Are Plantation Shutters Right for Custom Homes? | Louver Shop of Boston
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Plantation Shutters: Are They Right for Your Custom Home?

I bet you have noticed plantation shutters in more and more homes. You might even have wondered what the fuss is all about — or the even bigger question, should you add them to your custom home?

Today, I want to help you explore the ins and outs of this kind of window treatment to help you make the ideal choice for lasting comfort, ease, and of course, home value. I’ll be sharing the same questions and considerations that I mention with clients when designing their home along with their architect and builder. By the end, you’ll be ready and confident when you have this conversation for yourself!

But first, what are plantation shutters?

What Are Plantation Shutters?

Plantation shutters are a built-in features of the home, installed to sit directly inside the frame of your windows. One or more columns (called “panels”) of horizontal slats (called “louvers”) sit within the frame and can be angled up and down to let in more or less natural light.

I particularly love that you can adjust them at an angle that keeps harsh sunlight away while still letting in a refreshing breeze from the open window. Or, you can physically open the shutters, like a swinging door, to let the entire outdoors in.

Funnily enough, even though the name plantation shutters would suggest origins from the deep south, it’s believed that the very first plantation shutters came from ancient Greece and were mostly made of marble! They were used to ensure privacy and shield interiors from rain, dust and debris.

Although no longer made with marble — at least not on this side of the Atlantic — it’s amazing that plantation shutters still uphold these useful, beautiful functions in modern-day homes.

What Are the Benefits of Plantation Shutters?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, let’s review all the reasons to fall in love with plantation shutters…

  • Offers versatility in design to fit perfectly with the home’s existing architecture
  • Provides a stunning, custom built-in feature on the interior of your home
  • Delivers beautiful and inviting curb appeal from the exterior
  • Offers a perfect choice for convenient light control and extra privacy
  • Durable and cordless, making them a safe and stress-free solution for a household with children
  • Energy-efficient, keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter
  • Easier to clean and maintain than dust-collecting fabric window treatments

Best of all? Each of these incredible benefits will not only support your daily lifestyle with function and flow but will bolster the value of your home. After all, it’s a fixed feature that you won’t take with you if or when you ever move. But how will you know if plantation shutters are ideal for your new home in particular?

If you’re working with an architect, builder and interior designer, they will be able to point you in the right direction. But until then, here’s an overview that can help…

Traditional vs. Modern Homes: Choosing the Right Plantation Shutters

Although traditional and modern homes sit on different ends of the style spectrum, I’ve seen plantation shutters work well with both. The secret is to find a style of plantation shutter that feels equally as modern or traditional as the home. Since the plantation shutters will become part of the home’s architectural character, it’s important that they match.

Fortunately, custom-made plantation shutters do come in a vast range of design options, from a variety of louver sizes to finishes, and colors to custom detailing. So, which specifications are right for your custom home specifically?

Plantation Shutter Styles for Traditional Custom Homes

dining room 

In traditional homes, conventional shutter styles have double panels designed to cover the entire window from top to bottom. The most popular louver sizes are 2 ½” - 3 ½”. These are thinner than you’ll see with more modern styles, which means that more louvers are necessary to fill in the same amount of vertical space. More traditional styles will also have a centrally located tilt rod.

As for the finish, shutters made of wood or polymer offer the option to be painted to blend into the room or, better yet, pop out and make an eye-catching statement. Either choice is suitable in a traditional home and can be used as a stunning effect.

Plantation Shutter Styles for Modern or Transitional Custom Homes

living room 

For transitional or modern-style homes, less is more! A single panel with wider 4 ½” louvers (you can see that there are less of them than the traditional version) and a hidden tilt rod will give the room a clean, contemporary feel. Again, the shutters can be customized using various materials, paints or stains for the perfect aesthetic to match your home and your preferred style.

The Best Plantation Shutter Choices by Room

Following the trend with the adaptability of plantation shutters, they fit well in any room, though the type of room in question will determine the perfect material choice. Again, your architect, builder and interior designer will help guide you in finding the right choice, but here is my advice:

Polymer Shutters

These can be useful in rooms with more moisture and heat, like the bathroom or laundry area, and can be painted if you prefer a lighter color. An added bonus? Polymer shutters are the most energy-efficient, with 30% more insulation than a wooden material.

Wood Shutters

Wood shutters bring versatility to the window with their limitless painting options. If you want to paint your shutters a darker color, the wood surface is ideal for paint adhesion. Or, they can be stained to match other wood details in the home. You also have the option to create more decorative elements, like a contoured tilt bar and beveled louvers, which can further heighten the style of the shutter and your home as a whole.

Hybrid Shutters

Hybrid shutters are a slimmer product, suited for smaller windows with little depth between the window and the wall. They have the strength of wood and the energy efficiency of polymer. Plus, they can be painted, opening up a world of possibilities.


The Verdict: To Shutter or Not to Shutter?

As a designer, I always encourage plantation shutters as an option for clients building new homes. They are stunning, functional and increase home value, making them a great choice all around. However, the one downside is that a bit of light will show through plantation shutters, even when closed. If you are designing a room that you want to stay dark, like a home theater or video game room, consider installing drapery or blackout curtains, like I did in my own home, pictured above!

Compare Shutter Styles with Our Visualizer Tool

A convenient way to visualize shutters in your home is to try HomeView by Louver Shop. You can pick from a collection of sample photos or upload one of your own to add shutters onto window and door openings. Explore customization options like color, louver size and other details to see what new plantation shutters can add to your home.

What’s Next?

If you are considering adding plantation shutters to your room, plan ahead! Shutters take time to assemble and finish since they are made specifically for your windows. Talk to an expert on your new build team or reach out to a specialty supplier (like Louver Shop of Boston) to get all your questions answered.

Here’s to your happiest home!