Venetian window shades were once all the rage. They were an inexpensive and practical way of providing privacy with style. Then, like many useful products, they went out of fashion.
Fortunately for us, with modern manufacturing materials and methods, they are now available in many attractive colors and styles. So now, not only are they a practical way of giving privacy, they can also enhance the look of your window.
There are many manufacturers who supply these types of shades. The less expensive ones have relatively simple mechanisms to raise and lower the slats, and to tilt them.
More expensive ones are usually better constructed, are easier to use, and will last longer. You may find you also get a better choice of wood or metal finish.
(Note that in some countries these are known as Venetian blinds. We don't want to get into an argument as to which is correct, shade or blind. As long as we all know what we're referring to...)
Traditional and modern
Horizontal shades (or Venetian as they are sometimes called) when made of wood and well spaced slats can give a very traditional look to a room. When made of metal with a metallic finish and a thin slat (say 16mm) you get a modern look, very suitable for bathrooms and kitchens.
Wood venetian window shades
Wood shades are probably the most suitable types to use if you're using shades on their own with no fabrics on your windows. They provide a very pleasing effect, and the wood finish doesn't give a stark or hard effect in larger windows which other types of venetian shade are prone to do.
Some suppliers offer different paint finishes to their slats. You can select from a color card (often from a well-known manufacturer) and have your shades blend nicely with your home decor.
For more information see this page on wooden window shades.
Metal venetian window shades
Modern metal shades have revitalized this type of shade in recent years. The finishes available - colors, metal effects such as chrome, silver, gold, and perforated slats - result in a huge choice of shade suitable for most applications.
Best left down
Most horizontal shades allow you to raise the slats, but you'll find they still cover a large section of the window. Be aware of this if you plan to fit your shade inside a recess.