Interior Shutters: What's the Big Deal?
By Esther Steinfeld, The Blinds Gal
Decorating on a shoestring budget, but trying to stretch your money as far as possible? Newly installed interior shutters are just as transformational as a new paint job or reupholstered couch can be. They are a fabulous way to make a home feel fresh and updated.
Custom shutters are versatile, giving you great flexibility, long-term value, and durability. They increase the worth of your home and improve the likelihood that it will appeal to more buyers should you ever decide to sell. Shutters never fail to increase curb appeal, and never go out of style. Most homeowners believe they cannot afford interior shutters, and the reality is they’re more expensive than miniblinds and Venetian blinds; however, the return on your investment is well worth those extra dollars. The question is: What should you consider when buying shutters?
We’ll take a look at the most popular and top-rated features among people who have purchased shutters.
- Wood or Fauxwood?: Real wood shutters are the luxury vehicle, the diamond bracelet, the Fendi bag of window treatments. Custom wood interior shutters are a show-stopper, the perfect finishing touch to a redecorating or remodeling project. They work well as stand-alone window treatments or with overlapping top treatments like draperies and valances. They make an impressive statement in high-traffic or formal rooms, like dining rooms and living rooms. The downside to real wood shutters for most homeowners is the price. If the price is the problem, fauxwood shutters are 25-35% less expensive than real wood. Fauxwood shutters are easier to clean – they can be cleaned with a damp paper towel – and are resistant to warping and fading, making them ideal for high humidity rooms like bathrooms and kitchens. Both wood and fauxwood shutters are easy to install. If you need wood-stained colors, then real wood is usually your best and sometimes you only choice.
- Shutter style: Shutter panels can be configured more than 20 ways, depending on the size of your windows and how you want the panels (i.e. doors) to open. Most people prefer the configuration that involves the least number of panels for the size needed. The most popular configuration utilizes single panels that swing open, like little doors. Some prefer bi-fold or tri-fold panels that accordion-fold. If your windows are big enough, you can configure your shutters so that some panels swing open, and some fold. You can also customize them to open to the left or to the right.
- Color: By far, the most popular color for shutters is white. If you want to outfit your entire home with shutters, white is a great option for creating uniformity. They are also perfect for savvy homeowners who are prone to redecorate often, because they will continue to match no matter what color the walls are painted or the floor stained or carpeted. In most cases, fauxwood shutters are only available in off-white, while wood shutters can be stained to match any wood tone. Choose a wood stain like birch or oak for a more traditional look, or a dark stain like dark walnut to achieve a modern look. Another way to achieve a traditional cottage and cabin look is to match your shutter stain to your wall color. If you are going for a more modern look, avoid matching your shutters with your walls.
- Inside or Outside Mount?: The preferred mounting option chosen by a large majority of people is inside mount (i.e. installed within the window opening). The look is clean, and will hide any window casing imperfections; however, not every window is right for inside mounted shutters. If a window does not have enough depth, the shutter must be mounted outside the window frame, usually right on the sheetrock or wood trim. Outside mount is also necessary if the window frame is an imperfect shape, or if the window tilts open for cleaning purposes.
- Louvers: Louvers are the horizontal pieces that rotate to provide light control and privacy. Louvers come in widths of 1 1/4", 1 7/8", 2 1/2", 3 1/2" (the most popular choice), and 4 1/2". The larger the louver size, the more light and visibility you get when the louvers are opened. Shutters with larger louvers, sometimes called plantation shutters, are best used on larger window sizes and are more popular in contemporary settings than the smaller sizes. Choose 1 ¼” louvers for traditional shutter configurations.
- Full height, or café-style?: Fully shutters are the most purchased and the most multipurpose. Café shutters do not span the entire height of the window. They leave the top portion of the window opening completely uncovered. Generally, they go up only half way, creating a French café look, which is where the name comes from. You can designate how high you want your shutters to go. Choose café shutters if your window has an arch; the arched portion of the window will remain uncovered while you’ll have full functionality and privacy control on the rectangular portion.
Whatever your budget, consider shutters as a way to improve the style of your home. Once you have identified from the product and options you want, take the plunge. Choose the shutters that best fit your needs and your personality. Your friends and neighbors will be filled with envy and your home will be instantly beautiful.
For more information, or to speak with a Design Consultant, visit Blinds.com.