by Giorgina Devereaux
Decorative shutters are a beautiful, timeless, and functional design element that can be incorporated into the interior of a home. They are chosen by many homeowners as an attractive alternative to curtains, drapes, cellular shades, and blinds.
Shutters are available in a
variety of materials, styles, sizes, colors, and stains sure to suit your
You can choose from Plantation or Traditional style shutters (also known as
With Plantation shutters, the look is more pronounced and robust, with the shutters being 1 1/8 inches thick and the louver size typically ranging from 1 ⅞ inches to 5 ½ inches, along with a panel width anywhere from 18 to 30 inches. Since Plantation shutters have much wider louvers, when open, it provides flexible light control and allows a largely unobstructed view from both the inside and outside.
On the other hand, Traditional style shutters have narrower and more closely
spaced louvers that still allow light through, but provide less of a view of the
Shutters may be used throughout the entire home or as an accent for a
specific window. Before settling on a style and finish, care should be taken to
ensure that it will work well in the space.
Characteristics of Decorative Shutters
Decorative shutters are available in the following styles:
Plantation shutters are more contemporary in design than Traditional
These decorative shutters offer effective insulation, have the ability to regulate and block light, and look remarkably lovely. Plantation shutters afford a homeowner complete privacy and an almost dark room. The louvers can be rotated partially open to block direct sunlight while allowing sufficient light to brighten the room. This is a fabulous way to protect furniture and carpet from fading over time. When fully open, the louvers provide maximum light and great visibility.
Individual plantation shutter panels usually span between 8 and 30 inches.
The panels are connected to make units fit the window and the number of panels
used depends on the width of the window. As a general rule of thumb, consider
dividing the shutter unit the same way your window is divided. For instance, if
the window opening is divided into three equal vertical sections consider using
three plantation shutters across.
You may configure Plantation shutters as a cafe style or double tier unit. A cafe style shutter covers only the bottom half of the window. Double tier shutters are manufactured in two levels allowing the upper half and lower half to be opened and closed separately.
For a more traditional look, consider wood. However, if you are interested in keeping costs down, consider faux wood. Not only do faux wood shutters look fantastic, but they are highly resistant to moisture and damage.
Plantation Shutters are available in the following louver sizes:
To give your home an instant
facelift, traditional shutters are an excellent option.
Traditional shutters are a fantastic window treatment for preventing light and heat from intruding and are generally ¾ inches thick. Although some traditional shutters have flat louvers, most are wedge shaped with a vain or ridge in the center. The slats are generally spaced on one inch centers.
An important characteristic of
Traditional wood shutters is how sturdy and durable they are. They do not break
easily and will continue to look great for years to come. Usually constructed
from wood, these shutters can be manufactured in a number of panel
configurations depending on the width and height of the window opening.
For a quaint and cozy cottage look, consider cafe style shutters. Double tier shutters are perfect for covering both the top and bottom of the window. This allows you to open the top shutters to permit light in while keeping the bottom panels closed for privacy. The louvers are tensioned to stay in the desired position and do not require adjustment or maintenance.
Traditional Shutters are available in the following louver sizes:
Panel Configurations for Decorative Shutters
The following panel configurations are available for decorative shutters:
Bi-fold shutters (or accordion shutters) consist of a four-panel shutter unit
with two panels opening to the left and two panels opening to the right.
Traditionally, in a four-panel bi-fold shutter unit, two shutter panels hinge together and hinge to the left and open to the left. These panels fold together and rest against the wall on the left side. The other two shutter panels hinge together and hinge to the right and open to the right. These panels fold together and should rest against the wall on the right side.
Bypass Sliding Shutters
Bypass sliding shutters are the perfect solution for sliding patio doors and
in areas that you don’t want interference with existing carpet or tile.
Cafe Style Shutters
Cafe style shutters are designed to cover the lower half of the window while
leaving the upper portion open.
Cafe style shutters are still an attractive choice for many homeowners.
Often, cafe shutters are applied to double-hung windows that have a
horizontal division within the window.
You may wish to add a valance to windows that have a cafe shutter to further enhance the overall look.
Double Tier Shutters
With the double tier design, you have the option of doing the following:
Each tier also has its own tilt bars, which allows the louvers of each section to be set at different angles, if desired.
Materials that Decorative Shutters are Constructed From
Decorative shutters are available in:
Wood Shutters offer beauty, architectural appeal, light control, energy
efficiency, and sound insulation.
Wood shutters are made from the
highest grade of hardwood available and are crafted with fine details like
furniture-quality dowel joints, bass woods perfectly kiln dried to prevent
warping and cracking, and hinges that are recessed for better closure.
Faux Wood Shutters
Faux wood shutters are made from a composite wood and vinyl mix.
The great thing about faux wood shutters is that they are nearly
indistinguishable from real wood and offer a great look with scratch-resistant
Faux Shutters (100% Vinyl)
Vinyl shutters are excellent for humid conditions and are sturdy. These shutters are light and perfect for the budget minded consumer. They're up to 40% less expensive than custom-sized wood shutters.
Since they're not made of wood, they are highly resistant to moisture and damage. Caring for these shutters is as simple as using a damp cloth or sponge without the fear of harming the finish.
Difference between Painted Shutters and Stained Shutters
Painted shutters are one, solid, uniform
color. Some painted colors include white, off-white, cream, and darker earth
With stained shutters, the natural grain shows
through the finish.
You can choose from painted or stained shutters. However, most people prefer painted shutters because it is easier to match with the surrounding décor. Staining is generally the preferred choice with wood shutters since it enhances the grain of the wood.
Decorative shutters are available in the following paint and stain choices:
The following hinge color options are available for Decorative Shutters:
Additional Information about Decorative Shutters
Shutters are manufactured in 1, 2, or 4 panels that are hinged together. The
number of panels needed depends on the window width.
Indoor shutters are comprised of a top and bottom rail, side stiles, louvers,
and a tilt bar.
An essential part of a shutter is the louver, which is indispensable since it enables you to control the amount of light and can be opened and closed, as needed.
With decorative shutters, you can do an inside or outside mount. Most of the time, inside mounting is preferred where the shutters are attached directly to the window jamb with the help of butt hinges. An inside mount has a cleaner, neater look.An outside mount is used if there isn’t enough depth to mount the shutter inside the opening. This type of mount is used on sliding glass doors and wood cased shallow windows.
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