poll window treatments

Out of Curiosity:: Plantation Shutters, Yay or Nay?

Here’s another topic about which I have very strong feelings: Plantation Shutters.

I leave nobody guessing where I stand on plantation shutters. I don’t like them. And let me tell you why.

First, they’re crazy expensive. I mean, you can spend thousands…THOUSANDS…of dollars just having these things installed in one room of your home. And then what I find is that 95% (or more) of people who just spent thousands and thousands of dollars on plantation shutters don’t want to turn around and spend more money on draperies. Nope, they just want their shutters. Only shutters. Nothing else on the windows. Shutters. (Can you hear the irritation in my voice?)

Do you remember my chandelier post last Monday? I talked about how so many people tend to decorate only the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of their rooms. Well, I find that this is generally the case in rooms where people have invested thousands of dollars in shutters. Take a look at these rooms as examples.

Do you see how bottom-heavy this room is?!  There’s absolutely nothing of interest to bring the eye UP.  Everything decorative sits in the bottom 1/2 of the room.



And again…only the bottom 1/2 (or more like 1/3) of the room is decorated.  What a missed opportunity!!  Imagine what this room would look like with gorgeous draperies on those windows, and a beautiful chandelier over the bed….and artwork on the walls.  This just looks so bare bones to me.


In fact, I had a VERY difficult time even finding decent examples of plantation shutters with draperies!!  Here are a couple that I did find.

See how the draperies bring the eye up and actuall “frame” the plantation shutters?  They also add softness to otherwise hard surfaces, and offer a great opportunity to add color, pattern, and texture.  I’d still add a chandelier to this room if I were decorating it.  via Oregon Live.

I love the softness that these add to the window.  via Shutters, Shades and More.

So that’s me…not a fan at all of plantation shutters.  But it’s not because I don’t like the actual shutters.  It’s because they’re so expensive, and in 95% of the rooms I’ve seen them in, I don’t think they stand alone as a finished “window treatment.”  I’d much rather see pretty fabric in a beautiful color, pattern and texture.

So what about you?



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43 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Cote de Texas
    February 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    great pictures. i love curtains with shutters!!! otherwise it is too cold and harsh looking for me.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    {the.sassy.wife}
    February 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    this post has shown me that: a) i need to clean my blinds and b) i need to get window treatments for all the rooms in my house. it's definitely bottom heavy!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    courteneykay
    February 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I agree, I think that curtains complete the room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Click Clack Sofa
    February 21, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Nice postings. Keep it up. Your blog is awesome.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Michelle R.
    February 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    The only reason I have them in my home is because they were there when we moved in. I must say, those with curtains do look so much better than those without. I have not done anything but always felt like I couldn't. (Translation: Didn't want to put forth the effort to make them look better.) You do realize that I will blame you when my husband starts to question why I putting curtains up now after nine years!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Chamallie
    February 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    The first pic is so pretty but you're right it's too bland up top. I think some pretty buttery drapes would love very nice..pulling the room together. It would compliment the chairs and centerpiece well.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    chamallie
    February 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Oops.. I meant LOOK very nice not love..lol

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Laurie
    February 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Oh Kristi I hear you, I love them, but I have to have something to soften them. What I really want is just bottom shutters- so I can have privacy AND light, but again I have to have drapes as well. Yes crazy expensive and that is why I don't have them yet. I work the other way around. drapes first + cafe curtains as place holders for my eventual shutters.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carol-Anne (Use the Good Dishes!)
    February 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    You know, I'm torn. Sorry to be the loan dissenter in the group….but in SOME rooms, I don't mind them alone.

    You have opened my eyes to the idea of curtains/drapes really 'finishing' a room, though.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anonymous
    February 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    GReat post. Great examples of the 1/2 decorated rooms. I like the look as well but the cost is sky high… even the vinyl ones. If you ever want to open them up you have to think about how much room you have on either side of the windows and what furniture is in the way. Nay…

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tara Smith
    February 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Love the draperies with the shutters. I think it's a very nice "finished" look. Maybe I love it because I don't have it… I'm window treatment poor 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    isenglass
    February 22, 2011 at 12:44 am

    I'm so glad I've found your blog. We close on our new house a week from today and I'm lost when it comes to decorating. Right now we're living with our "Early American Garage Sale" style, as my husband has dubbed it and can't wait to move on to more sophisticated surroundings.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Leigh
    February 22, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Can't stand them. Not only are they super expensive, but they're HUGE dust collectors and a pain in the rear to keep clean!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Melinda Faranetta
    February 22, 2011 at 3:33 am

    I detest shutters. When I first moved to Dallas from (Bucks County, PA)I could not understand why all the houses looked so cold more like office buildings than homes. After touring a few homes to buy, I realized it was the plantation shutters covering the windows. You couldn't see into the homes from outside and you couldn't see out from inside. Needless to say, I took down all the shutters in my house. My least favorite is when they use shutters on multiple windows and you cannot open them without covering the window on either side.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mel
    February 22, 2011 at 6:53 am

    There were plantation shutters in our home when we purchased it, in the kitchen and the main living space which is basically all connected anyway. First off, they are beautiful. They really are so classy compared to our windows with (very nice) blinds. Downsides? The way the windows are spaced and placed makes it difficult to even try to imagine taking on the task of finding window treatments. They don't really OPEN the way you can just lift regular shades so they don't let in as much light. They open, but not the kind of opening where you would let them sit open because the shade itself would be hanging out in the open. BUT they really block out that bright in my face while I'm cooking light that normal shades don't quite cut it on. And, they are beautiful.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jamie Cutri
    February 22, 2011 at 6:58 am

    This post came at just the right time! My house has all shutters and I was debating if I should put up any drapes to make my home feel warmer. But wasn't sure because I have not seen a single home that had both shutters and drapes. In fact your pics are the first I have seen. I will definitely put something around my shutters. Thanks : )

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Martha Stewart Bedding
    February 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Have to disagree with you here. I love the way those shutters look. Ok, yes, they are more expensive, but if money is not an issue I would go with them anyday.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    The O's
    February 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I can't stand them! For lots of reasons, how hard they are to keep clean, how expensive they are and how bland they look. I love drapes and having stark shutters like that just isn't my style. Also, I love change and I don't like how permanent they are. I want to be able to switch out shades (roman), drapes, bamboo style shades, etc. So, anyway, they're just not for me…..not that we'd EVER be able to afford them anyway! 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Teri "Terrific"
    February 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I LOVE the look of the shutters! I have the good fortune of being from a creative family, so would probably have 'faux' shutters made (I'd never close/open them anyway); and would make draperies.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Shutters
    February 22, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Shutters are a big investment for any home owner, but they last years and make any window and room stand out. I say yes to shutters. PS: I love the pictures of the shutters

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Liz
    February 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I love them! They are so crisp looking and i love cottage looking places….shutters remind me of our own cottage (with shutters!)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Cammee
    February 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I actually have plantation shutters and I LOVE them. Hands down the best money I have spent on my house. They are super easy to clean, too. I don't get the comments on them not letting light in. They must have smaller slatted ones? Mine are 3 1/2" slats and I get great light. I have draperies on all of my windows except the full length one in the bathroom, it's too close to my shower curtain.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    momwhoknits
    February 27, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    I really like shutters, but like most people can not afford them right now. I also love drapes/curtains and they are more affordable. So if I could convince my super cheap husband I would have both! Thanks for the post I love this blog! So inspiring and helpful to decorating challenged people like me.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    momwhoknits
    April 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    I really like shutters, but like most people can not afford them right now. I also love drapes/curtains and they are more affordable. So if I could convince my super cheap husband I would have both! Thanks for the post I love this blog! So inspiring and helpful to decorating challenged people like me.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Click Clack Sofa
    April 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Nice postings. Keep it up. Your blog is awesome.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jamie Cutri
    April 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    This post came at just the right time! My house has all shutters and I was debating if I should put up any drapes to make my home feel warmer. But wasn't sure because I have not seen a single home that had both shutters and drapes. In fact your pics are the first I have seen. I will definitely put something around my shutters. Thanks : )

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tara Smith
    April 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Love the draperies with the shutters. I think it's a very nice "finished" look. Maybe I love it because I don't have it… I'm window treatment poor 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jim
    June 14, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Looks better with the shutters alone.  The curtains cheapen the look.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    newtonova
    July 3, 2011 at 2:54 am

    We just bought a house with shutters in every room and I need to dress them.  I've been searching the internet for examples of shutters with drapes so thanks for posting.  I think I like the look of tailored drapes better than fuller ones, especially if there are multiple windows in the room.    

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Arbrown01
    September 1, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    I love the clean, uncluttered look of the shutter.  My style is contemporary (mid-century) with added touches of asian pieces and/or a fabulous antique.  I wan to redo my bedroom that has plantations in it.  I just finished a redo of my bath in a spa style.  I want the bedroom to carry with it.  I see the plantations working with a dark square headboard, a lacquered parsons sofa table as a vanity, maybe some bamboo, natural grass pieces with white bedding trimmed in greens to run with the bath.  I would love to a one bright color in a bed pillow to add some punch.  Maybe 3 good size asian prints over the bed, thick wood shelves attached to the wall to serve as side tables and sconces on both sides of the bed. 

    Your thoughts? 

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Austin Shutters
    November 9, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Interior shutters (and even plantation shutters) don't have to be that expensive.  Modern vinyl shutters are relatively inexpensive and maintenance free.  And the framed construction of modern window shutters can really increase the R-value of your windows, saving on energy costs.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    D
    December 19, 2011 at 1:31 am

    They are no more expensive than good drapery. My living room drapes cost me $5 thousand . My shutters for the same window coverage cost me $3,800.

    So I don’t buy your argument of them being too expensive.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi
      December 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

      In 2009 (the most recent info I could find), the median household income in the U.S. was just at $50,000. I would say that spending 18% of one’s annual income on drapes and shutters for one room (or 8% for just the shutters for one room) would be out of the question for most people. Consider yourself fortunate that you have that much disposable income, but yes, it’s expensive for most people, no doubt about it. And $5000 for draperies is not exactly typical. One could dress their windows with very nice (even custom) lined draperies for a fraction of that.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tamara
    January 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I have very nice wood plantation shutters throughout my house (along with additional window treatments) it ran us about $20,000 for the shutters. I love them. We live in a tropical climate and they are wonderfully energy efficient. In our previous home we had Pella Windows with the sealed blinds between and that was just too, too institutional for me. Nothing elegant about those sealed blinds and they were as much as the shutters although no cleaning required. I don’t think shutters go in every home but they go beautifully in ours and I love them!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Fastbaby
    February 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    I believe opinions on shutters are a regional thing. In the Southeast where I live (central Virginia), shutters are somewhat common and would certainly add value to a home. Perhaps it is personal preference, but from all sources I have spoken with around here, plantation shutters, while pricey, are the one window treatment that are considered part of the house for resale, and can earn 100+% return on investment. To each his/her own, however! I personally love the clean, airy, structured look of them 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Delma
    March 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I prefer the clean look of shutters too. I have never been a fan of drapes. Yes, some drapes can be done for a fraction of what shutters cost but shutters remain a classic. Drapery styles change so often, the cost may actually exceed shutters. I think some styles of drapery look heavy or overdone just as some might think shutters alone look understated. Personal preference I suppose. I have known many women who can’t have any walls in their home “untouched” or not decorated with something. While many see a bare wall as boring, I still say that less is more.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    anne
    May 30, 2013 at 1:34 am

    This is just so nice. My home has just been renovated and I am considering custom shutters to liven its appearance.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Valerio
    January 20, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    I had always been a fan of plantation shutters until I read this post. I had never really thought of using them from a design perspective (shocking from an interior designer, I know – my excuse is that my clients just never use them) but now that I can see how often only the bottom half of the room is dressed I don’t know why I would ever recommend them. As you have shown in the following images, plantation shutters can be used and dressed well but you will probably need the help of a professional to achieve this.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Bill
    August 25, 2014 at 2:19 am

    The top 2 pictures are spectacular. Leave the top third alone. It’s like the earth and the sky. It is meant to be open, airy. Curtains went out with La Ti Da…so 20 minutes ago! Design is totally subjective, you call a room “bare bones”, I would say simple, clean and classic. In the second picture any art added (I’m a big fan of art) would dominate the room. Perhaps if they could afford one Monet’s “Water Lilies” (only an original would do.) Both of the top two rooms pictured are places I would want to hang out…spend time.
    There is nothing wrong with the rooms pictured in three and four. They’re a bit more colorful but not any “better”. I will make one criticism of room #1, at first look I loved it, but the more I look , the more I dislike the floor. (but that’s another topic). Leave the top third alone, it likes to be light and airy…not busy.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jeanette
    June 15, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Having a husband who is a severe asthmatic, Plantation Shutters are the way to go. The doctors all said that having drapery of any kind creates a bigger issue for his allergies and breathing issues. Got rid of carpet and got hard wood floors for exactly the same reason. I have no issue with the way it looks and they are very easy to keep clean, Unlike many other window coverings. Thanks for your opinions.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carol Daniell
    December 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    I have two solutions for “finishing” the upper half of a room with plantation shutters, for I feel the same way, I don’t care for them either, but they were in the house when we bought it, and my husband loves them. Now for people who like them for cleanliness, yet would like a “finished” look, paint or wallpaper would fill the bill, but that wasn’t quite enough for me, I have opted for my second solution, which is what your blog is about, the curtains. I have three tall windows with transoms that span almost the entire width of a 16 foot wall that’s 10 feet tall. They have Plantation shutters that cannot open fully so that the view can be seen outside, because they open into each other on the inside and stick out into the room. I’d love to get rid of them but that’s another war. We have a beautiful pool area and landscape. So my curtains will be able to cover the entire wall, with the hope that some day I’ll be able to take the shutters down!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mercedes
    June 11, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Another dissenter: in my home in Texas, plantation shutters are a must. First, they do an awesome job of filtering the light (and in Texas, that means a lot.) Second, they add wonderful architectural appeal to windows and rooms. Third, they are easier (and less expensive) to clean and easier to live with than drapes, if allergies are an issue. Fourth, cats and dogs cannnot shred them, like drapes. And, fifth, in my opinion, adding curtains or plantation shutters is like gilding the lily; it is unnecessary and doesn’t enhance the window or the room, especially when the curtains are ill-fitting ready-mades. I have nothing against beautiful custom draperies or curtains; but putting them with plantation shutters? Nope.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jancey.C
    July 10, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I know this post is old, but I had to respond. One thing many people fail to realize with plantation shutters is that they take away a lot of light! People forget to factor in the trim that is required to give plantation shutters that custom inset look in their windows takes away from the viable window space available. Now, if one has huge, multiple windows in their house this may not be an issue, but in some homes, where people want to maximize as much natural light as possible, there are better choices. I live in Dallas, TX, in a historical 1926 Tudor. I have multiple sets of windows, but in typical Tudor fashion, they are narrow. I considered plantation shutters for my living and dining room windows but due to Southern exposure and oak trees, I don’t get enough natural lighting as I’d prefer, despite a set of original stained glass windows in my living which obviously will remain uncovered. Why would I want to spend $$$ on window treatments that further impede the light coming through?! When you are dealing with 28″ wide windows, subtracting 3″ from that, assuming the trim is 1.5″ on each side, makes a big difference! Now, plantation shutters do have different louver widths, up to 4″ or 5″ I believe, which let in more light when fully open than the standard, classic 2″ louvers, but that is a more modern look, not as appropriate for a Tudor. So, the search for window treatments continues… I actually love the soft look of Hunter Douglas’ Silhouette blinds but don’t know if that is considered passé or is still current.

    I also agree with your post about only the bottom halves of rooms being decorated. I’m actually a big proponent of painting ceilings – it’s the forgotten 5th wall! It doesn’t have to be garish or bold, but can be as simple as the wall color being lightened 50-75% for the ceiling. If you have gorgeous white crown molding like we do, a white ceiling just doesn’t accentuate the molding the way a tinted ceiling does. Just my 2 cents…

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