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Plantation Shutters: Versatile Window Treatment

My favorite, favorite window treatment has to be the plantation shutter. Don’t get me wrong, I love other types of window treatments, too. I love the way drapes soften a room and would love to one day add gorgeous silk taffeta drapes to my dining room. But I’d still want plantation shutters underneath those drapes.

Why do I love shutters so much? Well, there are a lot of reasons, one being their versatility. Take a look at the following series of pics…

When it’s very cold outside and you want a little extra insulation or privacy, you can close ‘em all up.

Now, let’s pretend your room is facing a nosey neighbor’s home or a busy street and you would like some light, as well as your privacy when you are dining. Open just the top…or, open the top and just slightly open the lower louvers for additional light while still maintaining your privacy. (Pic below shows the top open with the bottom closed.)

 

Perhaps, you only need a little privacy or you mainly use your shutters for sun control…you could open all the louvers. Shutters are perfect for allowing a great view of the outside (especially with the wider 3 1/2 inch louver) while preventing fading and the damaging effects of sunlight on fabrics and furnishings.

 

What about if it’s a beautiful sunny day and you really want to just enjoy the view? Throw those babies open and let the sun shine in! This is my favorite way to keep my shutters all spring, summer and fall. I usually just close mine at night during the winter to help further insulate the windows.

 

I bought shutters for my windows a few years after I moved in. Later, I found out they are the one window treatment you can finance into the mortgage when you purchase a home. That’s because they remain with the home when you move and are popular with almost all buyers. Plus, they increase the value of any home in which they are installed.

When interest rates dropped many years ago, I refinanced my home to an even lower rate. When the appraiser came to my home, he told me he could include my existing shutters in his appraisal. I think that says a lot about the value shutters bring to a home. Along with hardwood floors, they are one of the most sought after features when home buyers are shopping for a home. That’s why you will almost always see them mentioned in real estate ads when a home has them.

They never go out of style or fade like draperies…and they coordinate with any future decorating changes made in a room because they are normally painted to match the woodwork. They are about double the cost of wood blinds, but drastically less than custom draperies. Draperies rarely increase the value of a home and are not included in the appraisal of a home because draperies left behind by a previous home owner do not usually coordinate with the new home owner’s furnishings or taste.

When it comes to shopping for plantation shutters, do not compromise and buy the least expensive available…you could end up with sap bleed or louvers that won’t stay closed. The features you should look for are: quality wood (Basswood or Poplar, never pine), mortised hinges, tension adjustment screws to prevent loose louvers, side rails that are at least 1 1/4 inches in thickness to prevent warping, and shutters that are custom measured, custom built and custom painted to match your trim color, not purchased from some factory and “cut down” to fit your windows.

There’s more I could tell you about plantation shutters, but since I don’t know if this is a strong interest of most folks, I’ll stop here. Hope you found this to be helpful.

POST EXTENDED TO ANSWER SOME YOUR QUESTIONS:

Shutters in one room or all the rooms…how do you decide?
Terri had a good question regarding if you put shutters in one window, should you put them in every window on that level of the home. Let me back up a tiny bit and tell you how I shuttered my home and what most folks and designers preferred to do when I worked in that field.

After I fell in love with shutters and knew that’s what I wanted in my home, I called a local shutter company and I convinced them they needed to hire me as a sales person!   I knew it would be the perfect job for me since my son was young and in elementary school.  I could work the hours that fit his school schedule.  They took me up on my offer and I LOVED what I did during the 5 years I worked for them.

Here’s the general idea on how to use plantation shutters within a home: If you use them in one window in a room, you need to use them in every window of THAT room. In other words, if a bedroom has 4 windows and you put shutters in that room, you need to shutter all four windows.

Now, on to Terri’s question…it isn’t necessary to do the entire level or floor of a home.  A popular choice by many homeowners is to use plantation shutters on all the windows on the front of a home to give the home a nice uniform look for curb appeal.  If that’s not in the budget, another option is to combine shutters and wood blinds.  Some folks go with shutters in the rooms where they will entertain (dining, formal living area, family room, kitchen) and use wood blinds in the bedrooms.

OR, some folks just want plantation shutters in the more formal areas, like the dining room and formal living room. Then, to save a little, they will use wood blinds in the more casual areas like the family room, kitchen and bedrooms.

Think about what “look” you want in each room of your home and how you need the treatments to function. I would not have liked wood blinds in my breakfast area because I really wanted the ability to close the lower louvers for privacy while having the top open.  Shutters function so well in a breakfast room.

Think twice about doing “half” shutters…where you shutter only the lower half of a window. That tends to be a popular choice for breakfast rooms and folks almost always regret that decision later when they realize they are not getting enough sun control.

If you don’t want to do all plantation shutters on the front of a home, I do recommend wood blinds for the other windows on the front.  It just really gives a nice look for the front of a home, lots of curb appeal.  A popular combo is 2 1/2 inch louvered shutters in the areas where you want shutters and 2 inch wood blinds in the other areas of the home. That look will even work well on the front of a home due to the similarity in louver size.

Louver size:

They also make shutters in 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 inch louver size. But now we are getting into another whole question…which size is best? I’ll spare you all that unless that is something someone wants to know.

Shutter all the windows at once or in stages:

When I shuttered my own home, I wanted them in every window. I had plans to go back and add a little fabric in just the rooms where I wanted that softer look…primarily bedrooms. Since shutters can be a bit expensive, I shuttered the whole front of my house first…that was Phase 1. About a year later, I did all the rest of the windows.

When I worked in that field, it was not uncommon for a designer to bring me into a home to shutter the entire house. Often those folks financed the entire purchase into their home, as I mentioned above. To shutter an entire home, if it was a huge home, could run around $9-$11,000 depending if the terrace level was shuttered, too. I often measured windows (openings) in homes under construction when there was nothing but studs and wiring. I would measure, take a deposit and get the order into the plant. That got the order “in line” which was good because there was normally an 8-10 week waiting period. Then, as soon as the windows and trim were in, I’d return to the home to take final measurements which would be submitted to the plant. Often a customer could move in one day and have their custom shutters installed that week.

What about windows with the tilt feature?

Pat, to answer your question about tilt windows. You can have them installed with tilt windows…we used to do shutters all the the time on those type windows, They just need to be installed to allow for that function.

When I first started working for the shutter company, tilt windows didn’t exist and we did a lot of inside measuring for inside mounts. Occasionally, if the homeowner didn’t like the side of the hinge of the shutter showing at all, we would do a frame mount which basically involved attaching an attractive custom made frame onto their existing molding and mounting the shutters to that frame, as opposed to mounting them down inside the window.

After tilt windows came into being, we started doing more and more of the exterior mounted shutters to ensure the homeowner could keep that tilt feature. I had some homeowners tell me they never planned to clean their own windows…always hired it out, so they wanted them mounted inside the window. But, if they are mounted inside, you do lose the tilt feature. A sales person who comes to your home should show you the look of both an interior and exterior mount and can discuss what’s best for your home/needs.

If the shutters are not truly custom made:

If a company doesn’t actually make their shutters, but instead buys standard sizes from some factory or company, they will usually offer only an exterior mount or framed shutters since they aren’t being custom built. Framing will hide if the shutters are a bit too big or too small. Often they will look just fine, but a true custom shutter is built from scratch to fit each individual window in your home.

Two-toned shutters…popular in rooms with stained trim:

Shutters can even be made “two-toned” which involves painting one color on one side and another (or stain) on the other side, although the price for those is usually a good bit more. I have two-toned shutters in my family room. In my family room, the shutters are painted the same color as all the other shutters on the part of the louver that faces outside when they are tilted or closed. I wanted this so I’d have a consistent look on the outside of my home. The louvers are stained on the side that faces into the family room, to go with the stained molding in that room.

 

I could do a whole post on deciding how you want your shutters to open…from the center or bi-fold (like mine in my bay window.) We could talk about the decision to have a divider rail (like mine) or not. There are so many choices to get exactly what you want and need for your home.

Hope that answers a few questions, let me know if there are any others.  I get excited talking about plantation shutters because they are so practical and beautiful and definitely my favorite window treatment.




Comments

  1. Carol Beck says:

    I LOVE plantation shutters!!! I wanted to get them in the whole house when we moved into our new house 2 years ago but when I found out they were going to be $9000 we decided on an alternative! We got wide slatted blinds instead!!

  2. I love plantation shutters! I wanted them in the living room & dining room, but Bailey is always in the window in the living room and would be death to a shutter… bummer…

  3. From your mouth to my hubbies ears.I was just thinking about shutters today for my living room.Are you psychic?I told you we have a lot in common but now this is getting down right amazing.have a great time at the flea market tomorrow. I wish I could tag along. Hugs, kathysue

  4. Very informative and educational post. I always wondered what was so special about plantation shutters, now I know.

  5. Terri and Bob says:

    ONe question I know your readers would like to know… if you buy plantation shutters for one window of the house, do you need to buy them for all over? I heard somewhere that if you put them in one room that you should have them in every room on that floor.

  6. Dixie's Whimsey says:

    I’ve been thinking about adding plantation shutters in my country living room… now you’ve gone and put that bug back in my ear!

    have a blissful weekend… Dixie

  7. mbkatc230 says:

    Great post. I’m thinking about using them in our guest bedroom redo, this has convinced me! Kathy

  8. Mitzi Zohar says:

    Now I’m going to wander around the house wondering what room to put them in! Thank for the post.

  9. Pat@Back Porch Musings says:

    I would love to have plantation shutters. Especially in the dining room windows, but also all through our home. The problem, we have tilt windows. I have wondered if it’s possible to hang plantation shutters with these types of windows. Do you know?

    I’m tossing around a tablescape for Tuesday. If all else fails, I did one at the condo, the other day. Might have to use that one.
    Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

  10. Miss Janice says:

    Susan, plantation shutters are definitely on my “long list of stuff to buy for the new home.” I love the look and like you say, they are definitely an investment to the home! Thank you so much for this informative post…now, I’m off to try to figure out that twitter stuff!

  11. Laura Ingalls Gunn says:

    I just cannot sing the praises of plantation shutters enough. I love them too!

  12. Oooooooh, you have written about a subject dear to my heart! I have always loved the look of plantation shutters and actually had them years ago in a house I rented in Marietta, GA. The neatest bit of advice you provided us was bundling up the cost of shutters into a new mortgage – thank you so much for sharing that.

  13. I Love my plantation shutters, especially here in the South when the summers get very hot. When we bought this house and had it moved to our little farm it had the shutters already in,,, I was thrilled since the owners told us it cost them about $10,000 to have them specially made. You have such a lovely home, thanks for sharing!

  14. cedwards55 says:

    I am a huge fan of plantation shutters and wide wood blinds. All of your suggestions were spot on! I always enjoy how “educational” and “entertaining? your blog is! Guess that’s why I will give you an E FOR EXCELLECE! Have a great weekend.
    hugs~ C

  15. vintagewindow says:

    Great post. I love the clean look of plantation shutters. Thanks for all of the information, but you didn’t have to convince me. I had them in a previous house I owned and I want them again. Saving up my $$$$$

    Happy Saturday

    Kris

  16. laurie @ bargain hunting says:

    Susan, where were you when I remodeled my home. I wanted plantation shutters so badly, but our windows are all oversized and they were going to be SO expensive. If I had known I could have included them in the mortgage loan, and if I had known I could tell my husband it helps with resale, I would have had my shutters for sure! laurie

  17. I had plantation shutters on every window in my last home and absolutely loved them. They do not detract from your art and decor. I hope to upgrade and put them in this home one day soon!

  18. Cottage Lifetstyle says:

    I love plantation shutters. Unfortunately they were out of my budget when I bought my 1906 home as I had to do an addition. I put in wood blinds that I bought from home depot and they are fine…but not my dream. I am so envious. Thanks for the tip about building them into the mortgage…I didn’t realize you could do that. I plan to do so the next time I buy a home.

    Renee

  19. I just recently found your blog over the Holidays, and I have fallen in love with it. Thanks for all your lovely posts. I love looking at Tablescape Tuesdays! I hope to participate sometimes.

    I love plantation shutters. Wish I had them in this house!

  20. We have plantation shutters across the front of our home and I love it!! In Oklahoma it’s HOT in the summer and being able to close them sometimes is a very welcome break from the heat. I like the look of all shutters across the front more than mixed. The cost is prohibitive sometimes though.

  21. Lady Katherine says:

    I love the plantation shutters, I have been think of getting the wood blinds. I may look into the shutters. I would love to have the on the new upstairs makeover. You have given wonderful information on the plantation shutters. I love the pictures, of half opened, closed and a little open for the light to come in. This was great!

  22. It looks like you have the perfect setting for those shutters. My brother had them installed at all his windows, but they were stained. They’re beautiful.

    Hugs,
    chris

  23. When we bought our home the owners had installed custom inside mount shutters in the back of the home. Guess what? I took them down and put in the street because I couldn’t open them up and see our back yard without looking through wood slats. I couldn’t open because of where the couch and furniture had to be placed. We bought our home because of the back yard so it was a total shame that these beautiful and expensive shutters were in the back and not the front! I felt like I was in jail. LOL We did buy and place shutters every where else though. I agree that they look so nice from the street.

  24. Looking forward to signing in on Mr. Linky this Monday. Took photos just in time before hubby redid our weird pantry in the condo for metamorphis…

  25. Thanks for you reply at my blog. Yes I am on track for the 19th not this Monday. Gives hubby time to finish the pantry since he’s only just now gone to the Home Depot to get the supplies :0)
    Have a great rest of the weekend…

  26. salmagundi says:

    I have enjoyed all of this discussion on plantation shutters. I have always loved them and found them so functional. We have had them in 7 or 8 different houses over the years, but could never afford the retail prices. My handy husband has always installed them himself. In our current house, we have them in every window, all inside mounted. We have found e-bay to be a great source of shutters (both old & new)if you have the skills and equipment to refit them. We have saved a ton of money doing some windows for under $50 each. Just thought I would throw the bargain side into the discussion. However, I'm sure custom is the way to go if you have the $$$$. Sally

  27. Hi Susan,
    I love them too. They are the next big investment for our home. I have heard that they actually increase the value of your home. Right now we have the dreaded vertical blinds. Yuck!

    Can’t wait to get rid of those! : )

    ~Liz

  28. Totally feeling this post…
    besides..shutters don’t mean you can’t combine with other window coverings (fabrics) that is selling point for me (has been for many years!)

    excellent post!

  29. Glenda/MidSouth says:

    I love Plantation Shutters and would love to have them on my windows. I have odd size windows and when I checked the cost years ago, it was out of my budget. Maybe some day.
    Glenda

  30. prof en retraite says:

    Hi Susan…I didn’t know you could put them into the financing of your home or I would have done them throughout! I love them. A very informative post. You made a good salesperson! …Debbie

  31. Linda/ "Mom..." says:

    I'm w/ so many others here~~~ I ADORE them~~~ DOOOO wish I had known we could have put them into our mortgage, tho~ the expense made me (make that "US"!) gasp, & we just did the areas (my study, a big bathroom & a few bedrooms)that sort of show on the front of the house (they're stained). They look FAB, IMHO, "anywhere", but we wouldn't dare put them in the areas where all of our huge windows/views to pool n' city are~ it just closes out those views, no matter what, & sometimes that's ALOT of what one is "PAYING FOR" in a home, huh??? Great, informative blog, SS!! Thanks, Linda

  32. Pat@Back Porch Musings says:

    Thanks so much, Susan! You’ve been a big help!!

  33. What a great education on shutters! I had them in my room as a girl and have loved them ever since! But I sure didn’t know they would increase home value…very glad to know that! :-) L~

  34. Melissa Miller says:

    Very nice! I love the look of them as well. Crisp and clean. :)

  35. Hi Susan, What a fun post! If you can believe it, my husband made all of the plantation shutters in our house! I absolutely love them on our windows. Thanks for your post. Pam (pam25 on RMS)

  36. Susan, I guess you just answered my question in our email earlier today. You are so detail oriented, and I am sure the shutter company cried when you left. You mentioned two things I wish I would have done first off in my remodeling. Friends, if you have the chance, please do not put off putting in wood floors and Plantation shutters if you want them. I wish for them almost every day and regret I didn’t spend the money right from the get go. Now that the economy has gone south, I must save, save, save, to do what I could have done right from the beginning when I replaced things, and tried to save a few dollars here and there. We had a young couple down the block who did them room by room as they could afford them. They counted their benefits when they sold! Thanks for a great post, as usual Susan, Jan

  37. This is so interesting! I’ve always loved shutters but I’ve never seen a house up here in Ohio that has them. I was just contemplating replacing my mini blinds with shutters…and now you have convinced me that it’s a wonderful idea! I like them for all the reasons you listed…I totally agree! :)

  38. at the cottage says:

    Thhhhank you. I learned somehing today :) I just love the plantation shutter, I like shutters on any window, just nopt blinds.

    More nifty ideas to add the my wish list for when I get my new place. Ahh to decorate :)

    Have a wonderful weekend and I will chewck in for Marvelous Mondays.

  39. DESIGN BY CATHLEEN says:

    Great Post on Plantation Shutters, I have worked with many home builders, and usually you can include them into the mortgage! Hunter Douglas has a wide range of options available! It’s mind boggling!

    Cathleen :-)

  40. sandra/tx says:

    I love plantation shutters, too. In addition to the great reasons you listed, I think they also give some architectural interest to otherwise lackluster windows.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Question: I have a ranch style house built in 1960. The windows are just openings with no wood molding around them – only a windowsill on the bottom (ugly, I know).
    My dining room window is large approx. 6′ high and 9 feet wide. Since it faces south, I love to let the light pour in. The table is not that far from the windows, so the shutters could not be too wide or I wouldn’t be able to fold them back(would hit table when folding) which I would want to do much of the time.

    Would I need to get several narrower shutters and put in a railing. The window is divided into 3 pieces of glass, which further complicates putting in a center style. I would want to be able to fold them to the sides.

    Thanks, Connie

  42. The Quintessential Magpie says:

    That is great advice about the “bleed” factor in plantation shutters. I have been considering them for our getaway, and I’m glad you posted this. It was very helpful.

    Happy Sunday!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

  43. Good Mornin’ Girlfriend…

    I love your shutters!!! Is that beautiful room your breakfast nook? You are absolutely right about the versatility of shutters…you can get so many different moods/looks using them!!! I’m sure glad that you included all of the info. on what to look for when considering them! So interesting!!!

    Hope that you’re having a wonderful weekend, my friend!
    Love ya,
    Chari

  44. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Hi Connie,
    We used to occasionally shutter windows that didn’t have molding around them…you see a lot of those in FL. When they do not have molding, you really can’t “inside” mount because they are almost always a bit out of square. So shutters for those type windows were always “frame mounted.” We would build some molding/framing to go around your window and then mount the shutters to the molding. The molding actually enhanced the window so homeowners didn’t usually object…it looked great.
    As to the best way for them to open/function, most companies are going to recommend six panels (2 panels per window) across that opening, following the design of the window…which is really 3 windows, as you’ve described. A piece of molding would have been added in between each “window”, running vertically and attaching to the framing/molding they would have mounted around the window. You would end up with 6, 18 inch wide panels as follows: 2, 18 inch panels on the left window; 2, 18 inch panels on the right window and 2, 18 inch panels for the center window. They would be awkward to open back (like I do in my bay window) because you could bi-fold the two on the left, to the left, and the two panels on the right, to the right…but the two center panels would need to open center. That means they would stick out into the room. Truthfully, 99% of most folks don’t actually end up opening their panels…mostly they just open the louvers. If view is a top priority, you could go with the larger 3 1/2 inch louvers, which give you a lot more view.
    A second option: If you only did 4 panels across that opening, each panel would be 27 inches wide. The widest we would make a panel was 28 inches. But there are several reasons I wouldn’t design your window that way. The panels would be HUGE and I would worry about all that weight on the hinges AND they would not follow the natural breaks/design of the 3 windows that you have, so I just don’t think it would look right. The space really needs to be treated as 3 separate windows, IMHO. You will most likely need a true custom shutter company to shutter your window…someone who makes their own shutters from scratch. Those are the best companies, anyway. Companies always give estimates for free so you could call several companies and have them come out to discuss your options. Hope you find this reply…if you do, leave a comment so I know you got it. :-) Susan

  45. Just wanted to share this link – you might want to share it on an upcoming Tablescape Tuesdays. http://lestablesdecorativesdestef.over-blog.com/

  46. sarah ~ a beach cottage says:

    oh I love shutters, shame I can’t afford them at the moment, I enjoyed this post, thanks Susan

    Sarah

  47. Barb @ GritsandGlamour says:

    Susan – I had these at our last home in the bedroom and not only loved the way they looked but also loved their versatility just like you said. We debated in this home, but only the deer can see in. LOL

    BTW, you have been TAGGED! Tag You’re It! over at my site. :-)

  48. I completely agree that plantation shutters are one of the most beautiful and practical of all window treatments. I have been tossing around for the past several years what to do with my upstairs windows….they have the cellular blinds from the previous owned and I have been “getting by” with them until we remodel that floor…Eventually I’m going to have to decide between them and wide wooden blinds [which I have had and loved]. My concern is how to handle the single window lights I love to use at Christmas…the shutters would not be able to be closed, but maybe they could be closely approximated without entirely closing them. I’m sure this has probably come up during your time in the shutter “field”. What do you think? I really appreciate all the time you took to give all the wonderful details about shutters….your posts are not only beautiful, but useful. Best, Deb

  49. Omah's Helping Hands says:

    Thank you so much Susan for your posting on plantation shutters. I love them! Now I have a great idea what to do to dress the place up some. We have faux wood blinds for now. But I like the versatility of the shutters. It is so much better than blinds. There is so much I want to do, so one thing at a time. At least I know who to come to with questions on them when we get to the windows. :)

  50. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Susan. I did finally get back to this post and your answer was very helpful and informative. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

    Connie

  51. We'll be buying a house in a few months and I LOVE plantation shutters and this post was very educational. I will definitely be using this to convince my husband we NEED those shutters!!

  52. Jennifer Allan says:

    Susan I have my own window treatments store in Herndon as I am the only low price plantation shutters manufacturer in Virginia, Maryland and DC. You can visit my website for more details about Interior Plantation Shutters.

    Looking forward to see you soon.

  53. Great post, gave me some great info as I'm ordering plantation shutters for the first time. My question is, what do you call the kind of shutters that you have where you can open the top and not the bottom, and vice versa? I'm having trouble locating the ones with the solid piece in the middle that lets you do this. Also, your opinion on the best slat size for dining room/living room – 2.5 or 3.5?

  54. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Hi Laura,
    The shop that made mine called that a "divider rail." It's pretty common so any place that custom makes their shutter should offer that style. The kind where the shutter are actually split in two and you can physically open the panels them selves back against the wall at the top while leaving the panels on bottom closed is called, "double hung." But the kind if have that allow separate operation of the louvers (but the panels are all one piece) is called having them build with a "divider rail." Hope this helps!

  55. I came across this article about shutters that you did in 2009. I purchased my home about 2 years ago and we have been working on the landscaping (5 acres) and now I am moving inside to make changes. Every single room in the home has plantation shutters including the detached garage windows. We have terrible echos sounds because of tile floors (hardwood in the master bedroom and my husband's office) and I am so desperately missing the softness of some color in each room. I have horizontal plate holders above the dining room windows so I took scarf sheers and ran them thru the plate holders and let them drape on each side and then puddle on the floor staying away from the doors so they can still be opened. I will send you a photo so you know what I am talking about but I am just not happy with this and I have many more windows and painting to do in each room. What do you think? Pamie G.

  56. Your article on plantation shutters was very informative. I have seen them in other houses and would love to incorporate them into the family room of our split level home when we remodel. The room is on the lower level, half above and half below grade. We have 2 double sets of windows (36″ wide each x 2) on either end of the street facing wall. I do have tilt-in windows, but unlike the comment above about having someone clean windows for them, I do them myself and want to maintain that function. My question is whether or not to put a post in the middle of the 2 windows when installing them. I have deep window sills and rather than have the post in the middle, I would prefer the openness of the windowsill if I open the shutters fully (not just the slats). I wonder how the shutters would behave when closed; would they wobble or “wave” in the space when closed? Also, I am not sure what type of molding would work for outside mount. Thank you for your assistance and expertise?

    • Usually you don’t need a post because the installer attaches strong magnets at the top and bottom that the shutters attach to when they close. My center window of my bay is 60 inches wide and it didn’t require a post down the center. You would end up with 4 18 inches panels that all bifold together and meet in the center…kind of like the center window of my bay. They’ll just attach to magnets when they close together. I have a set (2 windows) that are 32 inches wide in my upstairs family room and they bifold back, too. Again…no center post was needed. When they close and meet, they attach to magnets.
      To keep the tilt feature, I’m 99.9 % sure you’ll have to go for a frame install where they will mount framing/molding on top of your molding. The shutters will be mounted to the framing and not inside the window. If you are ordering your shutters from a custom shutter company, they can design/build shutters to fit any window…and can usually design them to look however you wish. So I’m sure if you dealing with a good custom company, you’ll have no problem getting the “look” and function that you want. Estimates are always free so the best thing to do is call a few companies and have them come out and measure. They will be able to discuss all your options. There usually several ways to install shutters so you should be able to get them the way you want them. Get several estimates because all companies are different and you learn a lot with each estimate.

  57. Installed 3.5-inch plantation shutters in our living room bay window and adjoining dining. Now getting ready to install them in the hallway — 4 floor-to-ceiling windows. Trying to decide between 2.5- and 3.5-inch shutters. Had planned on 2.5 so they wouldn’t stick out so far (it is a hallway). Divider will be about 2/3 from the floor — so the plan is to keep the top 1/3 open to let in light; bottom 2/3 shut for privacy. So … maybe I should stick w/ the 3.5? How do you decide? What should I consider before making a decision?

    • If you have tall ceilings and the hallway feels large enough to handle it, you could go with 3.5. The 3.5 louver is pretty big, as you know. Typically folks do the same size louver throughout their home so if 3.5 worked in your living room and dining room, it may work fine in your hall. Is the hallway pretty spacious/open feeling? Do you have 9 ft ceilings? The biggest factor to me would be how big the hallway feels and if it’s pretty close to the other shutters, it would probably look a little strange to change louver size in the hall. Hope this helps.

  58. Elizabeth Woodfield says:

    We are in the process of purchasing a home (presently under construction) across the country. In our present home, we have plantation shutters in our living room and family room and I love them! I’d like to have them in all of the windows of our new home. However, the new windows will have a frame around them. Can you give me some idea of how the shutters will be installed, please? The ones we have now are attached to a frame (about 1.5″ square) that goes around the exterior of the edge of the window. It seems like that would look weird on top of the frame that is being installed around the window. Thanks so much.

    • Usually they can be either mounted on the inside of the existing frame (if they are truly custom made shutters made specifically for your windows) or a frame will be attached to the existing molding and they will be mounted to that. So much depends on whether the windows have a tilt feature and you want to keep that, and if the company custom makes their shutters, as opposed to buying stock shutters and cutting them to fit. If they are truly custom made for each window, the sales person may be able to offer you some different options regarding how they are installed. Usually companies do not charge to give an estimate so I recommend calling 2-3 companies and getting several estimates. Just asked the questions I mentioned in the post and you’ll be able to tell a lot about the quality. Each sales person who comes out to your home should be able to tell you exactly how the shutters would be installed so you’ll have time to think about which way works best for you. Also, the sales person who comes out to give you an estimate should have a sample shutter panel and a piece of framing with them so they can show you exactly how the shutters would look in each window.

  59. Whilst I have been an advocate for plantation shutters for a long time, I have always been a little hesitant to recommend them to my clients – they tend to be something that you either love or you don’t. Don’t get me wrong – if someone comes to me saying that they would love to incorporate these shutters into a space, I am all for helping them out.

    Also, thank you for the little bit on whether you should put plantation shutters in all rooms or just one – this is a question I have asked myself many times and it was nice to get some other perspective on it.

  60. Jenn Keane says:

    Great article! The house we moved into already has plantation shutters on every window in the house except the dining room. My dining room is in the front of the house and the only window (besides door) on the first floor. My thought is to get 3.5 louvre cafe style in this large window to go behind my curtains. This will be different from the rest of the house. The rest of the house has 2.5 full length. My question…Is it ok to go up in width of the shutter for the formal dining room? The other first floor shutters are on the side and back of the house. Thanks for your help!!!

    • Jenn, you could do that but I that isn’t the norm. Normally folks do use the same louver size throughout. If the dining room isn’t totally open or close to other windows with the smaller louvers, it should be okay. So you do have windows that face the front upstairs? Will that bother you that the dining room windows will look slightly different from the front? It probably won’t be that noticeable, but just something to think about. When you have someone come out to give you an estimate, ask them to bring a sample shutter in the bigger louver size. Have them hold it up to the window and go outside and look at the front of the house to just see how it looks.
      Also, I’m not a big fan of cafe shutters for the reasons I mentioned in the article. I can’t tell you how many times I went out on an appt where someone had those in a breakfast room or some other room and lamented getting half shutters. It offers privacy when sitting down but the sun will still pour in and fade furniture, rugs, floors, etc…. If the sun isn’t an issue with those windows, you’ll probably be okay with the cafe shutters. Usually cafe shutters cost almost as much as full shutters, so they aren’t that great a value. Just tossing these things out there for you to think about. :)

      • Thanks for your response! I do have shutters on the front of the house on the second floor. The dining room window is significantly larger than any of those win down as it goes from almost floor to ceiling (perhaps a one foot wall buffer on either side window). So the cafe shutters will still be very tall. I have beautiful curtains in this room that I want to leave up, just have the shutters behind. I definitely want the light to come in and don’t want to restrict as the room only gets afternoon sunlight. Good idea about having them bring both shutters out to my house! The company I’m using did all the previous rooms with plantation shutters and are running a special this month so the cafe shutters are very reasonably priced! Still not entirely sure what to do about the size. I was thinking that the dining room could be different since it’s my “formal” room. Thanks again for your help!

  61. We’re getting ready to order plantation shutters for our breakfast nook. The window sizes are 71 X 27 (qty 2) and 83 X 27 (qty 3). This room is open to the family room which already has plantation shutters. Those plantation shutters are composite with 3 1/2 in louvres and a 2 inch colonial style frame. The question we have is whether we should match the frame of those shutters. I’m leaning toward going with a basswood shutter rather than composite, but then we won’t be able to match the frame. Should we just get composite to match them exactly, or should we go with the basswood and match as close as possible? Or can we go with a completely different frame even though the rooms are open to each other? If I were doing this without existing shutters in place, I would go with a simpler frame, but since we’re not, I’m just wondering if the frames should match? Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Amy, are the shutters you’re going to buy made by a company that makes their frames? I wonder if they could make a frame similar to what’s in the family room or make new frames for those shutters in the family room. You may want to ask, just in case. If not, I wouldn’t worry too much about the frames matching. When folks enter the room, what they really see is your beautiful room. They may notice the shutters but I bet they will never notice that the frames are a bit different. That’s the kind of stuff “we” as homeowners agonize over, at least I do when I’m decorating or renovating, but then later it turns out I never think about it again. I think it’s more important that you get the type shutters you really want (quality, look, function, etc…) so I wouldn’t worry too much about the frames.

  62. Looking at Graber Plantation shutters right now through Costco. We have Oak cabinets in our kitchen, Oak wood flooring and Granite countertops. Our windows have wood looking trim on the inside which we paid extra for when we purchased them and wood trim to match on the sills. The rep is trying to tell me to buy off white composite Shutters and leave the stained wood trim and it won’t look bad. She is steering me away from a stained wood shutter saying it will be too dark. Help! Don’t know who to believe

  63. Hi Thanks SO much for this informative post, pictures and discussion. We live in central Califirna in a seaside town in a small 1949 bunglaow. We have a small kitchenette and living room that face close to the street. We have several double hung windows that we open a lot for cooling and to enjoy the mild weather year round.
    1. In the kitcheette nook, we have two double hung vinyl windows that meet close in the corner
    2. In the living room, we have a one piece vinyl Bay window with double hung side window panels and non opening center window (No sheetrock between windows) as well as two double hung windows with book cases right up to the bottom molding where upon rest a fountain, plants, etc (well used surface area)
    We are about to order custom shutters from a very good shutter company but have a dilemna. The installer came to measure and was concerned about our plan to have double hung, bi fold shutters in the corner windows and in the side windows of the Bay. We plan to have a devider rail either way for separate operation of top and bottom louvers (3 1/2 inch louvers). All of these shutters would be Outside Mount. The shutter frames would be of a quality basswood and the louvers a nice composite with insulating properties (ie light weight) and we’ll do hidden tilt as well. We need privacy from the street all the time so will keep bottom panels closed and louvers tilted down most of the time. We wanted double hung shutters so we can easily access and operate the double hung windows and latch hardware located in the center rail. We can reach up and over the bottom panel to access the hardware and lift up the windows. We need to be able to maneuver the shutter panels out of the way to access the windows, and feel we need double hung AND bifold because on the bottom there is very little clearance and it would be a annoying/impractcal to move chairs, fountains, photo frane, the cushions on the Bay window every time we want to open the windows which we would have to do if we got single hung, bi fold. We need bifold for clearance also, so just double hung does not seem practical either. SO double hung and bi fold would be perfect. But the installer is concerned about Sag over time. I found another (great)website with lots of detailed technical ordering info, http://www.royalwindowsinc.com/royal_windows_form/online_catalog1.pdf . (Thouigh this is not the company we are using because our company is local to us). In the PDF, this company says the overall dimensions of the shutters have to be taller than wider for double hung, bi fold. Ours shutters would be a bit taller than wider. The non-bay windows are roughly 30 to 35 inches wide and about 42 to 43 inches long. The side bay windows are much taller than wider, but they are all of one vinyl frame piece. SO
    1. For the non bay windows: I am thinking there is a bit of a risk of sagging. I just don’t know how much. The installer will do it, but is not happy about it (The warranty is very good, so I am pretty sure he does not want to come back after initial install and I agree!!). What are your thoughts and experiences with this sort of thing? What would YOU do?? I know you can’t say for sure because you are not us and you don’t know our situation except for the detail I have provided, but from the info I have given you, I would be so grateful if you would weigh in. I don’t know anyone else who is all studied up, and I don’t want to take the time of another company that I won’t be really buying from. Sales rep is great, but new to these detailed technical questions. Did you and your company do double hung, bi folds very often and how did it go? Whe was it successful and when not?
    2. Regarding the Bay, I notice you do not have double hung though you have very nice and versatile bifolds. Did your company ever do double hung shutters on the side panels of a one piece Bay?

    THANKS SO MUCH!! I so appreciate your time and expertise and your willingness to share.

    • Looks like we are just a tad over on width.
      This company’s detailed ordering PDF manual says this is their Min to Max Specs
      http://universalwc.com/images/pdf/UWCManual_100107.pdf

      2 1/2” 3 1/2” 4 1/2” (Louver Size)
      • Minimum Width: 20″ 20” 20”
      • Maximum Width: 40″ 40″ 40″
      • Minimum Height: 32″ 32″ 32″
      • Maximum Height: 120″ 120″ 120″
      • Maximum Square Ft.: 20 20 20

    • Hi Katy,
      When I worked with a shutter company many years ago, we would never made a panel wider than 28 inches because the louvers would warp if longer than that. So, in really wide windows, you had to have multiple panels and have them bifold back. In the 5 years I worked there, we never made panels that were wider than they were tall. I’m pretty sure they would have refused to make that, knowing they would sag. If you can talk them into it, they may have you sign something saying that you understand they can’t warranty it. Honestly, I don’t think they would look right. I just can’t imagine a panel that’s wider than it is tall…just wouldn’t look right.
      Also, we virtually never made them double hung because from what I was told, they are a nightmare to install. Windows are almost never square and even with an outside frame, it’s hard to get double hung panels to line up properly. I would recommend going with full panels for sun control and because I think they would look better in appearance…and just have a divider rail for separate control of the top and bottom. I know that doesn’t solve the issue of being able to open the windows.
      Shutter may not be a great option there if you do still need to be able to access the locks to open them. I think I remember seeing a shade that could be pulled up from the bottom…not sure who made those, though or if they are still being made.
      I would really listen to your shutter rep because there are good reasons why they don’t want to make panels in certain configurations…not worth the issues you could have later on.

  64. Sorry, please delete this first post, I was able to edit the second post better from a differnt computer and did not know the first post went through! This one has lots of typos! The second is better organized.

  65. after waiting 16 years, last august i got my plantation shutters! we have tilting windows, the installed our shutters with magnets (inside mount) and this works beautifully!

    • That’s great! Congrats! You will never tire of them! :) Did they create framing and mount the shutters on your existing window molding in order to keep the tilt feature? Where are the magnets? My shutters have magnets but they are in the center on the sill and the window molding above to just help hold them closed, although they interlock so they stay closed anyway.

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