Yes, blinds and curtains are important, but for total window decoration it’s important to think outside the house. 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. Yes, blinds and curtains are important, but for total window decoration it’s important to think outside the house. Here’s how to do them right.
Types of Shutters and Materials
The three most common shutters you will see are raised, louvered, and board and batten. Raised-panel shutters are comprised of equal panels and provide added security and a Colonial look. Louvered shutters, on the other hand, 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, board and batten shutters are known for their authentic aesthetics.
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.
Wood: 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 maintenance.
How to Measure Shutters
Always measure before you buy; then, 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.
Width: 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. Find the size that best fits your home.
Height: Measure from the top to the bottom of the window trim. When installing vinyl shutters on a window with a sill, know that the vinyl will expand and contract with the seasons. You might find shutter height size options generally offered in 2″ ranges. 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.
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. 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:
1. Place the shutter next to the window
2. Mark the location for your holes
3. Drill holes into your shutter
4. Fully align your holes with your marks
5. Drill through each hole of your shutter and into the wall
6. Push the shutter fastener through the shutter hole and into the wall
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.