Shutters are an elegant alternative to curtains or blinds. They were the first known window decoration and originated from the Mediterranean region, but have since been adopted much further afield. Wooden shutters are most commonly used on homes and can be fitted on the interior or exterior.
Interior shutters are usually hinged on either side of the windows. To open and close they are swung outwards or inwards. Most, but not all Shutters, have louvers which are rotated open or shut. This allows the homeowner to choose the amount of air, light and heat that comes through. Plantation Shutters are a popular style of interior shutters. The term Plantation Shutters comes from the cotton plantations of the United States. Spanish immigrant bought shutters to the area of these plantations in California, and this is where the name comes from. The reason why many choose interior shutters over curtains is that they can be somewhere between open and closed. The shutters can be shut with the louvers partly open and partly closed. Curtains have to be either one or the other, unless they are only open in the center. It is also possible to have fixed shutters which cannot by swung open or shut. If they have louvers air and light can still be let in by opening them. Most people choose hinged shutter though, as they afford this extra choice.
Like interior shutters, exterior shutters are usually hinged on either side of the window, but obviously on the outside rather than the inside. Although it is rare, they can alternatively be hinged at the top and bottom. Unlike interior shutters they are sometimes chosen with curtains on the inside. Exterior Shutters can be extremely attractive and can therefore add value to a home. In some areas exterior shutters are used to protect windows from natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Cedar wood and mahogany are the most common materials used. It is important that exterior shutters are made from durable materials as they will be facing the natural elements. Cedar and mahogany are often chosen as they can cope with wind, rain and snow better than most other options. They are also resistant to rot and decay.
Both interior and exterior shutters have the advantage of allowing control over the element that come through the window. On a hot day, for example, the window can be left open but the shutter louvers can be closed to the extent that feels comfortable. This will block out the heat of the sun while still allowing fresh air in. This also makes it safer to leave windows open at night, as intruders would have some job trying to get past the shutters unnoticed.