Add Curb Appeal With Shutters

Window shutters aren't a necessary home element any longer, but they certainly can add decorative appeal to both the exterior and interior of a home. Today, shutters are largely a decorative accent, but they used to be very functional.

It is difficult to pinpoint just when shutters were invented and first used. However, many historians surmise it took place in ancient Greece. It is believed these shutters were made from fixed marble louvers and provided light control, ventilation and protection from the tropical climate. Eventually builders discovered that wood was a more versatile shutter material, and moveable louvers were made that could vary the amount of light or air that entered a dwelling.

Shutters have also had practical applications on this side of the Atlantic. Shutters can protect windows against winds and storms, which is why they are often found on homes in coastal towns.

Decorative and operable shutters generally are sold in three styles: louvered, raised-panel and board and batten. Traditionally, raised-panel shutters were used on the first floor for privacy, and louvered shutters were used on higher levels to allow heat to escape the home.

Homeowners looking to add something a little extra to their homes may want to consider shutters as a design element. While shutters used to be largely constructed from wood, now shutters are made from vinyl or composite materials for longer durability. Depending on their material and the surface to which they are being attached, shutters can be screwed or nailed directly to the exterior or attached with special clips.

Shutters are also at home on the interior of a home. They can replace other window treatments, such as curtains or blinds. Interior shutters were commonly used in Southern and urban houses. They remain a perfect way to add architectural and historical detail to a home.

Interior shutters are generally attached to a thin frame that rests on the inside of the window or the outside of the window casing. The shutters will swing open and shut, allowing light into a room or blocking light and other distractions from entering. They can be an ideal way to add privacy to a home in a decorative manner.

Shutter installation -- both interior and exterior -- can be a do-it-yourself venture. However, siding companies, window manufacturers, and window treatment retailers may have trained staff on hand that can install your shutters after purchase.

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