Let’s Install Exterior Shutters
Whether in fashion or home decor, trends tend to come and go. What is popular one season is out of favor the next, as styles change and tastes evolve. Certain items, however, have a staying power based on functionality, authenticity and timeless beauty that endures despite changing trends. In fashion, one notable example is the tailored peacoat, the go-to style that is appropriate in almost any setting. In home design, such an item is the exterior window shutter.
# Exterior Window Shutters: Functional or Stylish?
The very first window shutters were installed out of necessity when other types of window coverings either did not exist or were not accessible to the common man. Exterior shutters could be opened to allow light and air inside or closed to keep out wind, rain and prowlers. The different types of shutters, from solid wood to fixed louvers to fully operable louvers, evolved along with the sophistication of overall home design.
Shutters saw a decline in use when drapes and blinds first became popular, but their integral place in the aesthetic appearance of certain period homes meant they never went fully out of style. In more modern times, shutters have made a resurgence, fitting like that perfect peacoat into the overall curb appeal sought by homeowners. Shutters may be functional, but they need not be an eyesore.
# Exterior Shutters Done Right
Adding shutters to your home can dramatically change the way it looks, perhaps more than any other single and relatively uncomplicated upgrade that you can make. Keep in mind, however, that success is in the details. For example:
Make them functional. If you are going to the trouble of installing shutters, it makes sense to be able to use them. Even if you think you never will, you might be surprised to find that you like their protection from storms that threaten to damage the glass in your windows, or you may want to experiment with the cost savings you get from heating and cooling your home with the shutters closed.
Keep them as authentic as possible to the period of your home. If you have a vintage home, do some research to see what types of shutters were common when it was built. In Colonial times, both louvers and frame slats tended to be quite narrow with hardware affixed directly to the window frame. Prior to the Civil War, most shutters were either solid panel or fixed louver style, but after the middle 1800s, fully operable louver shutters became the norm. If you have a newer home, either the operable louver or raised panel style would be most appropriate.
Ensure that they are wide enough to cover your windows even if you never close them. Narrow shutters framing wide windows look silly. Help your home present its authentic best by installing exterior shutters that fit your windows.
# Shutter Mistakes to Avoid
If you don’t want your shutters to be functional, at least make them look the part. When shutters are purely decorative, many people skimp on the hardware, often failing to grasp that shutters appear unfinished when they lack hardware such as hinges and “shutter dogs,” those fixtures that hold the shutters back against the house while they are open. Go ahead and install the hardware if you want the complete effect.
Don’t buy cheap imitation shutters. Unflattering shutters are more about the quality of the design rather than the material used to make them. Some vinyl or aluminum shutters, popular for their easy upkeep, look marvelous and last for years, whereas wooden shutters made from inferior lumber can actually make your home look shabby. Invest in a product that you will be proud for your neighbors to see.
Choose a style that fits your windows. Don’t be that person hanging flat shutters to cover arched windows or attempting to span the width of a showpiece picture window with freakishly large shutters. Put arches where arches belong, and use bi-fold shutters that tuck back neatly when not covering that vast expanse of glass.
Short of a major remodel, nothing gives your home a more dramatic makeover than installing exterior shutters. When you are ready to give your home a facelift, consider adding this popular design feature that has genuinely stood the test of time.
Guest post courtesy of Proctor Drapery and Blinds – a window treatment specialist serving residential and commercial clients in St. Louis area, with more than 35 years of experience.