Plantation Shutters - Are They Right for Your Home?

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Plantation Shutters - Are They Right for Your Home?

One of my favourite choices for window treatments is the plantation shutter. They are versatile, often less expensive than custom curtains or blinds, and can increase the value of your home with their attractive aesthetic. They are often considered the only window treatment that can be financed into the purchase of your home in various countries. Why? Because they are highly desirable and usually stay with the home when it’s sold. Let’s take a look at how Houzz members are using them in their homes.

 

 
Plantation shutters are a popular choice for kitchens. When shopping for interior shutters, it’s important to know if you are buying custom shutters truly built for your windows or if the company will take stock panels and cut them down to fit. Often, the prices are very similar.
 
 
The Spanish introduced shutters to the Americas, where they gained popularity before spreading to the rest of the western world. Large plantation homes in the southern states of the USA often used the wider louvred-style shutters, giving them their name.

Shutters with a narrow divider rail allow for separate control of the top and bottom louvres, a feature that comes in handy when evening arrives and you would like some privacy.
 
 
 
Today’s plantation shutters come in many different styles and louvre sizes. One of the most popular louvre sizes is 64 millimetres, although they are often also available in 89 and 114 millimetres.

What size louvre you choose is a personal decision. The 64-millimetre louvre is more traditional and is a great choice for average-sized rooms with normal ceiling heights. If you have huge rooms with soaring ceilings, the 89-millimetre louvre may be a better fit.

 
When shopping for plantation shutters, there are important features to look for. A custom-shutter company will measure your window exactly and build your shutters to fit.
 
 
Shutters designed with a divider rail or in the double-hung fashion are a popular choice in bathrooms. They allow for closure of the bottom louvres for privacy, while the top louvres can be left open to enjoy the view and natural light. It’s harder to get that kind of function with curtains, drapes or blinds.

Sometimes a half-shutter is all you need, but I would caution you against buying half-shutter styles. They cost almost as much as full-length shutters and you won’t get as much insulation or sunlight control. Full-window shutters let in lots of light and beautiful views while protecting your furniture and rugs from sun damage. So weigh up the advantages and disadvantages first if you’re tempted to go with half-shutters.

 
When shutters are built specifically for your windows, you will have lots of choices regarding how they are designed. For a window such as this, the two panels could open from the centre or bi-fold to one side.

If you don’t plan to open the panels back against the wall, having them open from the centre is fine. But if you plan to throw open the panels and there is something in the way on one side (like the pipe running up the left side of this window) then bi-fold is the way to go. They work similarly to bi-fold doors, folding one on top of the other, off to the side.
 
 
 
This window is designed to offer the homeowner many options for controlling the view and the light. First of all, they are designed in a double-hung fashion. This will allow opening of the top louvres while the bottom louvres are closed. And because they are double-hung, the top panels can fold all the way back against the wall, leaving the bottom panels in place. The homeowner also could fold all the panels back to open up the entire window.
 
 
How your shutters are designed will depend on your needs, wants and the style of your windows. This window seat has three windows across the back. Since they are narrow, one large panel was designed for each window, as opposed to two skinny ones. This allows for lots of light and a view outside. Also, they are designed with a divider rail for separate control of the top and bottom louvres.

 
When shopping for shutters, ask about the following:
  1. Tension adjustment screws (to prevent issues with drooping louvres later).
  2. Mortised hinges (these look better in a frame install and from the outside on bi-fold panels).
  3. The wood from which they are made (never buy pine shutters, which can bleed sap).
  4. Rabbeted edges (this prevents light gaps through the centre where the panels meet).
  5. Side rails at least 38-millimetres in thickness (which prevents warping of the panel).
  6. Ask for references and reviews – all shutter companies are not created equal.
 
I love the uniform look when all the windows on the front of a home have plantation shutters. Great kerb appeal.

If you want to soften the look of your shutters in some rooms, such as bedrooms, feel free to add curtains or a valance on top of your shutters. They’ll give you all the sun control and privacy you need and leave you free to add whatever decorative treatments you like.
 
Source: Susan, Houzz Contributor, Houzz