Interior Window Shutters – Everything You Need to Know

Last week you may recall that I put together a quick start interior design guide with a lot of the best posts in this body of 655 blog posts.

In that spirit, to make it easier, I’m putting all of the window treatment posts here via links, so this post too, will become a handy window treatment guide.

One thing a lot of you have been mentioning in the comments are plantation shutters.


To be honest, I’ve never done them any kind of window shutters and here are the reasons why:


  • Rarely have they even come up as an option. They are not at all common here, in the New York Metro area. I realize that in other parts of the country, particularly the south and maybe most coastal areas, they are popular.
  • They are super-duper expensive and clients freak out at the price. Yes, they do. They. Freak. Out.
  • Every installer has stated what a bitch they are to install. And, when I hear stuff like that, it makes me upchuck my dinner ummm… very cautious. The last thing a designer ever wants is having to eat thousands of dollars because of a mistake. It happens.


In addition, while interior window shutters serve the function of light control and privacy, I don’t find them especially appealing for the most part.


Well, that is… until I began to research this post. And, now, I’ve mostly changed my mind. Some of the window shutters I’m going to show you are stunningly beautiful! I know that is going to make some of you plantation shutter aficionados very happy.

Although, it really shouldn’t matter what I think. ;]

By the way, I will link the window treatment guide at the end of the post.


For now, let’s focus on the interior window shutters.


When most people talk about window shutters, they usually mean plantation shutters. However, not all interior window shutters are plantation shutters.

However, originally, shutters were only on the exterior of homes.


Photo by me taken in 2016 in Verona, Italia on instagram - exterior window shutters on instagram – exterior window shutters


And, then, they came inside for better light control, as well as protection from drafty windows. And, of course, to have privacy.


@allweatherexteriorsuk on instagram - plantation shutters

@allweatherexteriorsuk on instagram


Shutters are very big both in warm climates and super-popular in the UK.


Classic Homes Adam Architecture Bighton Grange -George Saumarez Smith drawing room window detail garden

photo: me :]

Classic Homes Adam Architecture Bighton Grange – George Saumarez-Smith drawing room window. For more of this spectacular home click here.

However, as you can see above, not all shutters have louvers.


So, what types of interior window shutters are there?


Traditional Shutters – These are the shutters with the small louvers. They are usually about an inch or so.


interior design -home staging expert Lotte Meister- Rye NY - den- Meg Braff Ferns Wallpaper

Some of you might recall Lotte Meister’s fabulous house I got to visit last year. This room is a den in the home. And, here we can see what look to be traditional interior window shutters. For more of this splendid home, click here.

And, please follow Lotte on instagram!


Plantation Shutters. These might go by different names, depending where in the world one is. Most of what I will be sharing will be plantation shutters. And I will go over what I think is splendid and some things to look out for.


The difference between plantation shutters and traditional shutters is mainly the size of the louver.


It is far larger on a plantation shutter. They generally range from about two inches to over four inches. But, I prefer a smaller louver, even on a large window.

Yes, the larger louvers do let in more light, however, if you have the folding type, you can open them all the way.


plantation shutters extra wide - please do not pin

Here are some super-wide louvers. As I said, I’m not a fan. #clunky

And, would prefer if you did not pin this image.


wooden-shutters-indoor-window-louvre-plantation-decorating-original source unknownI don’t know the original source, but think that these extra tall interior window shutters look splendid on these doors or windows. I can’t tell for sure what they are.


And, the last style are the solid panel shutters.


Usually they fold back into the deep inset as you can see in the George Saumarez-Smith home above.

Let’s begin with the solid panel shutters. I really love them. Now,  I realize that some will balk because you either have them open or closed. I guess it depends on the room. Sometimes shutters are only closed for privacy at night. And then it matters not if there’s light coming through or not. Right?


Fred Endall Building - NJ addition_ultimate window treatment guide

Fredendall Building – NJ addition


These are in a bedroom. And, as you can see the solid panel shutters fold back into the wall.


via the traditional shutter company - uk

via the traditional shutter company – uk


The two images above are solid panel window shutters. And these are also known as full height shutters because they cover the entire window.


window shutter style Loi Thai Tone on Tone

Loi Thai of Tone on Tone had made some lovely solid paneled window shutters for one of his homes in Maine.  These are also known as cafe style shutters


Foyer-interior- window shutters- via - great tutorial - DIY interior shutters The Art of Doing Stuff – Karen Bertelsen is a super talented woman. She actually made these interior window shutters. And, she shares a fabulous tutorial on how you can do it too. Please note that I said *you* haha.


However, my favorite style of interior window shutters are called either tier on tier shutters or double-hung shutters.


rod-collins-furlow-gatewood-dining-room Chinoiserie decor

Furlow Gatewood has such shutters on some of his windows in one of his homes in Americus, GA. photo by Rod Collins. For more of this spectacular home and others on Furlow’s property, click here.


photo – Rod Collins


Mr. Gatewood also has some lovely full height exterior window shutters.


Well, everything he has is lovely! :]


New England Shutter Co. - Edwardian Shutters

New England Shutter Co. – They are calling these Edwardian Shutters. However, they too are tier on tier shutters.


Ingredientsldn on instagram - interior window shutters

Ingredientsldn on instagram – interior window shutters

Shut the door!!!


Ingredientsldn on instagram - interior window shutters - bedroomCrazy beautiful!

She also has a beautiful website where they sell home accents


And, one last image of solid panel window shutters


photo Michael Sinclair via house and garden-ven-house - interior window shutters

photo Michael Sinclair via house and garden-ven-house

Love me some real French Country!

Click here for fake French Country.


Uh, Laurel… Aren’t you going to have some window shutters with louvers?


Please scroll back to right above the last image. Thank you. The rest of the interior window shutters will have louvers.


Okay… sorry to do this to you. And another one to not pin, please.


What do we think? Well, I’ll tell you what *I* think.

I think that these dark, heavy plantation shutters are a mistake.

The rest of the plantation shutters will be lovely.


Traditional-shutter-plantation-shutter-wood-shutter-slats- ali baba

However, these are sold on Ali Baba. That’s reminding me of this post from a while back. I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around that.

And, is that a bathtub? For people? It looks way too small to fit anyone larger than a standard poodle.


Shutterly Fabulous tier on tier plantation shutters - interior window shutters

via Shutterly Fabulous plantation shutters

And below is the before


Shutterly fabulous before shutters

Well, I think it’s fabulous both ways. That is definitely an architectural gem!


via theshutterstore - blue tier on tier shutters - interior window shutters

via theshutterstore – blue tier on tier shutters

How lovely is this blend of mid-century furnishings and neo-classical architecture.


Viking Blinds - Hunter Douglas plantation shutters

Viking Blinds – Hunter Douglas plantation shutters

This is reminding me of that insanely gorgeous Parisian apartment. Those were a kind of Roman Shade, however.


via shutterlyfabulous on instagram wood plantation shutters - interior window shutters

via @shutterlyfabulous on instagram wood plantation shutters

Quite handsome wooden and stained shutters


California-Shutters-cafe-style-premium-teak-shutters-in-Light-Oakvia The Shutter Store – California-Shutters-cafe-style-premium-teak-shutters-in-Light-Oak


Southbeach shutters - Top-Set-Open-Bedroom-Yellow-Shutters-Hybrawood

Southbeach shutters – Top-Set-Open-Bedroom-Yellow-Shutters-Hybrawood


Wow! Good morning starshine!!! (please listen along with me by clicking the link)


I think that we need shades for the shutters! haha - colorful shutters

Blue Closed Shutters-

Wow! That sure is a commitment. Would you ever consider such a bold statement in something that costs thousands?


shutterly fabulous bathroom plantation shutters - interior window shutters

Closing with this image from Shutterly Fabulous. I think bathrooms are the perfect place for interior window shutters. And, these plantation shutters look just right.


In conclusion, I think that window shutters can be a viable option.

Watch the louver size. And, go for the best quality you can afford.

My preference is for inset mount which requires a hefty amount of space.

In addition, quality, custom wooden shutters ARE expensive. They are sometimes made out of other materials. However.

If you’re looking for the Ultimate Window Treatment Guide, you can find it here.

Okay, I think that should do it.

Melissa has just updated the HOT SALES pages. You can check out the updates here.



40 Responses

  1. Hi Laurel!
    I’m in Arizona where harsh heat and light are what turn most of us to the shutter option. Also, not a large inventory on historic homes that smaller, traditional shutters would look appropriate. Most end up in large boxy builder home with no character or the low ceiling, 70’s ranch style home in an “older” area of town. I agree with the reader that states the shutters sometimes are the warmest architectural feature. We have a lot of older neighborhoods going under renovation turning old ranch homes into farmhouse/french country style. Though everyone rebuilding is trying hard to use little to no window treatments…why cover up those expensive iron casement looking windows you just installed?!….but the reality is they will find their A/C bill through the roof and searing light destroying those wood floors. But, I get what you’re saying:)

  2. I was doing fine. Got an early start to my day, had big plans. Then I decided to look at just one of your posts. I fell into the rabbit hole of the links at the bottom of your very interesting shutter blog.

    A whole day gone. Is that what they mean by “time well wasted”? Anyway, I had fun and learned a lot.

  3. Hello Laurel, I agree with you about the classiness of indoor shutters. In the house in which I grew up, my mother used two unusual shutter treatments that gave a custom look. For a breakfast area window, she used folding tier-on-tier shutters (with no louvers or panels) painted white, then had decorative inserts made of a kind of figural pierced Masonite, which was then painted black. The result was mod and up-to-date. For the powder room she also used blank shutter frames, but this time filled them with shirred fabric. These gave privacy, but with a more delicate look than most shutters.

  4. Hi Laurel, I’m a huge fan of your blog! I haven’t missed a single one in three years (and am working my way through the earlier posts…) I am originally from the Midwest, where plantation shutters are not common. Then, after living in California for a decade, I came to love the very practical side of plantation shutters- if used judiciously, in areas where drapes are not practical nor desired. We’ve since moved to the Pacific Northwest, into our new tract home (sigh…) to which, with your advice, I’m trying to add a bit of character. We had the large louvre (3.5″) style plantation shutters installed on the windows (interior installation) on the front side of the house, with 9′ ceilings and they block the hot western sun -practical, to be sure- but most importantly, they add some architecture where there isn’t alot of architectural detail nor trim. So in that way, they ‘warm’ up the house and because of the higher ceiling, provide character and structure without feeling too clunky and out of scale. Yes, they were expensive, but created by a local craftsman who measured and built them himself, so no installation snafus. I’m tickled with the way it worked out! Thank you for all the practical advice and shopping links throughout the years!

  5. Oh, just generally speaking. I guess what I’m really asking is it best that windows are uniform looking from the outside of the house. Because shutters are actually covering the window’s glass.

  6. Hi Laurel,
    I loved this article. It is so difficult to find articles on plantation shutters, and this one will get bookmarked – especially the patio doors. Up until now I had large louvers on the brain, especially for clients with beautiful views. I think the smaller louvers are lovelier, and then you can just open the shutters with a great view.
    Thank you, as always!

  7. I love all of the window treatments. I agree the super wide shutters are too big for the window size. I have installed wide blade shutters 3 1/2 wide. The are stunning. Great light and they really do help with the hot Florida sun. However my windows are very large and tall. A smaller blade would not be as attractive. I did so much research while I was inflicted with shutter paralysis. After a year I purchased. For me one of my top favorite upgrades for my 1986 ranch.

  8. Hi Laurel – I LOVE your blog…makes me giggle and is full of great information and inspiration. I just wanted to comment on the installation of shutters. I own a window treatment company. We sell and install any type of window treatment (blinds, shades, shutters and custom drapery). Shutters are not difficult to install if you have someone doing it who knows what they are doing and IF they were measured properly and ordered with the correct framing. I’ve sold them for 15 years and although I am eating the cost of an ordering error right now (ugh!) I have had very few issues over the years. I really don’t think people should be afraid of ordering them!

    1. Thanks for that Christine. Ugh. ANY window treatment can take a wrong turn. I’ve had to cough up many a dollar over the years. It’s always upsetting, but of course, it has to be made right for the client.

  9. A really enjoyable post Laurel and I especially love seeing the period homes you feature on your blog that happen to have interior solid panel shutters. I was hesitant to have them installed in my own house but you had said that you loved the look and it gave me the confidence to do it. It was difficult finding a craftsman to manufacture and install them but after much searching, I found a craftsman who was excited by the project and willing to do the job at what I thought was a very fair price (less than the curtain installer!). I absolutely love the solid panel shutters as they open and close so easily whereas the drapes take more work and time to make the folds perfectly even when you pull them back in the morning. The solid panel shutters are one of my favorite design elements of the entire house and very functional and now I can’t imagine the house without them. Thanks again–your solid and straight forward advice is invaluable and so very much appreciated!

    1. Oh, how cool! And, I believe you had sent me photos of your home a while ago? Hang on. Yes, I found the images. If you have other images, I’d love to see. It is better to take them with the lights off, if possible.

  10. What about window coverings (for a Florida Room with tall windows on three walls) for bitter cold weather in the North?

    Love your blog!

    1. Hi Marsha,

      I wouldn’t be able to give any advice without being in your home, seeing the situation, learning about the issues and then discussing the viable options. See? It’s not so simple. That’s why I can’t give individual advice.

  11. You always use the best photographs as examples to illustrate your points and I know that takes time. I have loved all the operable shutters l have had as they’re great for blocking the sun while allowing air to pass, and the end support is critical to louvers in hot areas, as noted above. My neighbor used wood and it looks great from the outside as he has multiple shades of brown in exterior materials and it makes for a coordinated look. Thanks for the post.

  12. You can also dress up master bathrroom plantation shutters with a pediment from an old French armoire. Would love to send you a picture!

  13. Oh Laurel, I so agree with you so much of this post! Confession: I put plantation shutters in my dining room in the 80s. I then took design classes and the teacher said if he drove up to a potential clients house and they had them he wouldn’t take the job. He said he loved plantation shutters on PLANTATIONS. I love the small blade traditional shutters though! Same way I feel about barn doors. Love them on BARNS! XO

  14. Hi Laurel, I love the post on the plantation shutters.
    My only question is, should one decide on shutters, is should they be on every window? Thanks.

  15. What a great blog on the different style shutters. I love the solid panels. Very different. I was wondering if you have a post on curtains etc. I have been battling on curtains or no curtains for all of my large solid pale windows. I know it helps frame a window, put then it seems at times to be heavy. Decisions, decisions.

  16. Laurel, Thank you again for a wonderful post that just might solve a problem for me. A few years ago we replaced all of the (horrible, small) windows with the new type of Anderson window that you can adjust so the outside portion can be cleaned from the inside. (does that make sense?)
    Anyway, they are wonderful except for the fact that you cannot attached an inner mount woven blind because you would be drilling through the rubber (or whatever it is) on the sides or the metal piece along the top. Has anyone else had this issue?
    Long story short your post Woven Wood Blinds might give me the solution
    “The shades are mounted outside the window frame, but Higher UP to allow as much light in as possible”. didn’t know that was an option.
    Going to give that a try!
    Thank you again for such an informative post.
    Best, Pam

  17. I love the cafe curtain treatment inside the casement of the shutters in the Furlow Gatewood house. I live in the south with setting sun (that’w why we have the shutters) hitting pretty hard in the living room. The heat wants to make the louvers bend. Sigh! (Thankfully, they do recover.) We are going to add draperies to the front porch to counteract the heat on the front door. (Sunbrella) I think this would be a great solution (not Sunbrella inside) for the living room window as well. Thank you for this excellent idea and possibly the solution we need. And gratefully, I sew!

  18. I’ve always loved wood shutters. For our last home I was able to find beautiful antique shutters that fit two of our rooms beautifully. Our current home we had to go with new. And yes custom is insanely expensive. I happen to see someone use Home Depot wood white shutters. I actually bought them for one room. No they aren’t the beautiful custom but they look pretty darn good! You have to make sure you’re ordering the wood and not dreadful vinyl. They’re the perfect solution when you want a simple clean fresh look for a room. They’re attractive and functional. Lucked out my perfectionist husband could install them with with the use of lots of adjectives.

  19. Wow, what a fabulous beginning of my day – reading this wonderful post! Thank you Laurel!

    Re: installation – it might be difficult because the window frames in older buildings are rarely perfectly square. But as I could witness, there is a way around it. My daughter and son-in-low have white wooden plantation shatters in their living room. It’s a big window. I happened to be there when the installer came. The shatters came pre-made in a frame (perfectly square), which fitted neatly in the window recess. It took about 15 minutes to install the frame and hung the shutters. Another 15 minutes to cover the small gaps between the original window frame and the shutter’s frame. I was impressed. The shutters look gorgeous.

  20. Hi Laurel,
    I really enjoyed this post! So my question is about exterior shutters. We are building a low country farmhouse in Florida. I want working exterior shutters for all windows and doors. The porch ones will have to be colonial (2 per window) but was thinking about top hung Bermuda shutters on the sides And back of the house. I was wondering what you and your readers thought about mixing the styles. I would make sure the louvre was the same scale.
    Bw Laura

    1. Hi Laura,

      I know that you mean well, but I try to discourage readers from asking specific questions unique to them, because then the comments could quickly turn into a forum. Since I have to moderate all comments, that could possibly kill me. Hope you’ll understand. If you’d like to submit your query for a possible blog post, you can send that in return to any email you receive from me.

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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