What are plantation shutters

Alternative to traditional blinds, plantation shutters are becoming increasingly popular for the home. They are a long-term investment, have an aesthetic style, and are known for their insulation feature. They keep the room warm during the winter and cold during summer. This multipurpose property makes them a must-have.

They are also low maintenance and don’t completely block the light making the room more spacious and comfortable. In addition, they are made from wooden louvers, which have a tilted style. They are similar to blinds but open like doors instead of pull strings. This article will guide you about all you need to know about plantation shutters, from why they’re called that to the styles they come in and more.

Why are they called plantation shutters?

Sometimes confused with colonial shutters, plantation shutters are very different, originating from the American South. As the name suggests, they originate from plantation farms that grew sugar, cotton, coffee, and tobacco. Southern America is known for having hot and humid weather conditions, and window curtains for this region were not well suited to the climatic conditions.

Thus, a more weather-friendly option was designed, known as Wooden or Plantation Shutters. Their large size, permanent fixture, and white color are designed to keep the room cool all through the hot months. They have large slats, which allow for maximum airflow and ensure privacy at the same time.

The history of plantation shutters

According to common belief, plantation shutters were invented in Greece around 800 B.C. The most common source of coverings on windows used to be wood or cloth and sometimes metal rods. The first plantation shutters were not made of wood; they were made from marble and other stones. They were made with this material to control light, airflow, and privacy.

Gradually, their demand in Greece rose, but they could no longer be made of stones like marbles because of the high demand. Thus, they introduced plantation shutters made out of woof. This allowed them to be more customized as well, and the type of wood, the width of each shutter, etc., was made according to need.

Slowly this trend spread across Europe and became popular in France under King Louis XIV’s rules. During the Tudor era, shutters were also introduced instead of one slab. Moreover, the material used here was timber, and they were foldable panels that could be secured inside walls. Once the shutters closed, they would place a metal bar to prevent intruders from coming inside.

Then, plantation shutters spread across America through the Spanish and gradually became an increasingly popular choice. They were used most in the American South because the southern plantations fit the shutters. Thus, the name “plantation shutters” came about in Southern America, but the invention itself took place in Greece.

Benefits of plantation shutters

There are many reasons why people have switched from curtains and blinds to plantation shutters. They offer many benefits; let’s explore some of them:

Improve sleep

Plantation shutters are considered to improve sleep and are also why they are often used in nurseries and rooms. When the shutter slats are fully closed, the pollution is completed blocked – aiding to a more restful sleep. They also help you breathe better for this reason.


They offer privacy and light at the same time. You have to draw them to the side with curtains, but with plantation shutters, slats can be tilted slightly, so they all have the right amount of light without exposing the indoors.

Retain heat

Another benefit is that they are good insulators and thus keep the rooms warm during peak winter.

Reduce noise pollution

When closed, plantation shutters will drown out the noise pollution from outside, which is useful for anyone who lives in a busy neighborhood.


As they ensure heat retention on chilly days, they allow for ventilation on hot and humid days as well. The airflow keeps the room from becoming stuff without compromising on privacy.

Increase property value

If you are into real estate, you must know houses with plantation shutters usually have a higher price. This is because they give a more well-maintained aesthetic to the whole house. Hence this is a good way to attract potential buyers.

Visual Appeal

Plantation shutters look like they belong to an elegant aesthetic era such as Georgian, Victorian, or Edwardian. They suit stylish and royal homes that look like they belong from the 1900s.

UV Protection

Another great thing about plantation shutters is that they offer UV protection. So not only are you protected from sun damage but also your furniture, pets, etc.

Low maintenance

Plantation shutters are also low maintenance – they can easily be cleaned and don’t let dust accumulate easily. This is a great option for those who have dust allergies and other problems such as asthma.


They are very versatile in terms of their use and customizability. You can get them made according to your window size, get them in any color, shape, type, i.e., hinged, sliding, folding, etc.

Timber or PVC Shutters?

Plantation shutters are often either made of PVC or Timber. Both look similar but are made from different materials. As the name suggests, PVC ones are made of PVC, while the timber ones are made of basswood timber. Let’s discuss who should buy PVC vs. Timber.

PVC plantation shutters can easily be installed in any room of the house, be it the tv lounge, kitchen, laundry room, etc. This is because they are UV resistant as well as water resistant. They are also more durable for areas like the kitchen and bathroom as they have an aluminum core. This means they are sturdier and will endure more rough use.

However, PVC ones have a high carbon footprint and are thus not for those who are environmentally conscious. They are also heavier than Timber ones, and often two panels are often used to make one shutter, which does not give the same sophisticated and clean look as timber ones. They also have a more plastic look which a lot of people will not want in their bedrooms or living rooms.

On the other hand, Timber ones are more commonly used by those who want a more resort aesthetic at home. They have a sleek finish and create a classic ambiance. Timber can also withstand rough use, but the best part is that these are sustainable and environmentally friendly. They are also lighter than PVC shutters and are often available in all sizes, and do not require you to attach strips to form one panel. Moreover, timber shutters are regarded as one of the best solutions for insulating windows during extreme weather.

That being said, Timber plantation shutters are not suitable for moist and wet areas as they will soften the wood. They are also comparatively more expensive than PVC shutters. In addition, they will require paint coats over the years.

What styles do plantation shutters come in?
When it comes to choosing these shutters, you can choose from the following based on your privacy, convenience, and light needs.

Full height

These plantation shutters cover the entire window, which is one of the simplest styles available. They often come with mid-rail, making them more versatile so that the slats can be split. They give a classic ambience in the room and give an illusion of a cupboard because of their length.


These plantation shutters offer the most versatility. They have an upper and lower panel that can be opened and closed individually. This means you can have the top panels open while the bottom ones stay shut if you are looking for only a specific amount of airflow or sunlight. This style is usually found in windows overlooking bays but can be installed anywhere if you want to control the privacy, airflow, and light throughout the day.

Café Style

This style of plantation shutters allows you to keep the bottom part of the shutters closed during the day and the top to be open. This means you can sit next to the window at your coffee table during the day while the light enters from the top panels and the bottom ones remain closed to keep your life at home private.


Perfect for those people with a snug interior and that need maximum privacy. If you live in a city or a very busy neighborhood, investing in solid plantation shutters will be best as they help keep noise pollution to a minimum. They allow no light to pass through when closed, so if you love a dark interior, this is the style for you.

Can you mix Plantation Shutters with other window coverings?
If you are getting plantation shutters but don’t want to let go of your all-time favorite curtains? Fret not, because you can mix and match plantation shutters with curtains, blinds, etc.

If you’ve gotten plantation shutters but want to add a soft touch to the classic shutters, then you can also add see-through or light-colored curtains in front. You will not completely block the light this way but will only make the room more stylish. Curtains also help you adjust the intensity of light.

Moreover, when curtains are open, you can close the shutters if you want to stop the noise pollution from outside. This combination of shutters and curtains is often seen at small boutique cafes.

Café style shutters and curtains look best as enough light seeps in, but your privacy remains intact. Moreover, adding colorful or printed curtains leads to a more decorative atmosphere as the shutters are mostly plain. Adding texture through curtains can add an element of thoughtfulness to an otherwise simple and plain room.

Even with bay windows, you can add a soft touch of fabric or curtains that follow the shape of the window, be it curved or angled. Even drawn to the side, they add elegance to the overall room.
Moreover, it may be hard to change your plantation shutters frequently, but your curtains can be replaced easily, depending on your mood.

Frequently Asked Questions – plantation shutters

Below are some common questions asked regarding plantation shutters.

Q. How much do plantation shutters cost on average?

They cost starting from $70 to anywhere around $420/window. However, it depends on a lot of factors such as the size of the window, custom or standard size, the material they are made from, etc. Wooden ones, for instance, are more expensive, while faux shutters are cheaper in comparison. Of course, another factor to weigh in is where you are getting them from.

Q. How difficult is it to clean plantation shutters?

They are generally low maintenance and just require regular dusting or vacuuming. However, you can clean the PVC ones with white vinegar if your plantation shutters are too dirty and haven’t been cleaned in a while. Avoid using water on them, especially those made of wood, as the wood will warp and lose its color.

Q. Which rooms should you have plantation shutters in?

Install them in rooms that require more insulation first, i.e., larger rooms with old windows. The answer, however, depends on your needs. If there is a room in the house that does not block or let light in as per your needs, get shutters in that room as they will give you that control. Also, consider other factors such as privacy and which rooms feel exposed to the outside world.

Q. Are plantation shutters suitable for larger windows?

They are not the most economical solution for large windows; vertical shades or wood blinds would be cheaper than plantation shutters. However, most people prefer plantation shutters because of their vibe and aesthetic appeal. They can, thus, be installed in any window; it comes down to what you prefer more.   

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