Take a moment and look at your home. Go ahead, really size it up. Does your house have shutters? Have you spent more than three minutes thinking about your shutters, or lack thereof? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably no.
What are shutters, and Why Do We Have Them?
According to All About Shutters, shutters are believed to have originated in ancient Greece to control light and ventilation both inside and outside of dwellings and buildings. Today, shutters are used extensively all over the world, for functional and aesthetic purposes. Do all houses need shutters? Absolutely not, and many, many houses would look much better without shutters, rather than with “today’s” shutters. What do we mean by that? For starters, many shutters today serve no purpose, other than to add an accent color, and to fill in space around windows.
Is it Wrong to Install Shutters if They Aren’t Needed for Practical Purposes?
Well, no, of course not. In our opinion, there is nothing wrong with having shutters that are strictly decorative, provided that they look functional and authentic. Real operational shutters are installed on, rather than next to, the window frame. Our favorite resource for getting shutters “right” is “The Old House Guy” blog. This gentleman has a must-read six part section all about shutters on his blog, and how 99% of all shutters are poorly done, resulting in “very bad” curb appeal. We couldn’t agree more. Definitely check him out!
Does My House Need Shutters?
Should I get shutters for my house? How do I decide? We like Maria Killam’s advice, especially for DIY’ers and novices: “A good rule of thumb if you are considering adding (or trying to decide whether to keep) shutters: if your windows are wider than they are tall, they won’t look good with shutters.” If you’re asking why this matters, the answer makes perfect sense: if the shutters could close, they should completely cover the window. Ah! That does make sense, doesn’t it? Most people never consider or realize this. It’s sort of like the phenomenon “once-you- see-it-you-can’t-unsee-it”. You’ll be driving through town and won’t be able to focus on anything except for all the bad shutters! Not gonna lie, that was me. Several years back, we had a lovely brick house that we lived in for 15 years, never realizing we made the shutter faux-paux. Once I realized it though, it drove me nuts. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, at least for the little things!
What House Style Does Not Traditionally Have Shutters?
Certain style homes, such as those with Arts and Crafts or bungalow-style architecture, do not always have shutters. Farmhouses may or may not have shutters.
What Are the Different Types of Shutters?
Board and Batten
Board and batten shutters are a country-style shutter, put together with vertical boards that have no gaps between the boards. A horizontal board runs across the type and bottom.
Louvered shutters are slatted shutters that may be operable, and are especially popular in warmer climates. Louvered shutters are traditionally used in warmer climates to control ventilation.
Panel shutters can be raised, flat, or recessed, and are historically among the most popular.
Solid panel with cut-outs
Solid panels are panel shutters with decorative cut-outs, and are most popular on cottage or colonial-style homes.
Bermuda or Bahama Shutters
Bermuda or Bahama shutters are mainly used on homes to protect windows from hurricane damage. When used, they may also provide ventilation.
French country-style shutters may be arched to compliment arched window styles.
Can you Mix Shutter Styles?
Sometimes homes have a combination of shutter styles, or shutters on one floor only. An example includes panel-style on the first floor, with louvers on the second floor.
Should All Windows Have Shutters?
Not necessarily. Double or triple windows should not have shutters. Remember, whether shutters are operational or decorative, the shutter should be big enough to cover the window if the shutters were closed. If the window arrangement looks too crowded and there is little to no “resting” space between shutters when they are open, you should probably avoid shutters. If you have different sized windows in close proximity, you should consider those aesthetics as well.
Should I Remove My Shutters?
If you have shutters and are thinking about removing them, consider what is underneath. Brittany, who has the typical plastic shutters that are commonly seen on most tract homes today, was considering removing them. I advised her to see what the siding underneath looked like first, and sure enough, it was darker than the rest of the siding. The sun had faded most of the exterior, which often happens with vinyl siding. In Brittany’s case, removing the shutters would have looked bad. Really bad. I advised her to keep them, and just freshen up the paint. She needed to do that anyway, because the sun had also faded the shutters.
We recommend that you do your homework before deciding whether to add, replace, or remove your shutters. Consider your home’s aesthetic, including colors, window sizes and placement. Sometimes shutters enhance the functionality and the decor of homes, but may also detract from an otherwise lovely aesthetic.
Do you have shutters on your home and want to remove them or are you thinking of adding them and not sure if you should? We would love to see.
Until next time…