Plantation Shutters: Timeless Elegance or Outdated Design?
In the ever-evolving world of interior design, trends come and go, but some classics endure. Plantation shutters are one such timeless feature that has graced homes for centuries. Shutters have an innate charm, but as design preferences shift, the question is: Do plantation shutters make a house look dated?
Plantation shutters are a customizable window treatment that allows them to take on a variety of styles- from traditional to contemporary. The evolution of shutter engineering has allowed the look of plantation shutters to develop over time. Going from small louvers, small panels, and tilt bars to large louvers and wide panels that we see today. Due to its large variety in style, shutters CAN look dated, but with the right design options, they are a beautiful modern option for today’s home. This is why plantation shutters are still the most popular window treatment we sell in Florida.
But, how do you design a modern vs dated shutter?
When Shutters Are Dated
When people talk about shutters being dated, they refer to what we rather describe as a traditional style. Today, most homes benefit from a contemporary look to bring in as much light and view as possible. But if you are trying to achieve a traditional look to match the style of your home, you need to rethink this approach.
Traditional shutters refer to 2 1/2″ louvers (sometimes even 3 1/2″ louvers), smaller panels, and the use of a traditional tilt bar as a tilting mechanism. This is the style that a lot of people think of when they talk about being “shuttered in” or shutters being “dated”. These options, create a lot of obstructions in the window, minimizing the view and making the window look smaller, providing the old style of a plantation shutter. As the picture demonstrates below, you can see how the traditional shutter has 12 sections, while the contemporary shutter only has 2 sections.
In many cases, the traditional shutters are also made out of wood and stained in a darker color.
Unless you intentionally trying to achieve the look of old-style shutters, there are no other benefits with this type of shutter style.
An order of a traditional shutter could look as follows:
- Stained Wood Shutter
- 2 1/2″ louvers
- Trim Frame
- Tilt Bar
- A lot of panels.
When Shutters Are Contemporary
In today’s era, we’re able to engineer shutters to keep the view, allow a lot of natural light into the home, as well as minimize the light leak when louvers are closed. To achieve this we aim to use 4 1/2″ louvers, panels stretching up to 36″ wide, and a hidden tilt bar mechanism, also known as clear-view or gear-view. The outer frame of the shutter is left without too many trim details, to provide a clean look. Less is more, is the key to designing the modern shutter.
4 1/2″ louvers make the windows look larger. They provide a beautiful view out when they’re in the open position. In a closed position, they work well to provide a room-darkening effect. Larger louvers mean fewer gaps between the louvers which also means less light leak.
An order of a contemporary shutter could look as follows:
- White Poly-Resin Shutter
- 4 1/2″ louvers
- 4 Bullnoze Frame
- As few panels as restrictions allow.
A shutter that makes your home look dated, is incorrectly designed to today’s standard. Shutters have come a long way over the past 30 years. From the shutters you remember at your grandparents’ home, to what we see in homes today. Make sure you work with a window treatment specialist who can guide you through the design options to best meet your needs both for function and design. At SunCoast Blinds we use a design-by-education approach, in which we work together with our clients to come up with the best solution for each opening.