Plantation shutters—window blinds with wide wooden louvers or slats—may hail from the South, but they’re everywhere these days, because they make a dramatic window decor statement without looking flashy. They look elegant from a home’s interior and exterior, and they can lend a decidedly upscale look to your windows. This all might have you wondering: How much do plantation shutters cost?
Granted, as far as window treatments go, they don’t come cheap on the spectrum of blinds.
“Plantation shutters can be a bit pricier than other shutter styles, like board and batten or flat panel,” acknowledges Charlie Capps, director of home and garden for Hooks & Lattice.
According to Home Advisor, homeowners typically spend a total of around $2,000 on plantation shutters for the windows of their home. That said, the price will hinge greatly on the material and size you’re getting. Wood is the most common material, but also more expensive. Composite or faux wood and even vinyl shutters can be more affordable (they’re also more resistant to humidity and, in some cases, lighter).
Bottom line: At the cheapest end of the budget, you can pick up prefabricated shutters at most major hardware stores for as little as $50 a set, and give your windows a decent little upgrade.
For long-lasting, custom wood shutters, you’re better off working with a specialty store. Expect to spend $20 to $45 per square foot for a custom job. Wood shutters will run you $200 to $350 per window, while composite shutters cost $80 to $200.
So why would anyone cough up so much cash for plantation shutters anyway? Is a window treatment really worth that much?
We’re glad you asked!
Benefits of plantation shutters
Plantation shutters—also called California shutters because of their recent surge in popularity on home windows in the West—are perennial favorites around the U.S. for a variety of reasons:
- Energy conservation: Possibly the greatest advantage of plantation shutters is how those wide, heavy louvers block out anything from the outdoors you don’t want coming in. That’s most often sunlight (so you can sleep), heat (so your home can stay cool), or the cold (in colder climates).
- Privacy: Adjusted to the right angle with the tilt bar, plantation shutters can allow you a good view of the outdoors while preventing people outside from seeing into your home. Shutting them all the way gives you total privacy.
- Durability: Blinds work on the same principle as plantation shutters, but are flimsy—they can bend and break, and generally don’t look all that stately. Plantation shutters, whether wood or composite—are the far sturdier option, lasting for years, and much easier to dust and clean. Although the louvers are typically 2½ to 3½ inches wide, they can be found as wide as 5 inches. The wider the louvers, the greater the durability and energy-conserving powers—and the higher the price.
DIY or pay for installation?
Plantation shutters are usually installed indoors rather than outdoors. If you pay to have them professionally installed, it will run you about $100 an hour, but it may be worth it, because they can be harder to hang than traditional ones.
“Plantation shutters require an anchor, and knowledge of the capacity of the window treatment and the shutter,” says Taylor Spellman, New York–based interior designer and co-host of Bravo’s “Yours, Mine or Ours.” “So professional may be the way to go here.”
In other words: Shutters are an investment, so don’t make this your latest Pinterest crafting project. Whether you go DIY or hire out, here’s Spellman’s biggest tip: “As my grandfather says, ‘measure twice, cut once.’ Pay close attention to all dimensions of the windows you are purchasing them for, accounting also for shrinking and expanding due to moisture and temperature.”
Get the help of professionals at the store where you buy your shutters, and you’ll enjoy the cool, chic effects of your shutters for years.
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