Everything You Need to Know About Shutters

Are you thinking shutters? Be sure you have everything you need to know about shutters before making a decision that could make or break your home’s appearance from the street. Generally, I think people can look at their home (or neighbor’s home) and know something isn’t quite right.  You may not know what it is, but there’s something off about the whole look. Many times, if the house has shutters, this is the problem! When not done correctly shutters stick out like a sore thumb. 

Contrary to popular belief, not every window needs shutters and not every architectural style should even consider shutters. That said, it’s time to really dive into when shutters work and when they don’t, what type of shutters work on your home’s architecture, and common mistakes people make when they decide to hang shutters.


Next time you’re out, drive through some neighborhoods in your area. Find the spot where the builder decided to put on shutters… What do you notice? 

  1. The shutters don’t even appear to fit the windows.
  2. They have been screwed into the brick or siding so couldn’t close if they wanted.
  3. Many times the shutters are too long, too short, too wide, or too narrow.
  4. And forget about shutter hardware! Why would they have hardware? They don’t close.
Before and after of a home with new shutters

Things to Consider:

No. 1//

Shutter Size

Originally, shutters were made to keep out weather elements, noises, unexpected visitors, and animals. Before screens, people actually would open and close their shutters to serve a purpose. That said, shutter size is the most important thing to consider. Think, “What is the function of the shutter?” If it’s purely decorative, skip it or find a shutter that fits. Ultimately, that means that shutters aren’t ideal on picture windows, bay windows, double width windows. It just doesn’t make sense to mount shutters in these areas. 

No. 2//

Shutter Hardware

Shutters don’t look complete without shutter hardware. Again, shutters should at least appear to open and close. Hardware is needed to keep them open and closed; shutter hardware gives the appearance that the shutter is real and if it is real, you need it! 

  • Locks and pull rings
  • Shutter tiebacks, also called shutter dogs
  • Pintles and hinges

No. 3//  

Measuring for Shutters

When looking at your windows, you may think they are all the same size; however, that’s just not the case. There are slight variations in each window. That said, it’s important to measure each window separately and not just assume they are all the same size. Sunbelt Shutters has perfected the art of measuring and accurate measurements are key to the final look or checkout this Timberlane cheat sheet for more help.


Every home has a different style. Some are blended, like the modern farmhouse and others are easy to identify like the colonial. That said, there are different shutter styles for different types of architecture.  


Style 1.

Louvered Shutters

A louvered shutter is made with overlapping horizontal slats, equal distance apart, put in a frame. Driving around it is the shutter I see most often. Unfortunately, most of the time they are screwed into house siding and not hung correctly.  Louvered shutters used to serve as the primary window covering for folks in hotter environments. Because the shutter is slatted, it would allow fresh air into the house.

Style 2.

Panel Shutters

The traditional panel shutter is hard to beat! There are so many different types: raised panel, flat panel, trim, no trim, corded trim, etc. The combinations are endless! Panel shutters have solid pieces as opposed to horizontal slats.  They were originally used in New England where they were needed for protection from environmental elements, such as snow and rain.The flat panel shutter has become a brick and batten favorite!

Style 3

Bahama Shutters

Bahama Shutters are also called Bermuda Shutters. Exactly like the sound, Bahama shutters are often found in warmer climates because they hinge open at the top at a 45 degree angle, almost like a sun visor for your window.  Often seen around water, Bahama shutters are easy to pull down before rain erupts. These shutters look beautiful on beach houses and those in warm climates.

Before and after of a home with new paint and Bahama shutters

Style 4

Board and Batten Shutters

Board and batten shutters are made of four or five vertical boards and horizontal battens that hold the boards together. They were originally used on farmhouses, French Country style homes, and Cape Cod styles with stone, stucco, and siding; however, now they are seen all over! Board and batten shutters give a more casual and relaxed appearance

Before and after of a home with board and batten shutters

Not only do shutters come in a variety of styles, they also come in a variety of materials and price points. 


Wood Shutters

Wood shutters are gorgeous! They are traditional, authentic, and rich looking. Similar to a wooden door, wood takes a beating and needs extra care to look beautiful year after year. 

Composite Shutters

Composite shutters are a great alternative to wood. Generally they are less expensive and a step up from vinyl.

PVC Shutters

PVC shutters are your best option if you’re looking for quality and low maintenance.  It has the same beautiful appearance as wood but resists warping and moisture damage. 

Aluminum Shutters

Aluminum shutters are known for being extremely durable. They have the strength of steel but are lighter weight. Many are also hurricane rated, so great for the coast.

Vinyl Shutters

Vinyl shutters are typically mounted directly to the side of the windows and not hinged. This is the less expensive option. That said, keep in mind, your shutters should appear to be functional, so even vinyl should have hardware and fit the window.


Pro Tips:

  1. Don’t feel pressure to put shutters on every window of your house. Just because you have shutters upstairs doesn’t mean you need them downstairs under your front porch. That said, symmetry is nice.
  2. Don’t mix and match shutter styles.  If you’re doing flat panel shutters, then stick with that style throughout.
  3. If the shutter doesn’t fit because it runs into a wall or another window, then skip it! It’s better to go without than to jam a shutter where it doesn’t belong.

Before and after of a home with painted brick and newly painted panel shutters
If you need help with home exterior design, our design experts would love to partner with you on a project for your home. Our specialists are trained in color, doors, lighting, awnings, shutters, etc. Check out these before and after images and get inspired!

Overall, your house is a reflection of you. It should be beautiful and functional! Are you thinking shutters? Correct shutters can make or break your home’s appearance from the street. Be sure you have everything you need to know about shutters before making a decision on what’s best for you and your home’s architectural style.


Get started on your home exterior design today!