What makes a good plantation shutter design?

Kirtz Plantation Shutters are all custom designed and produced.  So when you choose to order plantation shutters from Kirtz Shutters, you have a variety of  shutter layout and design options.  Two major areas for discussion are — How do I choose a louver size?  And how many shutters should I put in each opening?

First, let’s talk about louver size.  This depends on a variety of factors, such as the style of your home architecture and design.  However, this comes down to personal preference.  Part of the beauty of plantation shutters is that you can get such great visibility and light control just by slightly adjusting the louver angle.  It stands to reason that the larger the louver, the better the view.    Many people are simply amazed at how much visibility you can get with a shutter.  In fact, during our in- home consultations we typically bring one sample of each louver size, set it in the window, ask the client to step back and take a look at the different proportions of each louver size and how that impacts the feel of the room.  Well, I can’t do that in a blog, but take a look at this picture.  Each opening shown is 72″ x 72″; the only thing that changes is the size of the louver.


Now to be frank, most people choose 3 1/2″ louvers.  However, I can make a case for the larger 4 1/2″ louvers in many homes, and we see more orders all the time with this size.    On occasion, as we do add on orders for a homeowner, they will tell me that they wish they had chosen a larger louver size.   I have never heard a customer tell me the wish they had chosen smaller.

Now for the shutter configuration.   The first thing you need to look at is the configuration of the window you are going to shutter.  You will get the best look if you try to mimic the window layout.  This minimizes the appearance of extra vertical distractions.  For instance, say you have 3 or more windows mulled together.  You want to try to place the shutters where the vertical members of the shutter line up with the vertical mullions of the windows.  This will give you the cleanest, most open view possible and will also provide for a more flattering appearance on the outside of the windows.

Let’s go back and look at our typical window again, a 72″ x 72″ (typically two 36″ x 72″ windows mulled together.)  Many time clients think they want to have four shutter panels in an opening this size.  This is based upon their assumption that they will open the shutters back regularly.   However, with a larger louver size, folding them back is not necessary for great visibility.  And the larger the panel you can put in your window, the more unobstructed view you have.  Take a look at these drawings showing that same window size, 72″ x 72″.  Both drawings show the same louver size, but with 2 versus 4 panels in the opening.


By choosing the four panel configuration you lose almost 8″ of your window that you could otherwise see through.

Of course, we always make what the customer wants, and if you are confident that you want to open you shutters back everyday, then the four panel configuration is probably the best layout for you.  For opening shutters daily, a two shutter panel configuration would not work for most room layouts.  Each shutter would have a 36″ swing when it opened.   Even a 4 panel layout deserves some thought, as it would come into the room and need 18″ of wall space to fold against.

What this all comes back to is the importance of working with someone who is knowledgeable about the process, and can help guide you through the ins and outs of all these design decisions.  The sales staff at Kirtz makes giving you a great buying experience a priority.  We want your shutters to look and function just the way you had imagined, and we take great care in making sure we provide that experience to each and every customer.  Feel free to call us with your shutter design dilemmas and we will do everything in our power to find a great solution!