Here Are the Four Types of Exterior Window Shutters

Learn about the styles and materials available for exterior window shutters.

Red Cedar Cabin Shutters

Red Cedar Cabin Shutters

Paneled red cedar shutters pop against 1 x 10 cedar siding, stained in a muted shade of sage. The shutter style and paint color were chosen by online voters.

Photo by: Jackson Riley Parker

Jackson Riley Parker

Exterior window shutters come in four basic types: paneled, louvered, board and batton (sometimes called BnB) and Bermuda. They are available in a variety of materials including MDF (medium density fiber), vinyl, synthetic foam, faux wood and wood. Basswood is the most popular wood for shutters.

Shutter Tips 01:12

Host Jason Cameron offers tips for building and installing shutters.

Raised Panel

Raised panel shutters look similar to doors or kitchen cabinets, with a single or double raised panel. Because they have a low profile, they blend well with almost any style home, including:

·         Victorian
·         Federal
·         Colonial
·         Georgian
·         Cape Cod
·         Ranch
·         French Country
·         Greek Revival

Louvered

Louvered shutters have angled slats that allow air and light to pass through. These have a more defined look than the more low-key panel shutters, and work best on homes that are ornate, classical or casual in appearance:

·         Victorian
·         Italianate
·         Federal and Colonial (operable louvers are common on second floors of these style homes)
·         Georgian
·         Cape Cod
·         Ranch
·         Greek Revival

Board and Batten (BnB)

Board and batten (sometimes you’ll see this referred to as B and B or Bnb) have an Old World and rustic character, thanks to their simple construction. They’re one-to-three boards held together with a thin cross panel, which can go horizontally or at an angle across the shutters. Because these have such a characteristic look, they go best with:

·         Mediterranean
·         Cape Cod/Ranch
·         French Country

Bahama

Bahama shutters, also known as Bermuda shutters, are louvered shutters, typically fixed at the top of the window (instead of the sides). Used to let in light and air, they also protect homes from storms, and are typically used in tropical regions. They’re beautiful on:

·         Cape Cod
·         Ranch
·         Cottage

Shutter Hardware

Shutter hardware can be decorative or operable, depending on the installation. Hinges and holdbacks are the most common. Holdbacks are also known as dogs, which are metal (or metal-look) tools that keep the shutter from opening and closing.

Choosing a Durable Shutter

Shutters made of MDF (and typically covered by another material like vinyl) look expensive but cost less than other options like wood. However, they don’t stand up well to water, and over time can swell and sag.

Vinyl shutters, the lowest end of the cost scale, are hollow PVC shutters with unfinished edges, which are covered with end caps. They have a plastic appearance and tend to yellow. Over time, they can be hard to clean.

Synthetic foam shutters look like wood but cost less. They are water- and fire-resistant and have excellent insulating qualities. They are heavier than wood and can’t be stained, but they are probably the best option for synthetic shutters.

Faux wood can be used in place of wood, and because of its stiffness, is a good candidate for tall or wide shutters. These cost less than wood and come in a variety of colors and shapes. If poorly made, joints can fail over time.

Basswood is now the most popular wood for shutters, outpacing pine and poplar. These can be painted and stained, and are a light, flexible material that makes them good for a variety of designs. However, they’re not moisture resistant and they cost more than synthetic shutters.

Exterior shutters come in a range of costs, colors and styles, and with the options for decorative hardware, can be personalized for any style home. 

Keep Reading

Next Up

Tips for Building Shutters

New shutters make a big difference in curb appeal during a landscape makeover.

Hardwood Plantation Shutters

A new set of plantation shutters is a great replacement for lackluster window treatments.

How to Clean Window Blinds of All Types, From Vertical to Venetian

If you’re wondering how to clean blinds, here are simple tips for speeding you through this twice-a-year chore.

Here's How to Get the Most From Your Curtains

Curtains are a basic part of any decorating scheme. Here’s how to choose them fearlessly.

Here’s What You Need to Know Before Buying Drapes

Drapes are one of the interior designer’s best weapons, bringing formality to a room, while also adding privacy and controlling light.

Faux Wood Blinds Are One of the Most Popular Window Coverings – Here’s Why

Faux wood blinds have come a long way since the artificial-looking vinyl versions of the 1980s.

You'll Love These Smart, Chic Ideas for Window Valances

Looking for window valance ideas? From fabric swags to wooden cornice boxes, we’ve got you (and your windows) covered.

5 Arched Window Treatments That Are Sure to Please

Browse beautiful arch window treatments, from curtains to shades.

Window Film Can Make Your House More Beautiful and Save Money

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to boost curb appeal, consider window tint. 

You'll Love These Easy Curtain and Blind Solutions for Bay Windows

Bay windows are one of the most beloved window types – until it’s time to find window treatments. We simplify the process.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.