To Shutter or Not to Shutter…That is the Question

architecturally correct shutter

Recently, a friend of mine asked me about shutters on her 1950s ranch (great location with a lot of renovation going on).  The house has two large windows to the left of the front door and two separate single windows to the right of the door.  Clearly, the shutters were fake and she was looking to replace with new, properly hung shutters.  However, the larger window would require very large, wide shutters to be appropriate and real.  Consequently, eliminating shutters on the left may make the house feel out of balance in some way (her concern).

This design dilemma is something brick&batten sees quite frequently.  The war over the window shutter!  As a purist, I don’t like the look of fake shutters.  I crave the authenticity of angled, real shutters that create shadows on the house.  Shutters that have hardware that works…even if I never choose to use it.  However, I see her point.  Removing one side of shutters may create the illusion of imbalance.  In any event, imbalance can be remedied, fake shutters cannot.

House exterior window shutters, decor, design, 1950's ranch, window

Friend’s 1950s ranch home


Why Not Fake Shutters?

When I’m driving around, I see countless examples of shutters that couldn’t possibly cover the window.  Shutters that are attached flatly against the wall next to the window…sometimes even with a large gap between the window frame and the shutter.  Subsequently, the eye knows something is wrong.  Architecturally, the shutter is destroying curb appeal.  Leave those fake shutters on aisle on 9 and let’s focus on doing it right…or not doing it at all. Why?

  1. Your home is your biggest investment and real shutters will add to that investment.
  2. Fake shutters don’t angle properly and therefore shadows are completely lost.
  3. Windows are a big part of curb appeal and should be adorned appropriately.

Shutters Don’t Belong On Every Window Or Every House

In fact, in my business, we spend a lot of time taking shutters off when not appropriate and leaving them off.  Especially when the homeowner does not intend to stay long enough to recoup the expense of adding real shutters. Reasons we would take shutters off?

  1.  The window is too small and tiny shutters would look ridiculous
  2. The window is too big and massive shutters would cover too big of an expanse on wall.  Not enough room.
  3. The window has an arched window above that would force us to use arched shutters…this is case dependent.  IF arched shutters compliment the architecture, possibly an option.  However, this is not the rule.

Back to our dilemma, I would opt to leave the shutters off the larger window.  Next, I would consider these options…

  1. Removing the shutters from the other side as well and adding more window trim to all the windows to add interest on a large exterior wall that may feel barren without the shutters.
  2. Removing shutters from left, large window and replacing shutters on right with authentic shutters, angled appropriately, and hardware.  An imbalance can be addressed with other decorative items like windows boxes, window trim and landscaping.
  3. If option 2 is chosen, keeping the shutter design simple will aid in not overpowering the left side.

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Hope this helps!