plantation shutters

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Decorating, Dining Room, My House, Office56 Comments

I’ve been “adulting it” since I was 18 years old…meaning living in a place not owned by my parents, paying my own bills, etc.  And, over those 22 years, I’ve learned the things I like and the things I don’t like when it comes to setting up house.  I don’t like wall-to-wall carpet.  I like hardwood floors.  I don’t like fluorescent light bulbs.  I like daylight incandescent bulbs and maybe some halogen and LED.  I don’t like electric stoves.  I like cooking with gas.

I also don’t like blinds.  I like curtains and shutters.

Ugh…blinds.  Blinds with their tangled cords and dusty slats.

One thing I marveled over constantly while in Europe was their ingenious shutter designs that were a part of the house.  They weren’t an afterthought purchased at the hardware store to replace the sheets that were tacked up until something more permanent could be installed.  They folded back into the walls or window frames or were on the outside, operated by a crank or lever.  Because they were built-in, they were integrated – clean and sleek.  It seemed like putting shutters on the windows was as obvious to the builders as putting a door on a room.  They complimented the architecture and framed out the window perfectly when they were opened.  They didn’t look slapped on like a pair of obviously false eyelashes.

MISS MUSTARD SEED TV

Ask me about blinds and I’ll tell you how I really feel.

In a new suburban home, the closest thing I could get to shutters that fold seamlessly into the window trim were plantation shutters.

My mom had them installed in her home, just one or two rooms at a time, and they added so much in function and also in form.  I knew that is the direction I wanted to go for a few of the rooms in our home.

The nice thing about how our house is situated is that the back is pretty private and there are only a couple of windows along the side of the house.  For the windows that run along the back, I’ve either made curtains or we have roll-up shades (for the boy’s rooms).  The only real privacy issue is with the windows in the front of the house.

This includes the dining room, my office, the upstairs guest/sewing room, and the master bathroom (which already had some blinds).  Since none of these rooms really needed privacy, we’ve left the windows naked.  It did feel like a bit of a fishbowl sometimes, though.  I would be in my jammies and someone would knock at the door and I knew they could see that we were home.  Or I would be sitting at my computer and a dog-walker would pass by and wave at me.  Window treatments of some sort were bumped up on my list when that started happening!

A few weeks ago, after lots of measuring, checking and double-checking, I ordered plantation shutters for the dining room, my large office window (that faces the front), and the master bathroom.  I ordered them from Select Blinds.  (As full disclosure, this is not a sponsored post, but I did receive a discount.)  Since plantation shutters have to be accurately fitted, they worked with me to make sure they would fit properly on my windows (specifically the one in my office that was 109″ wide!)

We got it all sorted out and they even contacted me a few times during the manufacturing to clarify some of the shutter design choices and how they would function.  For example, they suggested putting a horizontal divider, so the tops and bottoms could open independently and so they would have more stability.

The blinds arrived late last week in several larger boxes.  (The picture below is the pieces for the bathroom shutter.)

I must admit that I was a little intimidated by all of the pieces.  We had installed a shutter in my mom’s house and it was easy, but I didn’t remember having so many pieces!  Once we started to open the boxes and got the first one assembled, though, it all came back and it was just as easy as I remembered.  We had the first shutter installed in about 15 minutes.  I think it took longer to get them out of the boxes!

And they look so good!!  Not only do they look amazing, but it was…I don’t know how to explain it.  Comforting, maybe?  As soon as I closed the blinds and all of the louvers, it felt like we were insulated, cocooned.

I’m still considering adding full-length curtains on either side of the shutters in the dining room, but I’m going to live with these for a while before making that decision.  The shutters add some nice architectural interest and visually work just fine on their own.

I was most excited about shutters in my office, though.  I never liked that people could see in there (especially at night) and I always tried to keep the lights off as soon as it got dark.  Even during the day, I can keep the bottoms closed when I’m working at my desk, so people walking their dogs can’t see me sitting there.

I didn’t get a blind for the side window since privacy isn’t an issue, but I might eventually order one.  It would look more cohesive if all of the window treatments were the same in the room.

The blinds also pass the “Sebastian test”.  If I leave one open during the day in each room, he can look out the front (as he likes to do.)

We still need to install the shutters in the master bathroom, but I need to paint the window frame, casing, and sashes first.  We do have blinds there currently, so it’s not an urgent project, but I’ll probably get it done next week.

And I’ll finally take down that valance!  Can you believe it’s still there?!

Eventually, we will order shutters for the upstairs guest room windows, so all of the window treatments in the front of the house are the same.  There is a second story window in the foyer, but we’ll leave that as is.  We’ll also eventually get shutters for the basement family room window and the downstairs guestroom.  Both of those windows have the same wood-toned blinds that are in the master bathroom, so it’s not a high priority to replace them.  We’ll probably just order one at a time, here and there, until all of those windows are done.

If you’re interested in installing plantation shutters in your house, I would suggest a few things…

  • First of all, watch for sales!  Select Blinds runs sales quite often.  Currently, there is one running for 50% off everything.
  • Be very precise with your measurements and measure your window at a few different points, since most window frames aren’t perfectly square.
  • If you have a particularly large window, like the one in my office, send them an e-mail to see how to make the shutters work.  They were able to customize an order to work.
  • Keep handles, trim pieces, and other things in mind that might interfere with the installation or function of the shutters.
  • Install them with a friend, since they can be a little awkward to manage on your own.
  • If you’re using a powerful drill to drive the screws, dial the power back a bit, so you don’t drive the screws all the way through the plastic frame.  (Ask me how we know this!)

I have a busy week ahead with a day trip on Monday, parent/teacher conferences, a couple of church events, the boys are off of school Friday, and there is lots of work I’m going to try to weave through it all…

plantation shutters

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56 Comments on “plantation shutters”

  1. Your shutters look so pretty! Clean & crisp. I love that. I have always wanted plantation shutters. I’m like you, as soon as it gets dark I run around shutting the blinds. I’ll have to check these out.

    On a different note, I’ve been looking everywhere for the magazine that has your gingerbread houses in it. I thought you mentioned it was Romantic Homes. I finally found a Romantic Homes one yesterday and it has your article about decorating with live greenery. I really want to get the right magazine. Would you mind giving me the name and issue? I want to give those gingerbread houses a try. Yours were adorable. Thanks! 🙂

  2. They look great! We are building a house and I am considering plantation shutters for the windows on the front side of our house. Did you mention what size Louver you ordered?

    1. I ordered the 2 1/2″ louver, which was the largest I could get based on the depth of my window sills. If you have deeper sills, you can have wider louvers for inside-mount shutters.

  3. I love the shutters, I’d love to have them in my home. From what I can tell you had them installed inside (inside mount) is this what you would recommend?

  4. Wow I feel this is a very American or anti-community mindset. Privacy is good, but to avoid waving “hi” to someone by your house is a bit “run for the hills” in nature. I’m always looking for ways to connect to those in my immediate community as a person in ministry — my neighbors.

  5. I just visited Europe for the first time this spring and my wife and I both noticed the shutters on many buildings!
    It’s something I looked into after returning, but several places told me what I was asking for simply didn’t exist.
    Definitely going to have to look into these though!!

  6. I have loved plantation shutters for a long time. Because of the cost, and the fact that we’re not in our forever home, I have settled for the faux wood, wide slat variety. Some day…

  7. They are lovely Marian! I have them in my living room, dining room, and bathroom. I do enjoy them, but they do cut down on lots of light. I have lots of gigantic trees, so I take them off in the summer to get the most of the sunlight. But once fall/winter set in, I feel a need to be snuggled in my house and put them back on for privacy. They also help keep out the cold on winter days and nights.

  8. Just my two cents on curtains in the dining room. Those painted walls are about the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. The blinds are gorgeous but they don’t detract. I think curtains will, and if it were my room, I wouldn’t want anything taking away the attention of my painting – even for a second. You don’t need curtains. The room is perfect the way it is.

    1. Oh! I was coming on here to say the same thing Jo did! I love the mural and would hate to see even an inch of it covered up by curtains. And, as Jo said, the room is already perfect. I think it would start to feel a little stuffy with curtains added! But then, I’ve disagreed with you before on decor things, and you turned out to be right. You just seem to have a good “vision” for how things will look before they are done. That’s not a gift I have. And by the way, I love how your office has turned out, INCLUDING the fact that the other window DOESN’T match. I’m a huge fan of asymmetry and the gauzy tied-up curtain is such a gorgeous complement to the shutters on the other wall!

  9. I agree with Jo Nelson. Don’t take away from your beautiful mural masterpiece with curtains. It’s such a peaceful room.

    I’m thankful for the recommendation and the note on the sale. We have a bedroom that needs shutters right now, so perfect timing!

    Enjoy your week.

  10. Your posts are so lovely and inspirational. I too am on team “no curtains “. Enjoy your new shutters. I love ❤️ mine.

  11. I bought plantation shutters for my dining room a year ago from Budget Blinds. We have been so pleased. They came out and measured and then installed. I am on the no curtains bandwagon. I think they would detract and be just too much.

  12. So do the plantation shutters get dusty like most shutter? They are slats like blinds right? Love the look and I have plantation blinds. They get dusty and I don’t like cleaning them but they were inexpensive. Just wondering about the dust thing. Thanks.

  13. The shutters look beautiful ! How did you prevent the shutters from sagging the in middle on your office windows because they are so wide ?

  14. Like you I do not like blinds and have to have the plantation shutters. In my new home which is much smaller we have them on all the windows. They do add so much to the decor !
    Gives the rooms character I think since we have a brand new home!!

    Love how they look at your home!

    Home Depot has specials on them as well. This is where we ended up .

  15. I have plantation shutters in my living room. (Wish I could afford to put them in other rooms. Maybe one day). Yours look beautiful.
    I also love to cook on a gas cook top. I’ve only had it for about 6 years. I do have a question though. Even when I have it set on low my food still boils. I want it to simmer and just stay warm sometimes. Do you have this issue? What could be wrong with mine?

    1. It sounds like even your low setting is too hot. I have a specific “simmer” burner on mine that is smaller than all of the others. I’m not sure if there is a way you could adjust one burner, so the low is lower…

  16. Jan, go online to find directions for use for your model stove. Some stoves have a burner that is specifically for “simmering” and it may not be the smallest of your burners. The directions that came with the stove will tell you how of if your stove does a “simmer”.

  17. Hi Marian,
    I love the look of the shutters. They are so nice looking and let in so much light. I was wondering if you could share the source of your wall lights? I am looking for some for my living room and I really like the ones you have. I need ones that plug in. Thanks! I look forward to seeing how you decorate for Christmas this year!

  18. Hahaha! The comments about curtains. I see a big green/white buffalo-checked curtain in my mind’s eye!!!

  19. It’s obvious Sebastian appreciates your leaving a window uncovered in each room. His tail is out of frame in the very cute picture, but I’m pretty sure it’s wagging.

  20. Mariam,
    Awesome idwa as always, may have to steal that one.
    On a side note. I would love to know the manufacturer of the rugs that you have from Decor Steals, I have been waiting for them to return there for over 2 years now. I cant wait anymore. I am in love with them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Love everything you do!
    Thanks again,
    Jennifer

  21. How are you going to clean the shutters? To me, they are just as hard to maintain. I, too, think curtains in the dining room will be “overdone.” The shutters right now, open, cover your painting on the wall…curtains will cover even more. (My opinion.) Don’t you just love it that we all tell you what we think?

  22. Jan, my gas stovetop came with a “simmer plate” or “heat diffuser”. It’s a heavy metal plate that sits on the burner and it is only used at low heat—when simmering. Even then, I always watch the pot since the heat is still a little much at times. That’s the only bad thing about a gas stove…I can’t leave a pot of chowder to simmer. I have had the gas feed calibrated but I have decided that “simmer” isn’t in the gas stove vocabulary. You can purchase a heat diffuser for your gas stove at many stores 🙂

    1. YES! Bess, Becca, Deborah and Jo are right. It’s perfect just the way it is and, as Sabrina said to Linus,
      “More isn’t better. Sometimes it’s just MORE.”

  23. I love how these shutters look in your dining room & office Marian. They don’t look hard to me like some other blinds can. What a feat to have installed them yourselves! I’m so impressed by that. I’m sure they’d reduce some light compared to bare windows or open curtains but do you think they reduce much light compared to other blinds Marian? I think it’s lovely to wave to your neighbours from your yard or verandah but I think it’s good to have privacy and feel secure in your home. I, for one, do not want to inflict the vision of myself in pyjamas on my unsuspecting neighbours either! It’s hard to unsee things!

  24. Will you post a picture from outside so we can see how the shutters look from the street? Thank you!

  25. I love the rug in your office. Do you know the name of it? I have been looking for something like that.
    Thanks

  26. I love shutters. Unfortunately my windows are so large that the price would be through the roof, not to mention that I have a view and don’t want that blocked. But shutters look wonderful.
    Your dining room already has your beautiful mural so you don’t ‘need’ anything with more pattern and you don’t really need to soften the room- your paint brush already did that. ;0)
    Congratulations on the new purchase.!

  27. They are so beautiful on your windows! Did they match your trim colors? I always wondered if you could have them made to match your current trim colors. It was a great choice and very lovely!!

  28. LOVE LOVE LOVE plantation shutters!!!!!! We have had them installed in our past FIVE houses!!!!!!! I grew up with shutters in my childhood bedroom; then used them in an Army home when my husband was stationed at Ft Sam Houston (didn’t install them but the sills were wide enough I could set them on the sills). After our Army days we bought a home that had these HEAVY DUSTY drapes…….they HAD to go…….. My manicurist told me about Louver Shop and her shutters. I contacted them and our sales person (also installer) was FANTASTIC! From that point on we’ve installed as I said in five homes……..something I’ll never regret! Our daughter loved them so much that she persuaded our son-in-law to have installed in their home. They add so much to windows…..just a nice clean, finished look!!!

  29. Hi Marian. I love the shutters and I vote with the rest of the ladies for no curtains in the dining room! It would be too much. You want your mural to be the main attraction, not your window, and that’s what putting curtains around those shutters would do,. You’d be framing out your window and the mural would end up being a second thought. My sister and her now ex husband built a home and he insisted on shutters on every window. They were beautiful, but you still have to dust and clean them like the plantation blinds I have. She hated having to clean those shutters, lol! It the shutters are so much prettier and add a lot of character to a home I think. I know what you mean about the European shutters being built in to the windows, my deceased husband, and I went along of course, was stationed there for 4 years and I absolutely loved those “persianna” blinds! I was told that’s what the roll down part of them were called and I’m sure I’m butchering the spelling, but you could close them up and it would be dark as night in the house in the middle of the day. Great for napping, lol! We loved it there and made great friends with our Italian neighbors across the street. They flew to the states after our tour was up, and spent half their honeymoon with us. I’m still in touch with them to this day. I cried like a baby when we left because I didn’t want to leave my new friends and who would want to leave Italy? I loved it there and my 11 year old son just flourished there as well. That was 27 years ago. I could go on and on. I loved following your adventures on your trip there! Thanks for bringing back such great memories!

  30. You will find a very nice difference in your heating cost this winter in your favor. I had plantation shutters in every room when we lived in California. Yours look lovely!

  31. Like everyone else love love love your shutters. My mother back in the day had the small shutters and she would have loved this new look.

    If you ever get to Santa Monica, Ca. there is a fancy hotel called Shutters for
    the obvious reason!

    Yes, I think Sebastion has a little golden retriever in him. My goldens like to look out our long windows at the squirrels.

    I agree NO curtains!!!!!!

  32. One thing I need to mention is that in cold climates, the shutters can cause major moisture buildup on the windows in the winter, which can lead to big problems with mold. Be sure to watch out for condensation and keep the shutters wide open during the day to get warm air to the windows to dry them.

  33. I got plantation shutters for three windows that had no room for a hinge opening so I had them made as sliders. On the kitchen window so they looked built-in and two office windows where light control was essential. They were expensive but perfection itself. From Hunter Douglas.

  34. I love plantation shutters and wanted them in my living room, but I wanted to be able to open only the top section for privacy reasons. Every store I went to looked at me like I was crazy and said that couldn’t be done. I knew I had seen it in other homes. Do you have any pictures with just the tops open? I would love to see how they work for you. Also, are these wood? They are so pretty. I just love the look!!

    1. They are faux wood. My parents have solid wood and faux wood in their house and you can’t tell the difference between the two, so I went with the less expensive option. The top of my shutters don’t open separately, but I can open the louvers of the top and bottom sections separately if that makes sense. I think that would still work for you, though!

    1. They are 2 1/2. The depth you get depends on your windowsill depth and mine was just over 2″, so that was the widest I could get. I like that size, though.

  35. Marian, the shutters are lovely! I like plantation shutters, too, also curtains. There are some nice blinds, but way out of my budget, and I prefer the look and function of shutters more. Of course, since I don’t own a home, it doesn’t matter, I get what comes with the rental:)
    I’m the same way about working in an area where others may want to get my attention (in a friendly way). Since I enjoy people-watching, I would have a hard time ignoring passers-by and my work would suffer. I know that your comment wasn’t about disliking the dog-walkers or other neighbors, you just need to settle in and work with no distractions- isn’t that what an office is for?
    Thanks for the “Sebastian fix”.

  36. Love shutters and found a place here in Dallas that makes them without the center vertical bar so it gives them a cleaner/different look and easier to clean. Plus you can still break them up where you want to have areas that open independently.

  37. The shutters look beautiful! Was the do -it -yourself installation very difficult?

    I want to do this my bedroom.

  38. You have a lot of responses to this one.. I can see why! Plantation shutters are AWESOME! Those are always on my mind for our house, maybe someday.

    LOVE how your house is turning out! BEAUTIFUL and so cozy and comfy! I LOVE that you saved the Maple and wood colors to go with your whites and colors. LOVE that anchor of connected pieces! Your fabric choices are ALWAYS the BEST!

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