Yes, blinds and curtains are important, but for total window decoration it’s important to think outside the house. While friends and family are the ones treated to your window treatments, the Joneses see only the outside. Make the most of your windows with perfectly matched decorative shutters to bring out the best in your house. Here’s how to do them right.
Why not? Decorative shutters are easy to install, affordable, and they enhance the exterior decor by giving the face of your home added depth and personality. They can provide a pop of color, accent an authentic home’s traditional design, or just frame a favorite window so it stands out. Quality shutters enhance a house’s curb appeal and value.
Types of Shutters and Materials
To list all the shutter designs in the world would bore even us, and we love the topic more than most. Instead, let’s talk about the three most common terms you will find on your quest to turn your windowpane into a window pleasure: raised, louvered, and board and batten.
Within these varieties you’ll also find architectural differences, most notably arch top, straight top, and eyebrow top designs. Each serves the same function but will give a different personality to your home and windows. Most people choose the shape that best matches the lines of their house.
Raised-panel shutters are comprised of equal panels and provide added security and a Colonial look.
Louvered shutters have slats often separated by a mullion or two. A louvered window shutter is more traditional, but its slats allow for an attractive exterior addition.
Board and batten shutters are named after their construction style of vertical boards and cross members called battens. Often used to give a traditional or cottage-style look, they are known for their authentic aesthetics.
No two wood types make the same statement, but oak, maple, poplar, alder, and pine are all fine, reliable choices. Wood shutters can be stained dark or light or painted just about any color to match your home. Most are treated or ready to treat to withstand weather and outdoor conditions.
Plastic and Vinyl
These options may sound artificial, but many vinyl and plastic shutters feature a simulated wood grain look that’s indistinguishable from natural wood panels. Whether you choose these or colored plastic, they generally last longer than wood and usually feature a color-through finish that won’t peel or chip like the paints and stains that require yearly or bi-yearly maintenance.
How to Measure Shutters
Rule #1: Always measure before you buy.
Rule #2: Measure again.
When it comes to adding something onto your home, especially something as visible as a pair of shutters, precision is everything. Take the time to get the right numbers jotted down before you make a purchase. Once you know the size you need you can browse to your heart’s content.
It’s best to find a single width for all of your windows to create a uniform look, but keep in mind that many homes with more than one floor have different sized windows from one floor to the next! We offer several different shutter widths between 6.875 – 33 inches. Typically between 25% or 33% of the total window width including the trim is ideal, but keep in mind that it’s a decorative window and the suggestions on this chart are merely that: a suggestion. Find the size that best fits your idea of a dream home.
Measure from the top to the bottom of the window trim. When installing vinyl shutters on a window with a sill, leave a gap of ¼ inch – vinyl will expand and contract with the seasons. You might find shutter height size options generally offered in 2-inch ranges (example: you have a 14W x 25H window, so you would select a height option of 24H-26H inches), so you’ll want to find the size option that best suits each of your windows. Keep in mind that your home may be constructed with different heights of windows, so you’ll want to be sure to measure every window.
Installing Window Shutters
You don’t have to be an expert carpenter to install a pair of exterior shutters. Your new window accents will come with easy to follow instructions and the tools required for the job are quite common and some of the hardware is often included with your purchase! It’s a job that takes minutes, not hours. We’re talking broad strokes here, but most installations will require that you own the following:
- Rubber mallet
- Electric drill
- ¼ inch drill bit
- Shutter Fasteners
The process will differ depending on what type of shutter you’re installing and what wall surface you’re fixing the panel to, but here are some general steps to give you an idea of how quick and easy this task really is.
The goal here is curb appeal, and that’s ultimately subjective. These guidelines are what’s generally considered standard, but the only thing that really matters is how you feel about your home. Now go measure!
Shutters Buying Guidelines: Dimensions
|Window Width (in.)||Shutter Width (in.)|
|Up to 18||5.75 or 8.5|
|18 – 24||9, 9.25 or 11|
|25 – 28||12|
|29 – 36||12, 14.5 or 15|
|37 – 40||14.5 or 15|
|41 – 43||14.5, 15 or 16.5|
|44 – 48||16.5|
|49 – 50||16.5 or 18|