Choosing the Best Decorative Shutter for Your Home
Shutters have come a long way from their first appearance in Elizabethan England. They began as humble solid timber boards to block out light or provide ventilation to the house. Today they provide a classic aesthetic value to any home, and generate instant curb appeal.
If you’re new to the shutter game, you’re obviously going to be spoilt for choice and deciding which one would suit your home is no easy task. However, as with any home improvement project, you know that budget and personal preference have the most say in the final verdict. Here’s a quick guide to choosing the best decorative shutter for your home in three simple steps:
1. Choose Your Material
The name of the game is durability and cost. Weigh out your options based on how much you’re willing to spend and how long you want your shutter to last.
Vinyl shutters provide the most cost-effective option. They last long, are easy to maintain and offer a near-wood finish look. You can get them in pretty much any size and color, and the good thing is that the colors are fade resistant. Vinyl is also resistant to warping, chipping and shrinking. These are perhaps a sensible option if you’re a first-time buyer, don’t want to spend a lot, or have a busy life that affords little time for upkeep of your home.
If you’re looking for that extra edge of security and protection, then aluminum is an ideal choice. They won’t break the bank and are durable and don’t require much in terms of maintenance. For that matte look, they can be powder coated in a variety of colors. This is a good option for homeowners who want something functional as well as pleasing to the eye.
If you’re in search of that classic look, then wood shutters are the best option for you. Although slightly more expensive than their composite counterparts, wood shutters are long-lasting and lightweight. They add a touch of finesse to your home. You can have them painted in a variety of colors, or have them stained in options like mahogany, teak, oak, and maple.
One note of caution for wood shutters: if your shutters are going to be subjected to repeated and direct water contact, then it’s best to look for another option for that specific area of the house. In such cases, you could consider cedar wood which is known for being warp resistant. It also contains tannin and is rich in natural oils. This prevents it from decaying easily and getting infested with insects and bugs.
If cost and longevity don’t matter, then you’re lucky and can go for whatever suits your fancy. Might we suggest, then, that you should opt for a more classic look: wood!
2. Decide Your Design
When it comes to design, the choice depends on the style of home and the overall look you want to achieve.
Louver: Open and Closed
Also called slats or blades, these are adjustable strips of wood that are placed horizontally across the shutter panel. Most often, they are moveable and allow you to control the amount of light and air that enters the room. The louvers can be big or small: the choice is entirely yours. Closed louver shutters are not functional—the louvers are fixed in place and don’t move. Choosing between the two is deciding whether you want functionality over ornament. They are the most popular design of shutter.
Panel: Raised and Flat
Raised panel shutters were used mostly in Southern plantation architecture while flat panel shutters are known for their Shaker inspired simplicity. What you choose depends on what kind of look you’re going for.
Board: Open and Closed Board Batten
Open board and batten shutters look good on historic homes, whether it’s rural cottages or Tudors. They also go well with Southwest desert architecture. Closed board shutters were meant to protect windows during storms, and they are ideal for French country homes and Spanish-style houses.
Bahama and Cutouts
These get their inspiration from the tropics and are hinged on the top; louvered in design. Again, opt for these if they sync with the overall theme and décor of your home. Shutters with cutout designs are a hot trend in 2017 and can add a unique touch to your project.
3. Opt for Functional or Decorative
Functional shutters actually allow you to control how much light and air enters the room, so opt for these if you really want to use them. They also need slightly more maintenance in terms of cleaning. In case you’re a busy person, opt for decorative shutters over functional ones.