! You’ve really gone to town on colour, utilising our Custom Colour Matching service to make different choices for each window.

With the back bedroom red shutters I originally looked at a much gentler shade of pink, but in the end I went for a deeper shade called Leather, because I thought, “If I’m going to go for it, I might as well go all in!”

In the kitchen it was quite hard to find the yellow I was after, because some of them are very acidy and I quite fancied a kind of custard colour – which is very kitchen-appropriate!

For the front bedroom I have my favourite colour – which is Green Verditer (Little Greene) – but I couldn’t have it in the lounge because it didn’t go with the seagulls! I mean, if I was sensible, I’d choose one colour for the whole house. But why be sensible!?

I think choosing 4 different colours has been a reaction to my previous home, where bold red was very much a dominant colour throughout the whole house – and I really didn’t want to be confined to just one colour this time.

Coloiurful Sussex shutters by Shutterly Fabulous

A colour for each window. Sue’s bold choices pay off.

 

 

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We’re delighted you love your shutters. What made you choose Shutterly Fabulous?

What I liked about you guys first and foremost was your name, and when your consultant came round there was no hard sell involved whatsoever, which is an approach I prefer. I also like the fact that you don’t sell blinds, curtains or whatnot, you’re shutter specialists, so you really know what you’re doing.

I did see a local company, but they were very dismissive of colour, which didn’t go down well with me at all! They said I’d be much better off with something more neutral, but I really didn’t want my shutters to be the colour of milky tea.

Full height shutters in Sussex by Shutterly Fabulous

Sue with Marcin, her installer. The pale teal shutters perfectly complement her Egyptian Cotton walls. 

Now that the shutters are installed, how do you think they look and feel?

I think the shutters look amazing! You could see as they were being fitted that they were going to be great. I’m very pleased with the colours I chose and they all reflect their own room perfectly.

The yellow in the kitchen – Citron 74 by Farrow & Ball – gets the morning sun and fills the room with light if the sun is shining. If it’s a grey, miserable day, the sunny yellow is very cheerful to start the day with.

The deep pink in my bedroom makes it feel like a very personal and indulgent room, just mine, but the feel is still very modern and fun!

The turquoise green in the front bedroom is my favourite colour generally and they give the room a lovely calm, restful look. They also get the morning sun and look stunning.

The big pale blue/grey shutters at the back let in beautiful light and make the room very elegant. I can get lots of different diffused light coming in depending on the angle of the individual shutters.

I’m really glad I went for the split shutters which offer great variation, with the ability to change each room throughout the day.

I’d say the shutters really finish off the rooms properly; they’re so neat and carefully fitted and take up far less space than curtains.

Time lapse video of Sue’s living room shutters being installed.

What reaction have you had to them?

I’ve had a lot of friends waiting to see these ‘famous’ coloured shutters – they’ve been on the journey of listening to me decide on the different colours and why – and they’ve seen all my match pots and fabric swatches.

Right after installation, I had a ‘drop in for donuts’ day for everyone to come and see them. They were stunned and amazed by the effect and the difference the shutters made to each room. Everyone loved them all but were mostly taken by the big full length patio door shutters.

Obviously, they can be seen from outside and lots of the neighbours were very interested in what I’d done and there were a few ‘I wish I’d been braver’ comments from those with plain white shutters.

I’m so glad I went for the colours, they bring joy and make me smile, what more can you ask for?

Thanks for inviting us into your lovely home, Sue. Enjoy your shutters!

 

Fancy making a fabulous statement with your shutters? Our shutters are beautiful – we’re all for showing them off in juicy colours.

You can speak to one of our shutter experts to discuss ideas or book an appointment here

An introduction to plantation shutters

Originating on the large farm and plantation houses of the American South (hence the name), plantation shutters have rapidly grown in popularity on both sides of the Atlantic over the past 20 years. Manufactured from a range of different materials (ours are handmade using high quality hardwood), they are attached directly onto a window or door frame to become part of the fixtures and fittings of your home.

The key element of a plantation shutter is its slats – evenly spaced elements that can be opened or closed as required. Chances are that when walking down any suburban British street over the past few years, you’ve started seeing a lot more plantation shutters springing up.

We’ve put together this article to tackle a question we sometimes get from curious shutter newbies – are plantation shutters out of style? We’ll explain that, far from it, plantation shutters are as in vogue as ever and are in fact a timeless addition to any home, complementing any interior style.

White plantation shutters by Shutterly Fabulous

Where do shutters originate from?

A big clue is in the name. Plantation shutters were first designed to be used on the large plantation and farm houses of the deep American South. Owing to the subtropical climate in the region, with its swelteringly hot summers, traditional curtains were seen as too heavy and stifling. Landowners required a window dressing that allowed for privacy, light control and for cooling fresh air to enter rooms. It led to the iconic slatted design being developed, the white finish that was used to reflect heat remaining the most popular choice even today.

Large slats meant fewer slats and more unobstructed light entering rooms, however come sundown they could be closed completely to allow for a dark and peaceful night’s sleep. Large slats are the defining feature of plantation shutters and are resolutely popular today, looking particularly striking on large windows adorning Victorian and Georgian buildings.

Solid panel shutters by Shutterly Fabulous

Have shutters gone out of style?

If they had gone out of style, we’d be out of business by now! Not only are we still going strong after 17 years, but we’ve actually just expanded our reach to serve the whole of the UK. Just take a look at our glowing collection of customer reviews that grows by the day.

The number of shutters you see on British streets has grown rapidly over the past few years and this growth shows no sign of abating. By being available in neutral colours such as white and grey, they complement any interior style, meaning they outlast changing trends. And by becoming part of the fixtures and fittings of a home they’re much the same as a new kitchen or extension and are therefore less ‘throwaway’ than blinds or curtains.

Shutters are being reinstated in Georgian and Victorian properties to return them to their original lustre. Indeed, many of our customers request solid shutters, i.e.: solid panels of wood and no slats, to help do just that. We’re seeing an emerging demand to have shutters installed in new builds as they bring an element of architectural detail without the cost of full scale structural renovation, such as installing a fireplace.

Rest assured, shutters are about as timeless as you can get when it comes to home improvements and show no sign of going out of fashion any time soon!

White plantation shutters by Shutterly Fabulous

Do plantation shutters suit particular homes?

As well as being timeless, plantation shutters are also incredibly versatile. They suit all types and era of home – flats, houses, Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian, new build. We’ve installed shutters on French doors, in conservatories and even on house boats. Our highly experienced shutter specialists will visit you at home and custom-design shutters to the precise spec for you, taking into account your interior style, age of the building, type of windows and your personal preference. We offer shutters in a huge range of colours and styles, including custom options. There’s no window (or door) that we can’t make look Fabulous with shutters.

Plantation shutters by Shutterly Fabulous

Conclusion

Ready to find out more about the ultimate timeless purchase for your home? Click here to book a free home visit with a shutter specialist in your area. They’ll talk you through styles, colours, measure your windows and give you a quote. They’ll return a couple of months later to personally install your shutters and make your home look that little bit more Fabulous. Or if you’d prefer a quick quote, give the team a call with some rough window measurements to hand – we’re open six days a week. Now, how’s that for style?

 

 

 

How Abi Dare created a sanctuary in her Bristol home

Designing and crafting the perfect bay window shutters is something we specialise in at Shutterly Fabulous, so when renowned interior blogger Abi Dare from These Four Walls leaned on us to make over the bay window in her Bristol home, we were delighted to advise her. With a distinctly minimalist style that is inspired by her time spent in Scandanavia over the years, shutters were her first choice for her living room bay window, to balance form and function, while making the most of the period features in her Victorian home.

If you’re curious about whether bay window shutters will work for you or not, or if you’re trying to achieve a similar neutral interior style in your home, read on for Abi’s story and tips to help you create a sanctuary…

 

Hi Abi, it’s great to talk to you today. We love your blog, These Four Walls. You have a very calm, distinctly minimalist style. Can you tell our readers what inspired this look in your home?

Minimalism has always appealed to me, and I’ve never really liked anything flashy or over the top. I’ve spent a lot of time in Scandinavia over the years, and that’s definitely inspired my design choices – I love the way Scandinavian homes balance form and function and generally have a ‘less is more’ approach. I remember visiting the design museum in Copenhagen on a school exchange when I was 14 and marvelling at all the beautiful mid-century furniture on display. I knew I’d discovered an aesthetic that was going to have a big impact on me.

I’m also very drawn to neutral colours, and for an unusual reason. I have a condition called synaesthesia, which is when one sense merges with another rather than being experienced separately. In my case, it means I see each letter, number and day of the week as a different hue, and as a result, my mind is constantly buzzing with colour. Avoiding clutter and surrounding myself with muted tones is a much-needed antidote to that!

You have such an interesting relationship with colour. What do you believe to be the benefits of living with neutral colours, and are there some neutral features in your home you couldn’t live without?

I find neutral colours very calming, and they definitely help me to unwind and feel relaxed in a space. They’re also a timeless choice as they don’t really date. And they work with most other colours, meaning you can easily change the look of your home with soft furnishings or accessories, without having to redecorate in full.

That said, I appreciate that many people prefer to have more colourful homes, and I strongly believe that we should all decorate in whatever way makes us feel happiest. For me, that means lots of white, grey and beige, but for others, it might mean vibrant pink or midnight blue!

Tell us more about your Victorian home in Bristol. What has been the most satisfying interior design project(s) you’ve undertaken in the house?

My husband Chris and I have a very typical three-bedroom red-brick terrace dating from around 1900, which we bought just over four years ago. We fell in love with it because it has beautiful period features but is much lighter and airier than many Victorian homes, and we’re gradually going through it room by room to make it our own. The living room has definitely been the most satisfying project to date – it was the first space we finished and it set the tone for the rest of the house. It’s also the room we spend the most time in, so getting it right was important.

To someone who loves your Scandi-influenced style, and would like to decorate their home in a similar fashion, where would you say is the best place to start?

Get the basics right – wall colours, flooring and any major pieces of furniture such as sofas and beds. They set the tone for the whole space and are often the most difficult things to change, so focus your time and money on those first. You can then add smaller items and accessories over time, as and when budget allows or you find the right finishing touches.

Light is also key to Scandinavian style. Look for colours and window dressings that maximise natural light, and position lamps to create a soft, cosy glow rather than using harsh overhead lighting.

You recently chose to install our made-to-measure wooden shutters in the bay window of your living room. Can you describe how they’ve transformed the space for you?

The window faces straight onto the street, so being able to have privacy without blocking out natural light is wonderful. It’s made such a difference to the room and the way we use it – it somehow looks both cosier and larger at the same time, and we feel a lot more comfortable now we’re no longer living in a goldfish bowl. What’s more, the shutters fit the pared-back decor perfectly and look so much smarter than curtains, which always hung awkwardly.

I also love being able to have the windows open behind the shutters, so that fresh air can filter through the slats – and there’s no longer any risk of our cat jumping out onto the road, which was always a bit of a worry beforehand!

What factors made you choose full-height shutters and what advice would you give to someone who’s considering having shutters installed to their bay windows?

Initially, I was keen to have tier-on-tier shutters, as I’d seen them in other homes and liked the idea of having the top sections open and the bottom ones closed. But the shape of our window meant there would be no way to open the top tiers and have them sit flat against the wall, so we’d only end up banging our heads on them! I, therefore, decided to keep things looking as clean and minimalist as possible, and opted for full height shutters rather than breaking them up with different sections that we wouldn’t use – although the slats at the top and bottom still open independently of each other, which is really useful.

It’s something I wouldn’t have realised without the help of our local Shutterly Fabulous design consultant. It just goes to show that it really is worth using a company with consultants, rather than trying to measure up for shutters yourself. The latter might work out a bit cheaper in the short term, but you risk making costly mistakes.

Now that you’ve been living with the bay window shutters for some time, what single feature do you like best about them?

The fact that we can tilt the slats to let in natural light without anyone being able to peer in from the street. It means we can happily lounge around in our pyjamas on weekend mornings, enjoying a lazy cup of coffee with sunshine streaming in!

What advice would you give to other homeowners looking to dress their bay window with shutters?

Do a bit of research using magazines or Pinterest, and see what style of shutters you’re drawn towards. But try not to have too many set ideas before the design consultant visits, as they really know their stuff and will be able to advise on what will work best for you and your lifestyle. There will probably be options that you haven’t even thought of!

You’ve obviously been very busy with your home interior projects. But are there any other renovations you’ve got lined up?

We’re in the middle of sprucing up the kitchen with new door fronts and worktops. We also have grand plans to rejig the layout and move the bathroom upstairs, but that will have to wait until finances allow! And as we love the shutters in the living room so much, we’re considering installing them in our bedroom, too…

Thanks very much for taking the time to speak with us. Before we wrap up, we like to ask everyone who we interview, what’s the best piece of interior advice you’ve ever been given?

Take time to work out what you want, rather than what you think you should have. It’s always worth living in your home for a while before making any major decorating decisions, as you’ll get a feel for the space and light, and how you use the various rooms. I know it’s tempting to rush into big projects, particularly if you’ve inherited decor that you really don’t like from previous occupants, but if you act on impulse you’ll risk spending time and money on something which you’ll come to regret. For example, when we first moved into our house we wanted to knock down a wall to create an open-plan kitchen-diner because that’s what most people do with properties like this. But I’m so glad we didn’t, as we’ve come to realise that we like having separate spaces and being able to close off any mess in the kitchen!

Fantastic advice, thank you for allowing us to interview you today Abi! Take a look at Abi’s blog These Four Walls for more minimalist interior inspiration, or follow Abi on Instagram @thesefourwallsblog.


Are you looking to fit shutters to your home? Book a free appointment with your local shutter specialist today. See a map of locations we cover.

Before & After: Interior blogger Brick Dust Baby shares her exterior makeover

Take a wander through the residential streets of Brighton (or Hove–actually) and you’ll quickly come across the rows of Victorian, bay-fronted homes the seaside town is known for. Take a closer look inside, and you’ll find at least a handful of houses on every street with wooden plantation shutters, many of which Shutterly Fabulous are proud to have expertly measured and fitted.

Our origins started as a Brighton shutter company, dressing many windows and smartening the exterior of properties across East Sussex. But shutters don’t just make an impact on the exterior, it’s what’s on the inside, as interior blogger Jasmin shares…

 

Jas Robertson, photo by Emma Croman

Today we’re delighted to be joined by Jasmin Robertson, who writes the interior blog Brick Dust Baby A few years ago Jas bought her home in Poet’s Corner, Hove, calling on our team of East Sussex shutter specialists to help her make the exterior of her home fabulous. We quizzed Jasmin about the transformation of her home’s exterior, about all things colour, and smartening the building, but also got the chance to discover more about what’s on the inside, her decor choices, and how she’s made her home a tranquil yet colourful space for her family…

Hi Jas, it’s great to talk to you today. Tell us a little bit about you, your blog, where you live, and how you came to own the property you live in.

Hi, I’m Jasmin, I live with my fiancé Liam, our six-year-old daughter Molly and our French Bulldog Worley.

We bought our house in December 2014 from a family member. We got a really good price as no work had been done on it in over 20 years. I think the owner realised selling privately to us meant avoiding the embarrassment of having to put it on the market! It was a complete wreck.

We’re not afraid to get our hands dirty so renovating appealed to us. It was a great opportunity to live in a decent area, near to a school we wanted Molly to attend. It was a big step up on the property ladder from my one-bed flat in Brighton, but my word we worked for it!

We live in a lovely neighbourhood known as ‘Poets Corner’ in Hove. I actually grew up here so have known some of our neighbours since I was seven years old. I’ve seen the area evolve and improve drastically in that time. It’s definitely now far more desirable!

I started my blog and Instagram (@brickdustbaby) as a way of documenting our renovation progress and I’m so glad I did. Whenever I’m feeling frustrated or stuck in a rut, I look back at early photos to remind myself how far we’ve come.

We’ve loved following your renovation on instagram – in particular the exterior of your home. What did the outside of your property look like when you moved in, how did you improve it and why?

The outside of the house wasn’t actually too bad in comparison to the inside, but it was still pretty dire. The front wall was bare brick and breeze block where it had been rebuilt at some point but never finished, the path was cracked, and the exterior paint was flaking. I also remember the front door had swollen through the winter months, so we had to really kick it to get it to open!

The first work to the front of the house was replacing all the windows. Many were leaking and so old the UPVC frames had turned yellow. We replaced them with UPVC sash and cord windows, they were the more cost-effective way of reinstating the bay windows, in-keeping with the house, which was built in 1901.

We had the front wall rebuilt and rendered and paid through the nose to have a new ‘pier cap’ cast. That’s the shaped point on top of the pillar in case you were wondering! Ours was the only house on the street with it missing so the moulder took a cast from a neighbour’s house.

We hired scaffolding and painted the front of the house ourselves. It took ages as we attempted to do it during winter and quickly discovered paint doesn’t dry in temperatures under 5 degrees. Amateurs!

Our front door was sourced on eBay. It took months to find the right one and we drove to Southampton to pick it up. We had the stained glass removed and restored and a layer of safety glass added for support.

One of the last jobs was tiling the path. We went for the classic Victorian black and white chequerboard, which looks really smart. And of course, then we had our plantation shutters installed to both of the bay windows which finished the look inside and out.

“We’ve had neighbours come and tell us we’ve taken the house from the worst to the best in the street, which was lovely to hear.”

You’ve done a fabulous job. We love the way you use colour throughout your home which reflects through the exterior. Do you have any tips for busy homeowners to make an impact with colour?

We’re getting braver with colour as time goes on, at first everything was white! Generally, we now stick to foundations of natural materials and neutrals and add in smaller pops of colour. The accent colour on the front exterior is the front door which is painted bright pink in Nancy’s Blushes by Farrow & Ball.

If you’re experimenting with bolder shades, my tip would be to start off with smaller items or areas that are easier to redecorate or change. Brights catch your eye more so in my experience this can mean you get bored of looking at them. The colours in my house that have stood the test of time are the ones I really love – mainly pinks and greens.

Artwork is also a great way to add colour to your home. I love art and the pieces in our house bring in various different colours – but they were all bought for love, irrespective of how they might tie in with the décor.

Your shutters look stunning inside as well as out and really complement all the colours you use elsewhere in the rooms. What made you choose to have a full-service installation for your plantation shutters as opposed to other window dressings?

Soon after the new windows were installed, we began thinking about window dressings. There are so many options. I have an aversion to curtains – too fussy – and had long swooned over houses with shutters. I always thought they looked so smart but never thought we’d be able to afford them.

We shopped around for quotes and were met with some eye-watering numbers. What’s more, we were told we’d have to rip out the new architrave we’d just installed around our new windows. Luckily friends of ours had used Shutterly Fabulous and what they paid was miles off the quotes we’d been given, plus their shutters were fitted within the architrave… hope was restored!

When Shutterly Fabulous came around to quote we instantly liked the shutter specialist. Knowing our wonky Victorian house and the tricky bay window, we were nervous as the measurements needed to be ultra-precise. We asked loads of questions about what would happen if the shutters didn’t fit but were completely reassured.

You chose our Premium Elm, tier on tier shutters in both your living room and bedroom. What enticed you to choose this style and what do you love most about them when you’re using them day to day?

Having tier-on-tier shutters makes them so much more versatile. I love that we can open the top to let in light but still maintain our privacy.

The front of our house is east-facing so the light moves around a lot as the day progresses. The shutters are so easily adjusted and give us better control over the light that we just wouldn’t get with other window dressings.

I also think having shutters in all windows at the front of the house (top and bottom) looks so smart.

It’s great to hear that you love them! Do you have any tips for homeowners who may be choosing wooden shutters for their homes? 

Firstly – good choice!

Before you make any final decisions, have a good look around other people’s shutters to see what you like and don’t like. Also think about the room you’ll have them in and the type of windows they’ll fit onto.

When do you usually use the room and how does the light fall through the windows at different times of day? Are you overlooked? All these factors will determine which options are best for you which a shutter specialist will be able to advise you about at an appointment. The rest, like colour and finish is down to preference.

Push rods for example – some people like them, some don’t. I really don’t. I found only a few companies have the hidden rod option, Shutterly Fabulous being one of them. I love the clean lines. Also, I’ve noticed even with push rods, guests tend to use the slats anyway – so better to have them reinforced with the concealed mechanism in my opinion.

Regarding colour, we played it safe and went for Bright white but there are so many stunning colour options available now. As shutters are an investment, I’d make sure you’re certain on colour before committing to a stronger shade… just in case you go off it. I wouldn’t advise ever trying to paint your shutters!

How do shutters compare to other window dressing you have in your home?

As I mentioned earlier, I have a real aversion to curtains, so you won’t find them anywhere in my house! Aside from the shutters, we have Velux blinds in our cinema room – they’re actually pretty good but as with the shutters, it’s the made to measure element that makes them work so well.

Elsewhere in the bedrooms and office, we have cut-to-fit roller blinds. They’re cheap and cheerful and do the job, but they’re not the best. Thankfully as they’re all at the back of the house no one can judge us!

Go on, give us a hint, do you have any other home projects on the horizon?

Always! We’ve not long since completed the loft conversion so we’re now on a mission to refresh the rest of the house. Next week we’ll start redecorating the hallway and living room – both areas moving away from grey.

I’m also completely transforming Molly’s old room into my home office. The walls will be painted in a combination of neutral lime paint shades to create a beautiful ombre effect.  I’ve sourced a gorgeous mid-century desk which is due to arrive towards the end of the month. Of course, I’ll be sharing progress over on Instagram where you can see the plans all come together. I’m just so excited at the prospect of no longer working at the dining table!

And finally, what’s the best piece of interior advice you’ve ever been given?

I didn’t have to think about this for long – all the best bits of advice have all come from Joa Studholme, Colour Consultant at Farrow & Ball. I went to one of her talks a few years ago and soaked up all her advice like a sponge. I’ve applied so much of it in my own house, from darker trims with lighter walls, to painting rooms all in one colour. I condensed it all into a post on my blog and always refer back to it when I’m decorating.

I’m also loving the Great Indoors Podcast with Kate Watson-Smyth and Sophie Robinson – plenty of great advice from two ends of the décor-loving spectrum!

 

Thank you for allowing us to interview you today Jasmin! Take a look at Jasmin’s blog Brick Dust Baby for more interior inspiration, or follow her on Instagram @brickdustbaby.


Are you looking to fit shutters to your home in Hove, East Sussex or elsewhere in the UK? Book a free appointment with your local shutter specialist today. See a map of locations we cover.

How to create the perfect reading nook in your home

Do you like to read? More to the point, do you get the time, peace and quiet to read undisturbed? If you’re answering yes to the first of those questions but struggling to come up with memories of a few silent moments alone then perhaps you should create a space that will bring that dream to life. With our reading nook ideas, you can cast the perfect light on your perfect literary paradise in a bay window.

 

Create the perfect reading nook in your home

Whether it’s on a screen or with a good old-fashioned paperback in your hand, reading is one of life’s great pleasures. With time and solitude at such a premium, a space you can call your own is worth its weight in gold.

In the UK small properties are becoming more and more common, so, rather than turning a whole room over to your book habit, try dedicating a corner to your page-turners.

If you’re blessed with a bay window – something well-lit and with a nice view if you’re lucky – then you’re already well on the way to setting up your own reading nook as this can be the perfect place to set up your reading nook corner.

Reading Nook Shutters

Getting the basics of a reading nook right

Once you’ve identified which window you’d like to make your reading window, you should spend a bit of time planning what you want to get into your nook.

Can you convert the window sills into a seat, or would you just like to take advantage of the natural light to place another seat there? Then there are lots of options under an extended sill – a cupboard or shelves for your books, tea pot, and other reading essentials.

You won’t be reading for long without good lighting – and good light insulation. Natural light is wonderful, but no-one wants to be squinting, so managing daylight through adjustable shutters are a great option. When it’s dark you’ll want a good quality reading light so you can finish that chapter before bed without straining your eyes.

Finding a comfortable seat

Your nook needs to be comfortable above all else, and that means great seating. This might mean making a window seat – that is converting your windowsills into seating – or it might mean buying something that sits well in the space that you have. Working with what you’ve got is almost always cheaper and simpler than building something new. If you have wide windowsills then use them as the base for soft cushions or as a back for a lower bench-style seat.

A bay window is also a great space to position a sofa into. Keep it low to make the most of the available light, and if you’re feeling really decadent take a look at antique couches or chaise longues – junk shops, upcycling or even skip-crawling can make this a budget option. Alternatively, sit a chair in the compass of the window. Remember that you want to separate this space and make it something special, so keeping your chair close to the window helps create that special environment.

A home for your books

You’re making this space to enjoy books, so why not make it a shrine to books? They can look great, help to signal the purpose of your special space, and there’s no more convenient place to keep them. If you’re going for a reading nook with extended sills, then you can use the space underneath either as cupboard or shelved storage. If you want cupboards to reduce the clutter then you can either hinge the seat or build doors into the room-facing side of your construction. A window seat built across a bay window gets its strength from a good quality timber frame, so the choice between shelves or cupboards shouldn’t be a matter of structural integrity. A good-quality wooden frame built with strong cross pieces at the top and bottom will give you the choice of closing off the front with cupboard doors or using open-faced shelf storage, the perfect home for your books.

Creating a reading nook in your home

Optimise for natural light

Natural light is the healthiest, most relaxing way to read, and it’s traditionally why a window seat was so prized by readers. So make the most of this precious natural resource in your library corner. Our shutters are easy to clean and maintain and offer the best control of lighting conditions you can find. A good, solid physical barrier also helps keep noise out and helps you feel warm and secure when the sun does go down, and shutters have been known to improve heat insulation.

When the night falls you will need artificial light, and here you should follow the latest scientific advice to keep your eyes healthy. Don’t feel you need to spend hundreds of pounds on a specialist “reader’s light” though – not that they aren’t lovely if you have the budget – as a lot of the work is done by your choice of bulb. Bulb colour will help you set the mood. Reds for a warmer, more intimate feel; bluer shades are brighter and cooler. Daylight bulbs are a favourite of some readers. Light is measured in lumens and you need between 250 to 500 lumens per square metre for comfortable reading. (If you’re going to use your reading nook for fiddly crafting too – sewing or drawing – then you need up to 2,000 lumens per square metre.) Indirect lighting – from a source somewhere behind you – is probably more comfortable. However, this is not an exact science, so a bit of trial and error and trips around lighting stores is probably in order. If you have an eye on your bills then cexplore LED lighting, which is easily the most energy efficient currently on the market. The good news for your pocket is that keeping the rest of your room dark will help your eyes in a bright reading nook.

Get your colours right and restful

Drapes, wall shades and shutter colours all impact how the atmosphere of your space and the light that will be bounced around your reading nook so keep this in mind as you decorate and accessorize your reading corner. The most important thing is that you keep your space light and bright enough for you to read without over-stretching your eyes and comfortable so that you support your posture. A bay window reading nook is relatively easy to put together. If you’re not up to the job yourself, it’s something that shouldn’t break the bank to order from a good local tradesman. But it’s the personal touches that make it special, from window dressings to favourite cushions, and even if you can’t manage Victoria Woolf’s famous “a room of one’s own” you should be able to command a corner you can call home.

There’s no window Shutterly can’t make look fabulous, so get in touch if you’d like to discuss getting shutters for a reading nook, living room or any other areas of your home. 

5 tips for styling your home this Christmas

With Emma Martin, Interior Stylist & Blogger at Amble & Ash

If there’s one interior influencer who knows how to make her home a truly magical space for her and her family at Christmas, it’s Emma Martin. Emma writes the interior blog Amble & Ash, a blog that documents the interiors and family life of her self-build home in Ireland. We’re delighted to invite Emma to the Shutterly Fabulous blog today sharing tips on how to style your home for the festive season and more. Having built her home from the foundations up, there’s a lot to learn from Emma’s experience and her rule of ‘three S’s’ – space, storage and simplicity.

 

 

Tell us about yourself and why you started your blog.

My name is Emma.  I’m a mum of three and an interiors stylist and blogger.  I started my blog six years ago, just after we moved into our new self-build home.  My husband is an architect and we designed and built our home in the Irish countryside over the course of a year.  My blog and Instagram evolved as a way of sharing the process but has branched into other areas more recently.  Now I cover travel, lifestyle and countryside living, as well as interiors projects too.

 

Pic credits: Amble & Ash

Your home is a lovely blend of minimalism, rustic and really homely.  Do you spend a long time considering how to style each room or do they tend to come together quite naturally?

I think our home has really just evolved gradually over a period of time.  When we were first designing it the whole ‘shabby chic’ trend was a huge thing, and so I was definitely influenced by that.  We had lots of florals and pastel shades.  As time has gone on, I’ve pared everything back a lot.  We still have the soft, muted tones, but it’s a lot less twee now.  With the advance of social media and the wealth of inspiration at our fingertips, it can be so easy to jump on new trends and lose your own style in the midst of it. It’s a daily battle for me to resist painting everything dark charcoal grey!  Ultimately though, there’s quite a classic, countryside vibe in our home and I always want to work with and preserve that.  A neutral palette suits our fixtures best, and so I always try to embrace that.

What are your top tips for designing a home that is both aesthetically beautiful and practical for family life?

I always talk about the three S’s – space, storage and simplicity.  If you are designing from scratch, think first about how you use your home.  What layout suits best for you?  Is open plan the best use of space, or are you just too untidy for it to work?  In our home we opted for a big, open plan kitchen/ sitting room at the back of the house, but also incorporated separate office and playroom spaces at the front where we could close the doors and restrict the devastation associated with children. Ha!  It has been really successful for us as a family, and we’d definitely plan a similar layout if we build again in the future.

I think the key to any family home is as much storage as possible.  Wherever you can squeeze it, do!  We incorporated floor to ceiling cupboards along one wall of our playroom and added doors so that all the mess can be hidden away.  They may not be too tidy inside, but no one would ever know!  Likewise, storage boxes under beds, baskets on shelves and ottomans with hidden space inside are all great ways of minimising clutter.

Lastly, keep it simple. I’ve chosen quite a minimalistic backdrop in most areas of our home and it means that when all the clutter that comes with family life is added, it doesn’t feel too overwhelming.  Soft shades, simple artwork and natural textures all work well to keep the space airy and relatively calm, even when you add in toys, artistic creations and three energetic children.


 

Read about the benefits of shutters and why they’re the perfect window dressing for Winter

 


Tell us your top five tips for styling your home for Christmas

  • Bring the outside in

Especially in the Winter months, I love to fill our home with green plants and all the textures and scents of the surrounding countryside.  I use lots of trailing ivy, fresh eucalyptus and holly, and place them in tin containers for a more rustic feel.

  • Embrace a natural Christmas

Rather than full-on glam and glitter, I opt for decorating in a way that could carry through the whole Winter season.  A branch above our dining table, decorated with an ivy garland, fairy lights and glass baubles, and our mantlepiece decked with little Nordic houses with candles inside. It’s a subtle nod to the season, but one which we can live with from November to February too.  It really brightens up the dreary January days!

  • Work with what you have

Our colour palette is very neutral, and so we decorate with soft silver and gold, green and lots of glass.  It’s really pretty when it all comes together. We’ve also been gathering special decorations since we had our very first home together. It’s so nostalgic to pull them out and hang them up each year, and each one has a special memory associated.

  • Go alternative in small spaces

When space is limited, think about different ways to display decorations.  Wall mounted trees are brilliant for adding festive cheer without encroaching on living space.  We have a gorgeous twig and rope one which fits perfectly in our scheme.

  • Enjoy it!

Christmas only comes once a year and it’s fun to do something a bit different with your décor too.  It’s only for a few weeks and can be packed away come January if you are fed up with it.  It’s the perfect time to try something new!

What does Christmas look like in your home? Do you stick to one colour scheme or do you incorporate lots of colour?

We definitely use lots of metallics, but less of the traditional reds and greens that you might expect. I always think about reflecting the landscape we live in, particularly as we have so much glass in our home.  That said, the kids do have free reign in their own bedrooms and they are big fans of colour!

What are your top Christmas styling tips for those who don’t want too much fuss and prefer an understated look?

Perhaps just focus on one key area of your home to decorate. A living room or hallway, for example.  You can go all out in that room, but equally, escape to normality if the clutter is driving you crazy by mid-December!  Also, keep things quite neutral in terms of colour.  A miniature spruce tree in a wicker basket or pot can look beautiful just strung with simple lights – set it on a table or windowsill for a scandi, minimal vibe.  Equally, white paper stars hung at different levels in a window can provide a bit of welcoming festive cheer without flashing lights and glitter everywhere!

How do you get your children involved in decorating your home for Christmas?

We have a big decorating day each year and we put on Christmas tunes, light all our festive candles, bake something with cinnamon in and get stuck in. It’s one of my favourite days of the whole year, and one we all look forward to. When the kids were younger (and the decorations mostly ended up on the bottom three branches of the tree!) I would have moved things around a little after they went to bed.  Now they’re all well skilled in the process, and I’m becoming pretty redundant!  It’s so much fun to experience it all with them.

Do you have any unique Christmas table styling tips?

I use a roll of hessian for my table runner each year.  It’s really inexpensive to buy and protects the table from hot dishes.  It’s not too much of a disaster if something is spilled on it either, and I can just roll out another piece.  I use all my existing crockery and add napkins with little silver stars, as well as lots of candles of different heights, interspersed with offcuts from our Christmas tree.

Finally, when do you start making your house festive? Do you wait until December or do you get started earlier?

I was always very strictly a first of December decorator, but in the last few years, my job has dictated that we start a little sooner than that.  My husband is always a bit bemused by it, but I’m definitely not mad that we are introducing bits and pieces from early November. I joke that it’s ‘Winter’, not ‘Christmas’ décor, but I’m not sure he’s entirely on board with my vision!  We always buy a real Christmas tree for our main living space, and usually, try to leave that until early December so that it’s still fresh.  We have a big party at our home every Christmas Eve and no one wants a bare tree before the big day has even arrived!

 

Ready to make your home shutterly fabulous? Shutters are the perfect gift for your home this Christmas. Book an appointment today ››

Declutter your life and simplify.

 

De-clutter your Life

 

With the New Year well under way many people in the country bring resolutions into their life to try and improve on the previous year. Here at Shutterly Fabulous, one of ours is to simplify and de-clutter our lives. While this is great for making your life more streamlined and easier to deal with, the same can be said with rooms and designs. By leaving your rooms minimal and clear you not only improve your thoughts and mind, but also save time on cleaning! One of the benefits of shutters is the ability to clean them with a quick wipe off, rather than storing dust like material curtains. This means you will be spending less time cleaning and more time doing the things that matter to you.

As one of our favourite poems so eloquently puts it: “Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better to paint a picture or write a letter, bake a cake or plant a seed, ponder the difference between want and need?”

How to style a minimal home: Q&A with Lou, Little Green Shed

A great lover of incorporating natural materials and all things Scandi into the home, Lou Archell has been writing her blog Littlegreenshed for eight years. During this time, she has gained an impressive, loyal following who are regularly treated to inspirational imagery and advice on creating an affordable pared-back scheme that still looks beautiful and feels lived-in. It’s fair to say that Lou’s home is one to lust over and this is why we were very excited to be able to chat to her and hear her top tips on creating a beautiful, family-friendly home.

 

Tell us about yourself, your writing career and what inspired you to start a blog

Hi, there!  Yes, I’m Lou Archell, I live in Bristol, UK with my partner Dan and our two sons, Charlie & Rufus – oh and I also write a blog called Littlegreenshed. I started blogging back in 2010, as creative outlet whilst I was a stay at home mum with two small boys.  Littlegreenshed has grown over the past 8 years, from being very much an online diary to the travel and lifestyle website it is today. I am very fortunate to say that writing Littlegreenshed now provides an income to support my family, and I still get to stay at home!

 

Your blog style is minimalist, pared-back and Scandi-esque – where does your love for this style come from?

 

My style is inspired from Scandi design, minimalism and from nature. I adore homes that reflect those aspects, think natural materials, pale colours, a calming environment.  My home is very much like that.  Although I do aspire to have a completely minimal space (with wonderful storage & zero clutter) but with two tweenage boys and their growing amount of stuff, this isn’t always easy to achieve.  My blog is a place of calm away from all that home life… a place to write about beautiful interiors, travel destinations and my aspirations and dreams.

 

 

 

Your home features lots of muted hues, natural materials and greenery. What are some easy ways for homeowners to create a similar look?

 

A few years ago, I decided that I would have a similar colour scheme to run throughout the house. No loud colours anywhere. I become slightly obsessed with only buying homewares, electrical goods etc in white or neutral colours.  For example, I have a white tv, and grey digital radio.  My crockery is white, grey or blue, same for furniture and soft furnishings.  In my home you will not see red, orange (except the kid’s rooms), purple or pink.  Just whites, greys, blues and beiges.

 

I lead such a busy life, and I work from home, so I wanted to create an interior that made me feel calm. It is quite easy to achieve, you just need to stick to a neutral palette. We have painted all the walls in a soft off white (I’ve used Farrow & Ball All White), which is soft and gives a gentleness to the space.

 

Nothing in my home is expensive. It is full of items that I have collected from car boots, flea markets or Dan has made.  I’ve upcycled pieces of furniture by painting them.  Just use what you have, paint things, and add plants 🙂

 

Such great tips! We are curious, having 2 small boys running around, how do you keep your home both beautiful and family-practical? Tell us your tips!

 

  1. Boundaries Just because you have a family shouldn’t mean you need to compromise on what you like.  Our home is very much ‘used’.  Do what you love, set a few boundaries like no eating on the sofa and all coats and bags must be put away immediately – and you should be fine!
  2. Storage Our house is very small, so storage is a must. We have two IKEA kitchen wall units in our lounge that we use to hide the kid’s computer games, an important thing.  And an old chest of drawers in the dining room, which I painted black, houses our growing pile of shoes.  Think outside the box when it comes to storage and use what you have.
  3. Go with it Be prepared to go with the mess. If things get messy, that’s life. We have scuffed paint and chipped furniture like everyone else.  We probably redecorate a room once a year, it’s like the Forth Bridge, we go around in circles!

 

What sort of window dressing do you have in your home? And does it contribute to day to day life?

 

We actually have shutters in all our rooms. I mentioned earlier that our house is a small Victorian terrace, and all our rooms are tiny. So, to me the idea of curtains seems to make our small rooms even smaller, more cluttered and messier.  I love how shutters make our rooms feel bigger. Minimal, with clean lines. They also block out the light and give us privacy too. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to curtains now.

 

Do you have any big home projects on the horizon? If so, what are they and do you get your family involved with the decorating/decisions?

 

We are always planning new projects. Next is the bathroom. We put our current bathroom in 13 years ago, when we first moved in, and it’s now looking very tired.  I dream of marble tiles and black taps, we shall see if our budget can reach that far! As for the family, I show them pictures on Pinterest and they give me a thumbs up or down. And that’s about it.

 

Finally, what’s the best piece of interior advice you’ve ever been given?

Buy everything in white!  Seriously it works.

 

Loving Lou’s style? Lots of the homes we measure and install shutters to opt for white shutters which can bring that sought-after minimal, scandi design. Take a look at Our Shutter Colours for inspiration – we offer custom colour matching too!

Going bold: Q&A with Jess, Gold Is A Neutral

Influential interiors writer, blogger and self-confessed gold addict, Jess Hurrell, started her blog, Gold is a Neutral, to document her home revamp project and express her passion for all-things home interiors. After having followed the renovation updates of her lust-worthy South London home, which is filled with her beautiful, luxe chic style, we were ecstatic to get the chance to chat to Jess about her love for interiors and hear why she loves shutters as much as we do!

 

About me…

 

I’m Jess, a former showbiz journalist (for my sins), now Interiors writer, content creator, stylist, blogger and home do-er up-per. I’m married to David and have two children Rafferty 6, and Nellie, 2. We moved into our house almost three years to the day and have been slowly but surely renovating room by room ever since.

 

Tell us about your experience in interiors and writing career

 

I have over ten years experience writing for national newspapers, magazines and websites including Grazia, Hello, ASOS and The Sun but I left all that behind for good after having my daughter. I was well and truly over the showbiz life by then and much more interested in paint charts and fabric swatches. It sounds like a cliché, but I have always been very into interiors and houses and I saw an opportunity to combine my two skills. I launched my blog Gold Is A Neutral just over a year ago and have never looked back. It’s my dream job. I treat the blog like a magazine and try to fill it with engaging content across interiors and lifestyle. It covers everything from my own home renovations, to House Envy tours of other people’s houses, to interviews with people I admire, and trend and styling advice. I would like people to see it as fun, inspirational and inclusive. I think people are more into styling their homes than ever and I love the social aspect that comes with blogging and Instagram. It’s lovely to help someone have the confidence to find their interiors style and be braver in their own home.

 

 

We’d love to know more about you living room transformation! Why did you decide to do it and how did you settle on such a bold colour scheme?  

 

We tackled the living room early on in the renovations, but I’m still totally smitten with it. The whole house was painted Brilliant White when we bought it and far from finding it light and airy I actually found it very uninspiring and oppressive. I knew I wanted to go dark in rebellion against all that white, but it took me ages to find the perfect inky blue. It’s Little Greene’s Basalt and if I had a pound for every time someone had asked me about the colour I’d be a happy lady. The dark blue makes the space look bigger and doesn’t feel dark because there are oodles of natural light flowing in from both sides. At night it reads almost black and it’s super cosy. I added mid-century details like the pair of brass sputnik chandeliers for impact and a blue velvet sofa and vintage Beni Ourain rug for softness and texture. Oh, and not forgetting my gold Jonathan Adler Drip wallpaper which is pure over the top snazziness.

We are just as smitten with that lamp as you are. On the topic of accessories, what made you choose shutters for the space?

 

Deciding on shutters for the living room was a bit of a watershed moment. The problem with our house is that it is a townhouse and therefore it isn’t set very far back from the pavement. But there is also a massive sash window, which is lovely, but it also means you can feel a bit exposed and open to people walking past and having a nosy. I felt like I was in a shop window when I was sitting in my living room. The previous owner had installed roller blinds which rolled from the bottom up. Very functional but horrible to look at. Curtains didn’t work because I didn’t want them closed during the day obviously. Nets…just NO. Shutters were the perfect solution because they give more control over your privacy.

 

How did you come to choose this specific style of shutters and what do you think the main benefits of having shutters are for you and your family?

 

I went for tier-on tier plantation shutters. They are perfect because of their versatility. During the day I have the top tier swung all the way open and the bottom tier closed but with the slats open to let the light flow in, but it also prevents people looking directly in. In the evening we close the top tiers and the slats for more privacy. It’s the best solution all round and they look gorgeous too.

Would you consider installing shutters anywhere else in the home?

 

Now we have been in the house a few years there are other areas I think shutters would work. I like the softness of the curtains in our master bedroom, however it would be useful to have café style shutters on the lower part of the window for privacy. The houses on the other side of our street are flats and so their living rooms are on the first floor right opposite our bedroom. Shutters would come in handy when I’m getting changed in the morning so that I wouldn’t have to keep closing the curtains every time for fear of flashing them while they’re watching BBC Breakfast!

You’re big into dark, bold colours – what are your top three tips for going bold without making a room look tiny and oppressive?

 

I’m into all colours…even white if it’s done right! I’ve gone very dark in two rooms in our house (the living room and the bathroom) and both look SO much bigger than they did before. It’s a myth that dark colours always make a room feel oppressive, but lighting is key…both natural and electrical. In the living room there is a lot of natural light. We balanced the blue out with a white ceiling because I wanted a more elegant, classic look and I didn’t want it to feel den-like. However, the bathroom has very little natural light and I painted the ceilings out black as well because I wanted it to feel sexy and dramatic. The black sets off the marble and brass accents perfectly. A light ceiling would have been very distracting in there.

So,

  1. Consider lighting. How you choose to light a dark room can have a major impact on its overall feel
  2. Choose a colour with lots of depth and a very slight sheen to reflect the light. A flat matt paint will soak up all the light.
  3. Pair with metallic… again it helps to bounce light around and adds instant glamour. But don’t go overboard!

 

What are your top tips for deciding between shutters and curtains?

 

Think about your needs. If privacy is a priority, then curtains may not be the best option for you because you don’t want to have to close curtains during the day.  The beauty of shutters is that they work equally well in a minimal Scandi inspired room with clean lines, as they do in a more traditional room set. It’s all about getting the right style to suit you.

 

Loving Jess’ style? You can hear more from Jess over on our Instagram where she’s taking over the Shutterly Fabulous account for one day only. Tune in for interior chats and THAT pink sofa… www.instagram.com/shutterlyfabulous

Our guide to Brighton’s best interior shops

Whether you’re wandering down the bustling Lanes, or exploring further afield in genteel Hove, we’ve picked out our favourites for this must-visit guide to Brighton’s best home stores.

Brighton is great for independent shops and vintage finds, and whether it’s your home or you’re just there for a day trip there is a world of delightful interiors shops and boutiques to explore. Whether you’re wandering down the bustling Lanes, or exploring further afield in genteel Hove, we’ve picked out our favourites for this must-visit guide to Brighton’s best home stores.

Best for inspiration

The atmosphere and unique style of i gigi General Store makes it a wonderful place to visit for inspiration. Founders Alex Legendre & Zoe Ellison are masters of texture and display, perfecting a muted colour palette of simple ceramics, vintage furniture and quirky details. With both the shop and a café, there’s plenty to see in their Hove store, where little displays of one-off finds will give you plenty of food for thought.

i gigi General Store & Café, 31A Western Road, Hove BN3 1AF

 

Best for vintage

While the whole of Brighton is something of a Mecca for vintage homeware fans, we love Design Vintage owned by Lisa Brass. Her passion for interiors – and design background – is clear in the inventive mix of contemporary brands and cleverly-sourced vintage you’ll find in store. From leather club chairs to grand old kitchen cupboards, this is where to source the vintage essentials with confidence.

Design Vintage, 84 Lowther Road, Brighton BN1 6LH

 

Best for cutting-edge

Love to be first in line with the latest trends and products? Edited is Brighton’s perfect place to discover the latest hot interiors ideas and brands for the home, all carefully curated and intelligently – yes – edited. From super-hip Danish brand HAY to textiles by Mini Moderns, the emphasis is on fun, colour and innovation for a thoroughly contemporary home.

Edited, 3 Gardner Street, Brighton, BN1 1UP

 

Best for vintage Americana

Looking for mid-century collectables sourced directly from the United States? Then online Brighton based Dusted Decor is your answer. There’s an array of advertising signs, bottles, tins and all things American.

Dusted Decor Etsy

 

Best for French style

If you love the romantic French style of carved beds and gilt-edged mirrors then Three Angels is a must-visit. You’ll find zinc Bistro chairs, grand armoires and pretty vintage light fittings, perfect for creating the shabby-elegant French look, as well as a café and in-house florist. We challenge you to leave empty handed!

Three Angels Interiors, 5 Hove Street, Hove, BN3 2TR

 

Best for… shutters

Yes, as our home town, we love the Brighton shopping scene and are proud to be a part of it. Come and see us at our dedicated showroom in Hove where you can look at our large range in person and get expert advice from our team.

Shutterly Fabulous, Quayside House, Basin Road South, Hove BN41 1WF

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