The origin of the phrase “necessity is the mother of invention” is as hazy as the dawn of window shutters, though the expression certainly applies to the evolution of interior and exterior shutters.
Many contemporary, mass-market exterior shutters are merely decorative. But even modern shutter styles were born of necessity, and operable shutters offer present-day benefits beyond beauty.
Window Shutters: Form Follows Function
Window shutters may have been born in ancient Greece, but they gained broad popularity throughout the 16th and 17th centuries before glass became a commonplace window covering.
Early window shutters were made for indoor use or built into the window framing, and they served several functional purposes. Shutters allowed light regulation and ventilation, and they provided protection from harsh weather and pests.
Over time, shutters were adapted globally based on the needs of people in different regions. Bermuda shutters (aka Bahama shutters), for example, developed in the Atlantic island nations as a shield against the damaging winds and heavy rains that accompany tropical storms.
As glass windows became standard, shutters moved to the outside of homes. Exterior shutters initially offered the same benefits as their historic relatives with the added advantage of safeguarding windows.
With improvements in glass quality, many contemporary exterior shutters remain fixed in place to accentuate window treatments and complement overall home design. But operable exterior shutters live on, and they may render more rewards than you think.
The Many Merits of Modern, Operable Shutters
The primary perks of shutters remain, although exterior shutters have acquired some new assets over the years:
Let the Light Shine In (Or Block it Out)
As we’ll explore below, many shutter styles that remain popular today are designed in part for light control. Louver shutters, for instance, have moveable slats that can be raised or lowered for light management.
Feel the Breeze (Or Don’t)
Similarly, some shutter styles like panel shutters grew from a need to block wind and the elements. Other shutter types, such as Bermuda shutters, were created to let cool breezes in but shut out hazardous winds and blowing rain (thus the nickname “hurricane shutters”).
Be Visible (Or Private)
Some shutters, such as panel shutters, are built for privacy. Other versions, like louver shutters and their kindred combination shutters, are engineered for versatility and permit natural light and fresh air as well as privacy.
High Profile (Low Maintenance)
The best contemporary shutters bestow beauty and durability as well as functionality. Premium shutters should allow diverse color and personalization options, and provide lasting curb appeal with little maintenance aside from regular visual inspections and light cleaning.
Low Energy (Big Savings)
Well-crafted and properly installed exterior shutters can also help conserve energy and generate cost savings. As the U.S. Department of Energy’s consumer website notes, approximately 30 percent of a home’s energy is lost through windows without attachments or coverings like shutters.
Operable Shutter Styles
Many classic and contemporary shutter styles are available in both decorative and operable editions. Favored styles for functional shutters include:
Louver shutters are one of the oldest shutter styles and also one of the most flexible. The operational slats on louver shutters are available in different configurations, and they give homeowners high levels of airflow, sunlight and privacy control.
Also known as hurricane shutters, Bermuda shutters extend a relaxed aesthetic vibe as well as defense from destructive winds and intense rain. Hurricane-rated aluminum shutters are recommended for those who live in areas prone to tropical storms.
Panel shutters feature opaque panels that may be elevated, recessed or flat. Panel shutters are popular decorative shutters well suited to a variety of home styles, but they can also be manufactured to open and close over windows to regulate natural light, ventilation and privacy.
With a mix of panels and louvered slats, which can be customized in different arrays, combination shutters offer high degrees of personalization and usability. Combination shutters can be built to cover windows while furnishing simultaneous command of airflow and sunlight.
About Timberlane: Custom Shutters with Personality
Timberlane is committed to creating the world’s finest exterior shutters.
Whether you’re an architect, builder or homeowner, and whether you’re seeking decorative shutters, functional shutters or both, our knowledgeable team is ready to help you choose the perfect shutters to accentuate your home and reflect your unique tastes. Our state-of-the-art exterior shutter visualizer even lets you preview shutters of varying styles, colors and materials on images of your own home or a home of a similar design from our photo library.
Connect with Timberlane today to request a quote or talk with one of our friendly experts about your shutter options.
Photo and Installation Credit - Cornerstone Shutter Installation