Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published June 27, 2014 at 8:01 PM | Page modified July 5, 2014 at 9:31 AM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments
  • Print

Open and shut case: How to choose and hang shutters

Shutters aren’t really necessary anymore, but they’re still popular for decoration. Here are some tips on how to choose the right ones for your home.


The Associated Press

advertising

Although glass and screens have eliminated the practical need for shutters, they’re still popular for decoration.

“They add another layer of thoughtful detailing to a house,” says Ted Cleary, a landscape architect in Charlotte, N.C.

But to get the right look, you still have to consider function when choosing and hanging shutters, experts say.

“Beauty in architecture, as with many objects, often stems from seeing a detail that illustrates its purpose,” Cleary says.

A pair of shutters can cost anywhere from $100 to more than $1,000. Some tips on choosing the right ones for your home:

Size

Originally, shutters were used to keep out weather, noise and animals; when closed, they had to cover the whole window.

So shutter size is the most important thing to consider, says Lindsay Daniel, a Charlotte architect, who agrees with Cleary that homeowners must “think function first, not decoration.”

Make sure the shutters meet and completely cover the window opening. Otherwise, she says, the shutter “looks like a stupid afterthought.”

This means that shutters don’t work on double-width or picture windows, says Richard Taylor, an architect and president of RTA Studio in Dublin, Ohio. “To my eye anyway, it looks ridiculous,” he says.

And take care about their shape when hanging shutters on arched windows, Cleary adds. “Shutters are perfectly legitimate on arched windows as long as the [closed] shutter covers it,” he says.

Material

Shutters are primarily made of wood, composite material or vinyl.

Vinyl shutters are typically mounted directly onto the side of the house, which means they break the rule about looking functional, Taylor says.

He prefers wood, which looks the most authentic but does require regular maintenance, or composite products, a low-maintenance alternative.

Styles

Louvered shutters, made with horizontally slated boards, are probably the most common style in America, Cleary says. When shutters served as the primary window covering, people in hotter climates used louvered ones to allow fresh air into the house.

Panel shutters have a traditional look. They are solid pieces that resemble small doors, and are often inset with square or rectangle patterns. They were regularly used on Colonial-era homes in New England and were a good defense against snow and rain.

Board and batten shutters are made with three or four vertical boards of the same size connected with narrow horizontal boards. They have a rustic appearance and were often used on country houses or barns. They are the easiest style for do-it-yourselfers to make at home, Cleary says.

Hardware

Shutters look best when they are hung as though they are going to be opened and closed, Cleary says. That means using hinges and mounting them onto the window casing — not attaching them to the house.

Cleary also recommends adding metal tiebacks, sometimes called shutter dogs, to hold open shutters in place. The hardware, including shutter dogs and hinges, can cost up to $100 for a pair of shutters.

“It looks a lot richer. There’s more depth to them when they are not pasted to the house,” he says.



Free 4-week trial, then $99 a year for unlimited seattletimes.com access. Try it now!

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►