Interior Window Shutters – Are They Right For Your Home?

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white Interior window shutters layered with drapes

We have interior window shutters in almost every room of our house but before I go into my review I want to take the time to address an important point. You may know or have heard of this style of window treatment as plantation shutters, referring to the plantations of the American South where thousands of people were enslaved. Although the word plantation in and of itself is not offensive, the association of this window covering with the location of great human suffering is unwelcome and unnecessary. There is a movement in the interior design industry to replace terminology that originated in the time of slave ownership with more sensitive terms. For example, master bedroom is now primary bedroom and plantation shutters are simply interior window shutters.

What is the Difference Between Interior Window Shutters and Other Window Treatments

I love drapes and have used them throughout my home. But there are some functional advantages to using shutters over anything else.

  • Window shutters can block direct sunlight while still allowing natural light in and the outside view. Any other window treatment like drapes or shades will fully block the view when drawn in. Traditional blinds look dated and the string mechanism breaks easily.
  • Window shutters are much easier to clean than shades and drapery. Just dust often with a duster or use a damp cloth to wipe clean. I open the shutter panel and dust from the inside in one big swoop.
  • Window shutters remain classic and in style for decades. Most other window treatments can appear dated after a few years or need replacement because of wear and tear.

Layering window treatments allows you the freedom to choose exactly how much light to let in. I have my famous Amazon pinch pleat drapes over our shutters in the living room and bedroom.

White linen pinch pleat drapes, white velvet West Elm sofa, square ottomans, hardwood floors, builtin shelves styled with decor

Sofa | Drapes | Curtain rod | Decorative cane boxes

Functional advantages of interior window shutters

Window shutters do a great job of blocking direct and harsh sunlight but can be tilted to allow natural light in the room. They can even be completely open when desired. Having this access allows for easy cleaning of both the window and the shutters. Tilting them preserves the view while still blocking the sun’s rays.

Wood vs Composite/Polymer

Window shutters can be made from wood – painted or stained – or a polymer material. My recommendation and preference is always for natural materials. Depending on your supplier, you might be able to get the shutters custom painted to match the existing trim.

All of the shutters in my home are genuine wood. There might be a slight price difference between the two materials. But not enough to make the natural wood cost prohibitive. The only place that might warrant the use of a polymer shutter would be inside a shower. The moisture there will be detrimental to the wood.

Interior window shutters layered with pinch pleat drapes, pedestal with vase and faux florals, SW Agreeable Gray walls

Classic design style

Inside window shutters are made from real or faux wood. They consist of a frame that permanently attaches to the window casing. Louvers are connected to the shutter frame and tilt using a center bar or a hidden bar. From a design perspective, interior window shutters have become a classic design element in many architectural styles, not just the aforementioned style house.

They are neutral in their appearance and lend themselves to any design style – traditional, coastal, modern, farmhouse, etc. Window shutters look beautiful on their own or layered with drapery. To see more photos of my living room, check out my Honest Review of the West Elm Marin Velvet Sofa.

Interior window shutters, white velvet West Elm Sofa, boucle chair,  SW Agreeable Gray walls

Sofa | Drapes | Boucle chairs

Louver Size

The louver width of my shutters is 3.5′ but they can range anywhere from 1.25″ to 4.5.” The louver width also determines the opening between them when tilted to 90 degrees. I like the larger width because they look less like blinds and allow for a less interrupted view when tilted. The largest size would be more appropriate for very large-scale windows. Most standard windows will look best with a 3.5″ louver.

Interior window shutters

Center Bar

The more traditional-looking window shutters have a center bar- not a requirement for the functionality of the shutter. You can omit the center bar and have a hidden tilt bar in the back instead. This creates a more modern and streamlined look. I personally prefer the more traditional center bar option. I recommend handling the louvers instead of the bar to tilt them. If not, you risk breaking the thin wire that attaches the bar to the panel.

Interior window shutters

Inside or Outside mount

Similar to shades, window shutters can be installed on the inside of your window casing if there is enough room. Your window framing would have to be completely square to allow for an inside mount. Otherwise, your installer will install the shutters outside the window frame and on top of the molding.

Interior window shutters, white velvet West Elm sofa, round metal side table, white linen pinch pleat drapes

What is the cost?

Interior window shutters are an investment. But if you have tried pricing out custom shades or drapery, you might be surprised to find out that shutters are not leaps and bounds more expensive. However, they are the only window treatment that will not go out of style a few years from now, is very easy to clean, and adds value to your home. Any realtor will agree that shutters are similar to hardwood floors or other permanent enhancements when it comes to the value of your home.

You can save money by ordering your shutters from an online seller and installing them yourself. We also chose to install the shutters in phases as opposed to all at once. When you go this route, you avoid having to come up with a large sum of money or finance them but you will have to pay delivery fees with each installation.

Other factors that may influence the cost of interior shutters are having large windows or French doors.

Where to get interior window shutters

We purchased our interior window shutters from a local supplier and installer called The Louver Shop. Design consultants coordinate measuring and installation which are included in the cost of the shutters. You can order from a big box store like Home Depot or an online window treatment retailer like Select Blinds, Blinds To Go, etc.

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  1. Loved reading about the interior shutters. I have them on most of my windows and love them. But, in my bedroom, I have a sliding glass door with vertical blinds. Is there a way to use drapes with the blinds and still look good? I like that my blinds can keep out the sun as much as I want, but they don’t look pretty alone. Drapes always look so nice, but don’t know if the two can work together.

    1. You can definitely layer drapes over shades or blinds, and shutters of course as I have done here.

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