Where Did Plantation Shutters Originate?

Plantation shutters have stood the test of time, continuing to add a homey, stylish touch to homes for generations. They keep the weather out while letting air and light in, and do a solid job of reinforcing and protecting glass windows. You may be wondering how exactly they came about and developed into the window treatments we know and love today. You may see plantation shutters in a whole new light, knowing how long they’ve been demonstrating their reliability.

A Brief History Of Shutters

The name of this outdoor window feature might conjure mental images of old, colonial houses in the southern United States, but plantation shutters themselves were first used in European and Mediterranean homes. The very first fixed shutters were likely used in Greece and crafted from marble. They were heavy and stationary, but effectively kept wind and rain out and allowed for a controlled amount of light to filter indoors.

While we often take glass windows for granted today, they did not rise in popularity until relatively recently in our history. Glass was still restrictively expensive in medieval Europe, and as a result windows were often a luxury reserved for the rich. The elements had to be kept outside regardless of one’s economic class, and the most commonly available solution was to utilise wood. The more accessible wooden panels caught on all throughout Europe as an affordable tool for light and air control, increasing in popularity to the point of becoming commonplace by the rise of Tudor England.

Wooden shutters continued to develop as they maintained their prominent place in the design of European homes, and steadily spread along with other aspects of European and Mediterranean culture. When people chose to expand their horizons by crossing the seas to North America, they brought wooden panels with them as a core component of structural design.

Spanish settlers played an especially strong role in giving wooden window covers a prominent place in the architecture of the southern United States, making them sure to catch on. The affordability and practicality of wooden shutters secured their place in many colonial and plantation homes in the United States, thus earning the name that we still use today.

From Protection to Visual Direction

The reliable, affordable shutters didn’t just make their way to North America, their usefulness has led to them being spread far and wide. Wooden shutters migrated to Australia with the earliest of settlers, providing a necessary barrier between them and the harsh weather of the bush. Wooden shutters once again provided a great way of keeping the elements out of bush huts and offered a sense of security while new settlements were being established.

Plantation shutters stood as strong as ever in their role until they were largely phased out in favour of glass windows as Australian society became more firmly established. While trusty wooden shutters might have temporarily lost some standing to stylish, glassy window panels, they didn’t take too long to make a comeback.

Once the 60’s ushered in a resurgence of colonial-style homes, plantation shutters became trendy and rose in popularity once more. The fashionable wooden shutters evolved from an object of practicality to an opportunity to showcase style and design.

How Are Plantation Shutters Used Today?

The simple yet elegant style of plantation shutters boasts a timelessness that isn’t achieved by other window solutions. We’ve come a long way from the heavy, stationary marble shutters of historic Greece and the rough, wooden panels that likely made their appearances in medieval Europe and the earliest settlements of the Australian bush. Instead of traditional wood, we manufacture our shutters from Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It’s a hard wearing and strong material that is reinforced with aluminium. This takes our shutters to the next level of quality.

All the old selling points that made plantation shutters so appealing throughout history still apply to our modern world. Their sturdiness and durability protect our glass windows from storm debris and any number of other threats. Their reinforcement of your windows can help provide an extra sense of security after dark, and contribute to greater peace of mind. They are simple to operate, but offer great efficiency in light control, you can keep the window panels open while closing your shutters to enjoy simultaneous air flow and privacy.

Maintenance is a breeze. Their smooth surface makes them easy to dust and polish, rendering them simpler to keep up with than some alternative window treatments. A well-kept set of shutters can go a long way in making your home feel clean and polished. The efficiency of shutters also contributes to the preservation of your home’s indoor climate.

Plantation shutters are great at keeping light out during the hottest part of the day, and keeping the heat inside during cooler weather. Windows can be a major weak point in a house’s insulation, and the addition of shutters can help fill that gap. The added layer of protection can help reduce the amount of power it takes to maintain your house’s temperature just where you like it.

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Dan Field
By: Dan Field Published: 12 Nov 2018