Choosing plantation shutters for form or function? Plantation shutters offer both to today’s homeowner. These unique window treatments trace their roots to ancient Greece. The Greeks used them for both privacy and security. Interior shutters were used to close windows. Along with imposing columns, shutters are hallmarks of Classical Greek Architecture. This ancient order and form in building design later influenced buildings and architecture throughout Western world.
Before widespread use of glass, shutters were used to close windows. They were used to protect interior of house from weather and from intruders as well as provide privacy. They could be opened to allow sunlight and fresh air into building or home.
Elements of Greek architecture are seen in many buildings and homes from late 18th century, 19th century and early 20th century in United States. It was especially prevalent in banks, office buildings and many public and government buildings. The plantation mansions of old South borrowed heavily on architecture of Greeks. The antebellum mansions of great plantations from South Carolina to western edge of Mississippi borrowed heavily from building concepts of Greeks. A number of these grand old mansions have been restored and preserved at Natchez, Mississippi.
Just as did ancient Greeks, plantation owners used shutters for both their beauty and their function. By closing windows in this manner, these homeowners were able to add a level of security to their homes. This was important because in era before Civil War, agricultural areas of South were only sparsely populated. Plantations were largely isolated. Plantations were also symbols of wealth, making them targets for bands of robbers. There was also potential of attack from revolting slaves.
Times have changed and today’s homeowners use shutters primarily for their beauty or form rather than for security.
What are plantation shutters?
Plantation shutters are louvered interior shutters. They cover entire window. They are most often made from wood, although modern materials including PVC and vinyl are also being used with growing acceptance. The shutters are hinged and can be opened or closed and latched. In addition to swinging open, some models have moveable louvers that can be opened and closed. Other models have stationary louvers. There is great flexibility in being able to partially or completely open shutters and/or partially or completely open louvers. This allows tremendous control in directing inflow of outside air as well as sunlight.
Typically panels of plantation shutters range from 15 inches to 36 inches wide. Louvers are available in several widths, ranging from 1-3/4 inches wide to 4-1/2 inches wide, appealing to different tastes and fitting with a variety of decors. The width of louver has a practical application as well as aesthetic. The wider louver, more air or sunlight will be allowed to filter through. These shutters are often used in series. Rooms with a number of windows, several adjacent windows or large picture windows look especially good with plantation shutter window treatment.
Pine is frequently used in construction of hurricane shutters as well. Contractors and do-it-yourselfers can find them both pre-finished and unfinished. Unfinished allows contractor or diy to finish with any paint or stain color desired. PVC and vinyl panels come in colors, including white. These panels may be plain or have embossed wood graining. PVC and vinyl are excellent choices for rooms where there can be high levels of moisture or steam. They are good for pool rooms, bathrooms and utility rooms.
Shutters with moveable panels have added advantage of providing privacy at same time they admit light and air. You can adjust louvers in such a manner that light and air is allowed into room while at same time preventing outside passersby from seeing inside.