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 and I refinanced my home to an even lower rate. When the appraiser came to my home, he told me he could include my shutters in his appraisal. I think that says a lot about the value shutters bring to the 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 if 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. And draperies, although beautiful, do not normally increase the value of a home and are not included in the appraisal of a home. Almost always draperies left behind by a previous home owner do not 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 for 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. Every homeowner or designer will have a different goal. A popular choice by most homeowners is installing plantation shutters on all the windows on the front of a home to give the home a nice uniform look for curb appeal.
Another option I’ve seen a lot folks do when they are trying to combine shutters and wood blinds is to use shutters in the rooms where you 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 expense, 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 versatility of function that a plantation shutter could offer. Plus, truth be told, I just love the look of the shutters in a breakfast room.
BTW, 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…lots of curb appeal. A popular combo is 2 1/2 inch louvered shutters in the areas where you want shutters…and then use 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.
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, all the same time.