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3 popular styles of interior window shutters

In addition to controlling light levels and providing privacy and insulation, window shutters add a decorative touch to your interior. Shutters work on a wide variety of window types. Understanding the various interior window shutter styles and materials helps you choose the most attractive and functional window coverings for your home.

Top interior window shutter styles

  1. Traditional: Used for centuries, traditional shutters add timeless beauty to your interior. These shutters generally have 3/4-inch-thick panels and 1 1/8-inch movable louvers (slats). Traditional shutters complement older homes, such as those with colonial architecture. Quality traditional shutters are available from manufacturers such as Hunter Douglas and Bali.
  2. Plantation: These shutters are well-suited for large window openings and are popular in contemporary homes. The panels are generally 1 1/8-inch thick and the louvers are wide, ranging in size from 1 7/8 inches to 5 1/2 inches. Manufacturers such as Hunter Douglas, Norman, Normandy and American Blinds are known for their quality plantation shutters.
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  4. Custom: Custom-made shutters for arched, rectangular and odd-size window openings are available from a variety of manufacturers, among them the aforementioned Hunter Douglas, Norman and Normandy.

Popular shutter materials and colors

Many consumers feel that real wood lends a sense of warmth to the interior of the home. Oak and basswood are two of the more popular species of wood for traditional shutters. The latter material has a straight, uniform texture and very little visible grain. Wood, however, requires special considerations. Gidon Adlan, sales consultant with Bob's Shade & Linoleum in Orange, Calif. advises, "Real wood shutters tend to discolor in the sun and are not a good choice for windows that receive intense sunlight."

PVC composite shutters with aluminum framing, such as Hunter Douglas's Palm Beach Polysatin line, are becoming increasingly popular because of their resistance to shrinkage, cracking and fading. Such shutters look like real wood and come in a variety of colors.

For real wood blinds, brown tones are popular. "For PVC composite blinds, many consumers favor neutral colors that blend with the walls, such as white and off-white," says Adlan. If you prefer to match your blinds to your décor, some manufacturers offer color-matching services.

Measuring windows for cost estimates

In order to get an idea of how much your window shutters might cost, take the following measurements for inside-mount shutters:

  1. Measure the width of the window from the inside of the frame in three places--at the top, middle and bottom. Use the smallest measurement for your width.
  2. Measure from the top left-hand corner to the bottom of the window, repeating in the middle and right-hand corner. Use the smallest length measurement.
  3. Multiply the width and the height; divide that total by 144, and you've got the window's square footage.

Expect to pay $16 to $18 a square foot for real wood shutters, according to Adlan. PVC shutters run $14 to $16 dollars a square foot. Unusual window shapes, such as arches, require a custom template, which make them more expensive to manufacture. They can cost anywhere from $25 to $30 per square foot.

Purchase and installation advice

If you are ready to get started, you can use the form on this page to find shutters and installers. You can also seek out just the right shutters for your home by visiting local window covering dealers with showrooms. This allows you to see how the various shutters look and work.