There are two types of shutters that people can talk about – exterior and interior. They both serve different purposes, so let’s take a look at these two cousins of the window world.
Exterior shutters seem like an antiquated part of housing design – you don’t really see them all too often on houses built in modern times. Exterior shutters were used in olden times for security and as protection against objects blown by the wind. Functional shutters are on the outside of the home and are attached by a hinge and can be closed against the window. Typically shutters are two doors, each half the width of the window. However, single door shutters are also known to exist, although more rare. Non-functional or ornamental shutters do not open and close and are merely attached to the house next to the windows.
Interior shutters are typically on the inside of the room and are comprised of horizontal slats called louvers that tilt open and closed via a vertical rod to direct light. These can also be called plantation or California shutters. They can have single or multiple tiers.
Shutters are considered mostly ornamental these days, at least in North America. Nobody really closes their shutters (unless a hurricane is coming) and some shutters are simply attached to the house as a decoration. However, there’s no question that shutters can really add charm to certain types of homes. Just make sure to avoid the common pitfalls of making these fake shutters look ridiculous!
There are a few different styles of shutters, whether you are having them made or you are building them yourself.
Board And Batten shutters are those that people tend to draw on illustrations of homes. They consist of several planks of wood joined by two or three crosswise pieces. These are popular on cottage and farmhouse style homes. They can be solid or spaced.
Louver shutters consist of a frame of one or more panels filled in with diagonal louvers. These types of shutters add privacy and allow airflow.
Panel shutters are just that – mostly full pieces of wood with beveled panels carved into them.
Bermuda shutters are frames with diagonal louvers placed in them that open outward at an angle similar to an awning. These are popular in the Caribbean and evoke the look of a beach cottage.
Interior shutters, also sometimes called plantation shutters, are another alternative window treatment that can be quite attractive, stylish, and functional. Interior shutters function as a protection from sun while still allowing airflow into your home. They can also be a form of security to deter intruders and prevent kids and pets from going out of the window.
Shutters come from a time before glass was affordable, and now hearken back to an older time. They lost popularity in the Victorian era when long flowing drapes became all the rage. They briefly enjoyed a resurgence in the classic architecture revival period but due to the advancements of HVAC systems they were still left behind. Nowadays, however, while people are trying to be more eco-conscious these types of window coverings are making a comeback.
Interior shutters are constructed of horizontal louvers that tilt up and down, generally via a long vertical rod that connects them all. They can either be single panels or articulated in the middle making a sort of accordion shape.
Interior shutters can be made of wood or vinyl, and painted to suit.