I imagine you have seen plantation shutters in more and more homes. You might even have wondered what the fuss is all about — or the biggest question, should you add them to your custom home?
Today, I would like to help you learn the ins and outs of this kind of window treatment to help you make the best possible choice for lasting comfort, ease, and as always, home value. I’ll be reviewing the same questions and considerations that I bring up with clients when designing their home along with their architect and builder. By the end, you’ll be ready and confident when you try this conversation for yourself!
But first, what are plantation shutters?
What Are Plantation Shutters?
Plantation shutters are a built-in window treatments for the home, installed to slide directly within the frame of your windows. One or more columns (called “panels”) of horizontal slats (called “louvers”) sit within the frame and can be adjusted up and down to allow in more or less natural light.
I especially love that you can adjust them at an angle that keeps harsh sunlight away while still pulling in a fresh breeze from the open window. Or, you can physically open the shutters, like a swinging door, to bring the entire outdoors in.
Funnily enough, even though the name plantation shutters can suggest origins from the deep south, it’s believed that the very first plantation shutters came from ancient Greece and were largely made of marble! They were used to create privacy and shield indoor spaces from rain, dust and debris.
Although no longer made from marble — at least not on this side of the Atlantic — it’s incredible that plantation shutters still uphold these useful, beautiful functions in modern-day homes.
What Are the Benefits of Plantation Shutters?
Before we start with the nitty-gritty details, let’s review all the reasons to fall in love with plantation shutters…
- Offers flexibility in design to fit wonderfully with the home’s existing architecture
- Provides a beautiful, custom built-in feature on the interior of your home
- Delivers beautiful and inviting curb appeal from the exterior
- Offers an ideal choice for excellent light control and added privacy
- Durable and cordless, making them a safe and stress-free solution for a household with kids
- Energy-efficient, keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter
- Simpler to clean and maintain than dust-collecting fabric window treatments
Best of all? Each of these incredible benefits will not only support your daily lifestyle with function and flow but will increase the value of your home. After all, it’s a fixed feature that you won’t take with you if or when you ever move. But how can you know if plantation shutters are suited for your new home in particular?
If you’re working with an architect, builder and interior designer, they will be able to point you in the right direction. But until then, here’s an overview that can help…
Traditional vs. Modern Homes: Choosing the Right Plantation Shutters
Even though traditional and modern homes sit on different ends of the style spectrum, I’ve seen plantation shutters work well with both. The secret is to find a style of plantation shutter that feels equally as modern or traditional as the home. Since the plantation shutters will become part of the home’s architectural character, it’s crucial that they match.
Luckily, custom-made plantation shutters do come in a vast range of design options, from a variety of louver sizes to finishes, and colors to custom detailing. So, which details are right for your custom home specifically?
Plantation Shutter Styles for Traditional Custom Homes
In traditional homes, conventional shutter styles have double panels fabricated to cover the entire window from top to bottom. The most popular louver sizes are 2 ½” - 3 ½”. These are thinner than you’ll see with more modern styles, which means that more louvers are necessary to fill in the same amount of vertical space. More traditional styles will also use a centrally located tilt rod.
As for the finish, shutters made of wood or polymer offer the option to be painted to blend into the room or, better yet, pop out and make an eye-catching statement. Either choice is suitable in a traditional home and can be used as a stunning effect.
Plantation Shutter Styles for Modern or Transitional Custom Homes
For transitional or modern-style homes, less is more! A single panel with wider 4 ½” louvers (you can see that there are less of them than the traditional version) and a hidden tilt rod will give the room a crisp, contemporary feel. Again, the shutters can be customized using a range of materials, paints or stains for the perfect aesthetic to match your home and your sense of style.
The Best Plantation Shutter Choices by Room
Following the trend with the adaptability of plantation shutters, they fit well in any room, though the type of room in question will determine the perfect material choice. Again, your architect, builder and interior designer will help guide you in finding the right choice, but here is my advice:
These can be useful in rooms with more moisture and heat, like the bathroom or laundry area, and can be painted if choosing a lighter color. An added bonus? Polymer shutters are the most energy-efficient, with 30% more insulation than a wooden option.
Wood shutters bring versatility to the window with their endless painting options. If you want to paint your shutters a dark color, the wood surface is ideal for paint adhesion. Or, they can be stained to match other wood elements in the home. You also have the option to create extra decorative elements, like a contoured tilt bar and beveled louvers, which can further heighten the style of the shutter and your home overall.
Hybrid shutters are a slim design, suited for smaller windows with little depth between the window and the wall. They have the strength of wood and the energy efficiency of polymer. Plus, they can be painted, unlocking a world of possibilities.
The Verdict: To Shutter or Not to Shutter?
As a designer, I always suggest plantation shutters as an option for clients building new homes. They are stunning, functional and increase home value, making them a real win all around. However, the one downside is that a bit of light will show through plantation shutters, even when closed. If you are designing a room that you want to stay dark, like a home theater or video game room, consider putting up drapery or blackout curtains, like I did in my own home, pictured above!
Compare Shutter Styles with Our Visualizer Tool
A great way to visualize shutters in your home is to try HomeView by Louver Shop. You can select from a collection of sample photos or upload one of your own to add shutters onto window and door openings. Compare customization options like color, louver size and other details to find out what new plantation shutters can add to your home.
If you are considering adding plantation shutters to your room, plan ahead! Shutters take time to assemble and finish since they are made specifically for your windows. Talk to an expert on your new build team or reach out to a specialty supplier (like Louver Shop of Pittsburgh) to get all your questions answered.
Here’s to your happiest home!