Plantation shutters are, without doubt, the crème-de-le-crème of the shutter world. They always look stylish and allow a greater flexibility and control of light than ordinary curtains, window blinds or other wooden window treatments.
Plantation shutters – also known as wooden window shutters, louvred shutters or colonial shutters – admit light and air whilst providing complete privacy as well as additional security. When closed, plantation shutters help minimise the heat in a room, but still allow cooling air to move freely.
It is thought that plantation shutters originated in Greece, where they took the form of fixed louvres made from marble. As these louvred shutters spread to other countries around the Mediterranean and beyond, wood began to replace the marble.
In Tudor and Elizabethan times, where expensive glass windows were used, window shutters were made of solid wood and remained closed most of the time. In the 15th century these solid wood window shutters were replaced with hinged glazed sashes.
From then on, interior wooden shutters were used more as decoration in many homes than for their practical uses, and by the 18th century, in England, wooden indoor shutters could be found in most of the houses.
When Spain began the colonisation of the Americas, the large southern mansions on wealthy cotton and sugar plantations were all built with wide, louvred shutters, known as ‘plantation shutters’, which were invariably painted white.
Today’s plantation shutters are practical, durable and classic in style. As a décor accessory or fashion statement, they are timeless. They have a pleasing appearance and should stand alone without curtains.
Plantation shutters are designed to regulate light and provide good insulation. The idea is that when open, they let fresh air in and when closed, they take on the appearance of a pleasing and decorative wall panel.
Modern wooden window shutters can be used to cover a variety of openings other than standard windows. They can be used to enhance a sliding glass door, converting it into something beautiful, as well as functional. French doors are also ideal for plantation shutters.
The shutter slat design has changed over time, but all colonial shutters or plantation shutters are cordless, but easily adjustable. The traditional size of louvre is 1.1/8″, but larger sizes of up to 5″ are now very popular. And shutters can be made from a wide range of woods as well as vinyl. Vinyl is a less expensive alternative than wood and is easy to install.
Because plantation shutters are mounted on the inside of a window frame and are primarily decorative, almost any type of wood can be used. Hardwoods are ideal because of their great looks, durability and stability.