Do you feel your house could use some sort of architectural detail to give it an eye-catching ‘pop’, but you don’t know what it is? Exterior window shutters could be the feature you are looking for. We realize that shutters are not the answer for every house style or house design, but matching the right style of shutter with the right house style can be stunning.
There are three basic exterior window shutter styles: panel, board and batten, and louver. Shutters are an architectural feature typically found on traditional and transitional house styles.
These shutter styles have numerous design choices that were created by varying their patterns. And more choices were created when the panel and louver styles were combined together in one design. If you are shopping for exterior shutters, you’ll soon find that there are many designs to choose from, whether you favor a period-inspired look for your house or just have a particular style preference.
You may not want to limit your choices to just what the big home improvement box stores stock. You can find many shutter manufacturers online that have great designs to choose from, and both standard and custom sizes.
A Look at Exterior Window Shutter Styles
Shutters can add not only a period look for a house, but give it dimension. Think: high definition! Here are examples of different louver designs:
This louver design is called the bermuda style. It hinges from the top and is typically used to shade the window while allowing air circulation. It is perfect for many uses, including shading porches, coastal homes, or if you just prefer the style!
The panel shutter style has an elegant appearance. Panel shutters come in designs using one or multiple panels; a shutter with two or more panels can be divided evenly or unevenly; we’ve seen a three panel design with a large center panel and two smaller equal size panels at the ends. In these photos you can see some really beautiful color choices, too.
The panel and louver combination can have a very classic look. Manufacturers make shutters in various lengths and widths. Custom shutters can be made also based on your specific window design, like these arched top shutter for arched windows.
Board & Batten
This rustic style has a relaxed feel. It can have an arched or flat top, and has a country essence about it. This example has a diagonal cross piece that adds more detail to the shutter:
The panel styles below include a cut-out design. Many shutter manufacturers offer this feature in favorite images including a sailboat, wildlife, and an anchor.
Shutter Styles & House Styles
Panels and louvers are great choices for many colonial house styles. The board and batten style has a quaint, or less formal, look, and is perfect for many Tudors, and for certain colonial capes and cottage. Special designs, like arched tops, work for many house styles including French country, Tudor, and Colonial.
Period-Inspired Shutter Hardware
You may have noticed that all the shutter examples in the above photos were installed with period-inspired shutter hardware, such as shutter hinges, shutter dogs, and lock bars, which really enhances the beauty of a shutter display on a house.
Exterior shutters can give a house quite a distinctive look when installed in the original way. We think it’s unfortunate that shutters have become more of a decorative, ‘paste-on’ detail (many are installed directly to the house wall with screws) today instead of being displayed in the original way using shutter hardware, and, as the purposeful architectural detail that they were intended to be. This ‘paste-on’ type of installation produces a very ‘flat’ look. Originally in early architectural periods, shutters functioned not only as an architectural detail (similar to the woodworking inside the house), but were also utilized as a means for privacy and protection from the elements, and, the louver style could provide privacy and air circulation as well.
Shutter hardware allowed them to be functional. Even though homeowners don’t open and close most shutters today (an exception to this is the bermuda style shutter), we think it would be a missed opportunity not to use shutter hardware to enhance the beauty of both the shutters and the house.