Finding the perfect shutters - what to look for

Yasmeen 3/13/2020 3:06:47 PM Buying and Fitting Shutters, Inspiration
Interested in buying a set of indoor plantation shutters, but not sure where to start? There are a few factors to consider which will help you narrow down your options and customize your ideal shutters.

               Getting Started >>

Shutter Style

The first step in ordering shutters is to choose your shutter style. The available styles are full height, café style, tier on tier, solid raised, and special shapes.

Full height shutters are the most popular. Covering the entire window opening, full height shutters are the easiest to install and offer the most privacy.


Café style shutters cover only the lower portion of the window, giving you privacy and style but keeping the top of the window open. Café style shutters still give you visibility of the outdoors and allow the most sunlight to enter the room.


Tier on Tier style shutters have independent upper and lower tier shutter panels, so you can keep the bottom panels closed and the top open (or vice versa).


Solid raised panel shutters have the best light blockage and feature a stylish raised design similar to a cabinet or closet door. You can get solid raised panels in full height, café style, tier on tier, or half-solid.


Special shapes are just what they sound like – custom made to fit your windows that are anything but rectangular. Arches, circles, trapezoids, octagons… send us a picture of your special shape and we can guide you on getting started!


               Shop All Styles >>

Shutter Material

Based on the shutter style you select; you will then see what materials are available in that style. You will want to consider whether you want wood or vinyl shutters and consider your budget and timeline for your project.

Wooden shutters are the most versatile, with the most options for color and frame styles. They are easiest to adjust if any sanding is necessary to adjust for variances in your window opening.


Polyvinyl shutters are waterproof and very strong, ideal for bathrooms, kitchens, or any wet or humid areas.


We manufacture shutters in 2 separate facilities to offer flexible options for your project.

Shutters made overseas are very budget friendly with the same high quality and 3-year warranty as our American-made products, but they do take a little longer to receive due to the transit time from overseas.

Our American-made shutters (available in full height or café style only) are a little higher price point, but about half the manufacturing time compared to our other shutters made overseas. We even have an express option in American Hardwood and American Polyvinyl where you can pay a little more per square foot to put your order at the front of the production line.

               See Shutter Materials >>

Design Your Shutters in 4 Easy Steps

Now you have made all the decisions necessary to get started in our user-friendly ordering page.

  • 1. Choose Your Dimensions

Step 1 is entering your dimensions.

To take accurate measurements, you will want to download our PDF measuring guides and take 5 minutes or so to read our detailed instructions specific to our product, to ensure successful measurements and an easy install.

We have separate measuring guides for inside mount and outside mount – you can watch our design and measuring videos or contact us if you are not sure whether you should do inside or outside mount.

Inside mount is the most common preference if your windows are deep enough to accommodate the shutter frame and slat size that you choose. If you have at least 1” of surface area to drill into inside the window recess, and your windows don’t tilt-in for cleaning (or you don’t mind losing the tilt-in function), you can use inside mount.


Inside Mount Measuring Guide >>

Outside mount is a great option for windows with limited depth, or if you’re trying to preserve the tilt-in function for cleaning your windows. Outside mount is also more forgiving and easier to install if your windows are not perfectly square.


Outside Mount Measuring Guide >>


  • 2. Choose Your Specs: Panels, Mid-rails, Slats, and Tilt-Rod

We also have design videos and additional blogs to help you with these decisions in detail.

Video Library >>

More panels per window will result in narrow panels that fold neatly to the sides when opened, but will have more solid material and narrower slats, obstructing more light.

Less panels per window will be a more modern look and let in more sunlight when your slats are open. It is a more streamlined look, but the panels will take up more space when opened, so it is up to you to choose what will work best for how you plan on using the shutters.

Add a mid-rail to separate the upper and lower slats so you can have separate control of the slats in each section. For tier-on-tier shutters, you choose the custom divide point wherever you’d like to have the tiers split.
Half-solid raised shutters next to full height shutters in a kitchen. Both have a mid-rail and a hidden tilt rod.

We have 2 ½”, 3 ½”, and 4 ½” slats (and 3” slats in select materials). Smaller slats are a more traditional look and offer the most privacy. The larger slats you use, the more modern it will look, and you will have more sunlight and a clearer view outside when the slats are open.

A central tilt rod is the traditional bar in the middle that you use to raise or lower the slats. A hidden tilt rod is a thin metal rod on the back of the panel that gives you a more modern streamlined look and is easier to clean.

Tier on tier style shutters with a central tilt rod

Customer Gallery >>


  • 3. Choose Your Color

Order up to 4 free samples to help you find the perfect color! You can choose from our neutral painted hinges, so they blend into the shutter color, or choose a metal hinge like nickel or brass for a contrast or to match existing hardware in the room.

Order Free Samples >>


  • 4. Choose Your Frame

Whenever possible, we recommend a 4-sided frame for the easiest installation and longest lasting shutters. A sill cut is available for Z-Frames on windows with a protruding sill/ledge at the bottom.
 Some cases like patio doors, or windows with a marble or tiled sill will need a 3-sided frame. In a rare instance like a casement window with an existing decorative trim, you can opt for panels-only (no frame) if you’re prepared to make extra adjustments to keep the panels perfectly aligned without the aid of the shutter frame.

Choosing the Right Frame >>

L-Frames are the most popular choice for both inside mount and outside mount. These are the simplest square frames that help hold your panels in perfect alignment without distracting too much from your shutter panels.

Inside Mount L-Frame

Z-Frames are great for inside mount if your windows don’t have any existing trim or decorative molding. They attach inside of the window opening, flush to the wall, and the flange, or overlapping lip, of the Z-Frame gives a decorative border. This hides any gaps due to variance in the window opening.
Deco-Frames offer the same benefits as a Z-Frame, but these are outside mount frames. Deco Frames will attach directly to the wall, or can be used on top of, or in place of, an existing window trim.

Outside Mount Deco Frame

DIY Installation Guides >>


You’re Done!

Custom plantation shutters allow you the freedom to get your perfect style at a fraction of the price, compared to a full-service measure & install shutter company.

DIY does not mean you are on your own, however. Our shutter experts are here 6 days a week to answer all your questions, from design help, to the nitty gritty details.

If you’re ever stuck, send us a picture of your window opening or give us a call for expert advice. We are here to help!

Shop shutters >>



This post was brought to you by Yasmeen, one of The Shutter Store USA's experienced shutter consultants. Contact our team today for advice on your shutters. We're here to help!