11 Alternatives to Shutters to Spruce Up Exterior Windows
Author: Rick Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
While decorating homes, we tend to focus on both major and minor elements to create the perfect blend that can make our houses more beautiful. However, we often overlook important factors that can change the entire look of a home like alternatives to shutters.
One of these things that are often forgotten is window shutters. These things tend to change the entire outlook of our homes, and if not used properly, they can make even the best-designed house look horrible.
11 Alternatives to Shutters
That is why we highly encourage people to consider alternatives to shutters when designing a house. You never know which option will suit your home the best, so you must consider all of these types of window treatments before deciding on one.
Window Box Planters
Having a box right outside the window sill where you can add soil and grow flowers or even herb gardens can look amazing. Especially if you paint the box in a bright color and make it match the trim of the window.
You can coordinate the colors of the flowers in bloom with the color of the window box and your trim to really make it all come together. Or you can mix it up with all kinds of colors for an extravaganza.
An awning is typically either a cloth or a wooden "overhang" that is seated above your windows on the exterior of your home. They can help provide some shade during the midday when the sun is at its maximum height in the sky.
They're great if you're looking for purely decorative alternatives to window shutters, but otherwise they're typically stationary and don't provide any privacy. You can build all types of awnings in many shapes like pergolas, for instance.
Sliding Barn Door Window Coverings
Sliding barn doors aren't only used for interior doors. You can install them on the outside of the home in a position that allows you to slide them over the windows in order to cut off visibility.
These can look great and provide pops of color to the exterior of the home. But the truth is, you're not likely to go outside in order to close the barn doors. They'll end up just being decoration and not very functional due to the effort in closing and opening them.
Interior Window Blinds
You can opt for very visible and decorative types of blinds on the inside of the home. These will not only provide shade and privacy, but if the right colors are chosen they'll be visible from the outside as decent alternatives to shutters.
This can provide all of the pops of color and changes in materials and texture that you may be seeking from window shutters, without needing to install anything on the exterior of the home. You could attempt this with curtains too but I'd recommend against it.
Norman Plantation Shutters
These shutters are much different from the regular shutters that we usually equip our windows with, but technically speaking, these are shutters too. The Norman plantation shutters are one of the most beautiful shutters that you can get your hands on.
Unlike traditional shutters that are mostly flimsy, these are very durable, strong, and long-lasting. They are eye-candy as well. Equipping the windows of your home with these plantation shutters will enhance the overall beauty of your home immediately.
These shutters aren’t only built for offering unique looks, but they provide excellent control as well. Moreover, these shutters will allow you to control the temperature and level of light coming into your house easily and precisely.
One thing to keep in mind while purchasing these should be their price. These shutters are much more expensive compared to most of the alternatives to shutters. So, it’s essential to consider whether or not you have sufficient budget to purchase them.
Depending on the size and number of the windows, you could opt to hang various types of wreaths either directly on them (consider suction cup types of wall hooks) or on the sides.
This obviously works during the holidays but with wreaths for each season of the year, you can absolutely get away with it year round. Most of us have a wreath on our front door all year round and the same can apply as alternatives to exterior window shutters.
Cellular shades, popularly known as Honeycomb Shades, are among the best choices for those looking for window shutter alternatives. These are simple shades that can be installed on your windows effortlessly, and the installation cost for these is reasonable as well.
If you’re looking forward to decorating the windows with something better than traditional shutters but won’t break the bank, you should go for these.
These aren’t only better and more modern looking, but they also offer great temperature and light control. Thanks to the honeycomb design, these are capable of blocking more wind compared to traditional shutters.
Plus, most honeycomb shades are equipped with the latest technology, such as remote control. This added convenience will make your life much easier.
Next up, we have PVC or Poly Vinyl Chloride shutters. PVC is a vinyl material that’s hollow and is widely used in making different home appliances. Most of the pipes used in our houses are made of PVC.
One of the main reasons why you would consider using PVC shutters is their low cost. These are very cheaply made, and this reduces their price by a great deal. However, if you care about the aesthetics, we’d recommend against these.
These alternatives to shutters tend to yellow over time, especially if they’re exposed to direct sunlight. Given you’ll be installing the shutters on windows, the chances are high that they’ll be exposed to sunlight most of the day. So, you may want to replace them after a certain period.
Not only their looks but their construction also changes with time. As PVC is cheaply made, they tend to get brittle over time. The color option is also limited with PVC.
They can be painted, but the paint won’t last long. Even when they’re freshly equipped, they don’t look even close to how good other shutters look.
Despite these disadvantages, they are considered as an excellent option for their low price. So, they can perform well in places where the aesthetics don’t matter much anyway.
Wooden shutters offer the most premium looks, but they can get pretty expensive as well. If you’re on the look for something that’ll provide a similar overlook to wooden shutters but will cost only a fraction of its price, you should take a look at MDF shutters.
MDF is a widely used material that’s being used instead of wood in making furniture. Recently, many companies started making shutters from MDF as well, and the result is magnificent.
With MDF shutters, you get to select a texture of your choice. As these are produced artificially, the consistency of the texture is much superior to wood.
Then again, maintaining MDF boards is much easier than sustaining genuine wood. Unlike wood, MDF boards won’t bend with change in season.
These boards are essentially sawdust held together with glue and wrapped in thin vinyl for giving a beautiful look. As these are cheaper to produce, getting MDF shutters made for your home will cost much less than wooden shutters.
However, these window shutter alternatives come with their own set of problems. For starters, these aren’t very good at resisting moisture. When they’re exposed to water for a long time, they eventually start swelling.
Furthermore, the vinyl glued on the surface also starts peeling off. These don’t take staining well, either. As alternatives to shutters, they can sometimes end up creating quite the maintenance headache.
Despite the obvious drawbacks, MDF shutters are an obvious choice if you install them in places where they are less likely to come in contact with water. If maintained properly, they’ll provide years of service without any problem.
Next up, we have laminates. These fall in the middle ground that exists between wooden shutters and MDF shutters. These shutters aren’t exactly made of wood. In the production of quality lumbar, thin slats are cut off as excess.
Later on, these slats are glued together to form laminates. These characteristics are closer to wood shutters, as they essentially are thin pieces of wood glued together. The difference being is that they are much more affordable than traditional wooden shutters.
One advantage that laminate shutters provide over traditional MDF shutters is their ability to be stained, painted, and wrapped. Thanks to this, you’ll be able to refurbish these shutters after a certain period and restore their fresh look.
However, laminates share a property with MDF boards, and that’s their inability to resist moisture. If laminate shutters are exposed to moisture over a long period, they will deteriorate very quickly.
Despite that, we believe laminate shutters are superior to MDF board shutters, as these can be repaired later on.
If MDF shutters get damaged, you’ll need to purchase new ones to replace the damaged ones, as you won’t be able to repaint or stain them.
On the other hand, laminate alternatives to shutters can be stained, painted, or even wrapped with vinyl. This added flexibility instantly makes laminate shutters a much better choice compared to traditional shutters.
Foamed Synthetic Window Shutters
If you’re willing to spend some extra cash to get a top-end shutter for your home, you should consider foamed synthetics. These shutters aren’t even similar to wooden shutters or any other similar shutter.
Unlike all the other shutters that focus highly on the outlook, these shutters focus more on the function. That being said, they don’t look bad. They don’t feature the vintage look like traditional wooden shutters. Instead, they look sleeker and more modern.
These shutters are famous for offering fire resistance, water resistance, better insulation compared to all other types of shutters, toxin build-up prevention, and all that at a reasonable price that won’t crush your wallet. In fact, these are much cheaper compared to wooden shutters.
This is only the beginning. As they are entirely artificial, you can get these shutters in different sizes, thicknesses, colors, and textures of your choice. As the texture on these can be customized as per necessity, you’ll even be able to print your company’s logo on top of them.
There are other different synthetic shutters as well. However, we recommend the foamed synthetic shutters over all of them. That is mainly due to the level of flexibility these shutters have to offer.
These are amazing, but it’s important to note that these aren’t wooden shutters, so they behave in a completely different manner. They are much lighter and thinner than wooden shutters, so naturally, the wind resistance is comparatively lower with these.
Furthermore, these can’t be stained either. However, since you can wipe them clean and customize their looks as per necessity, that won’t be much of a problem.
Overall, if you prioritize function over the outlook, you should definitely opt for foamed synthetic shutters.
Alternatives to Shutters to Give Your Home a Different Look
As you can see, there are many alternatives to window shutters to choose from right now. Although we started with wooden shutters only, many other options have been invented with time.
Most of these alternatives to shutters indeed fail to provide us with a good, vintage outlook. However, they do offer a ton of sweet benefits that can add a different level of convenience and security to our lives.