In medieval Europe, rectangular windows on framed houses were donned with solid shutters. These were closed with the use of a large iron bars for added protection and security. During the Tudor and Elizabethan times, the more expensive glass windows were used and were reserved for the upper half of window openings. Windows were still closed with solid shutters.
During the fifteenth century, hinged glazed sashes started replacing solid shutters, after which, interior shutters were used increasingly for decoration purposes. In the early eighteenth century, England saw the emergence of window shutters and moldings as main decorative elements in small houses.
The increasing use of wood construction in the Victorian period was followed by the popularity of using shutters outdoors. When Spain colonized the Americas, they brought shutters to the New World. Traditional shutters found in New England have their roots in England, where narrower louvers
With shutters being such an easy and effective way to make the exterior of a home more attractive, we are beginning to see more and more styles available. Traditional wood shutters are quite beautiful, while vinyl shutters offer the benefit of being virtually maintenance free. When selecting your shutters you should keep in mind how you will be using them: for function or decoration.
The color of your shutters can have a large impact on the look of your home. Remember that a color that correlates closely with the color of your home will make your home appear larger. In the same manner, a dramatic contrasting color will bring out the rich tones in paint color, brick, and woodwork. There are colors available that range from black to aquamarine to patterned. A new company in Montross, Shutterstile, has designed a type of shutter made of bright tiles. In this type of shutter the frame remains the same, but the tiles in the center can be removed and replaced to compliment the changing seasons or to meet the style of the homeowner. Tiles can be made of glass, porcelain, ceramic, stone, or even cork.
After the decision has been made on materials and colors there are still many decisions to be made. For example, what style shutter would you like? The options range from louvered to paneled. A louvered shutter is probably the most popular and has horizontal slats, while a paneled shutter is solid with raised panels.
For those looking for more exotic shutters there are plenty more options available. The hurricane shutter, which was originally found in tropical locations, opens upward to provide shade when it is not closed. There are also board and batten shutters which have a more quaint, country feel to them. The styles, materials, and colors of today’s shutters can only be limited by your own imagination.
When determining the appropriate size for your windows there are several factors that should be taken into consideration. If your shutters will be purely decorative, measure the width of your window and divide by half. If your windows are particularly short you may want a more narrow shutter. Another factor to keep in mind is if you have different width windows and how that will look if the shutters vary in size. If you plan on installing fully functional shutters it is best to measure carefully from the inside or outside, depending on the mount you prefer, in several points on the windows as it is not uncommon for sizes to vary.
The interesting thing about shutters is that they are not limited to being just outside décor. Indoor shutters are becoming just as popular as outdoor shutters with just as many options available. One of the most common types of indoor shutters is the plantation shutter, which can unfold to cover the width of your window. This type of shutter has adjustable louvers that can be opened and closed to let in the appropriate amount of light.
For windows with deep window casings indoor shutters can be designed to blend in with the wainscoting of the window casing. This type of shutter is preferable in areas that may require complete blackout from the sun, like a bedroom. When these are used the sun can be blocked by a paneled shutter during the early hours of morning and folded against the casing to look as though they do not exist during the day. This is typically found in older homes with very thick exterior walls.
Shutters offer a wide range of options in blocking sunlight and weather or just adding a touch of elegance to your home. One of their most appealing aspects is their versatility. When used for their function they can be adjusted to let in more or less sunlight, as well as protecting against the other elements. For more information on which shutters are right for you contact a certified installer.