Exterior Window Shutters add function and charm

Exterior window shutters were used to provide light control, ventilation and privacy. On many of today's homes, window shutters only provide a classic look reminiscent of the houses from the Mediterranean region and England. We tell you how to choose the right size to complete your home's look.

Classic shutter on a home in the MediterraneanThe Spaniards brought exterior window shutters with them when they colonized the New World. Back then exterior shutters really served multiple purposes even when glass windows made their debut.

Most people who have homes or businesses located in historic districts may still have to select a historical looking shutter. However, they seldom use them for the above purposes. The shutters just enhance the features of the buildings as shown below.

Shutters can be ordered with an interior mount or exterior mount and various hardware. This largely depends on your tastes and how much you want to pay to make your shutter look authentic.

As shown above, colored shutters that are curved can really enhance a building and when combined with ironwork, make a home look very nice. Most people think that each window has to have two shutters. Usually that is the case, but some windows can have just a single shutter, as shown in this gallery of shutters.

Window shutters have been a standard fixture on most historical buildings. A lot of people prefer wood shutters for their windows owing to its durability, classic look, and low-maintenance appeal. Yes, you can get plastic shutters at any Home Depot or Lowes Improvement Center, but they also offer more sturdier wooden exterior wooden shutters for a few dollars more. These generally come in two styles- louvered and raised panel. If you want something different then you'll have to find a specialty store like the one that features the shutter gallery above.

Rules for Selecting Exterior Window Shutter

  1. If you have a house in a historical district or you are trying to recapture an older home's past glory, choose a shutter that is reminiscent of what was used back then. Old photos may be your best guide.
  2. If you are looking for a bit more elegance with your shutters, choose an interior mounted style that will show off the hardware mountings, hinges and pulls.
  3. If your choosing window shutters for a new addition or new construction, pay attention to the width of the shutter. You want to factor in the size of the house and the size of the windows when choosing.

Exterior window shutters

Although in most cases, the shutter will not be actually covering the window, it is not a good idea to choose narrow shutters 12" or 14 inch shutters. They may look fine when you are right in front of them, but they are best viewed from the street.

In our house, we found that 18 inch-wide shutters were ideal and provided good balance to the windows. We chose wooden raised panel panel shutters. They were primed with an oil base primer and painted with two coats of an oil based Benjamin Moore exterior paint. We experimented with different colors and dedided to go with Black.

Placing shutters on the right side of the house was more of a challenge. We tried several different combinations. Our problem was that there was only 36 inches between each window. If we installed 18 inch wide shutters, they would cover up the entire brick space in between each window. In our opinion, that would look a bit odd.

Shutters on each side of the windows

In the end, we decided to just flank the left and right side of the each window with a single shutter for balance instead of putting in a single shutter that would cover the center part.