Here at Plantation Shutters, we deem ourselves to be the experts in our field. We thought we would share with you some interesting finds on the origins of the shutters. Shutters are the original window decoration, way before curtains and blinds were invented.

It is the common belief that window shutters go back to around the fifteenth century. Previous to this window spaces were just that; space – a gap left for ventilation. It is thought that the first type of shutters started in the fifteenth century in Greece when the window spaces had rocks placed in the gap. The main purpose of this was to protect from wind, rain and sun. Over time these developed into marble shutters. Some of these could be slid across the window space to let in the right amount of light and air.

Wooden shutters became used once shutters were popular further afield in Europe, especially elsewhere in the Mediterranean such as Spain and Italy. The term plantation shutters refer to wooden shutters with broad louvres, mounted in a solid frame. The term “plantation” is in relation to shutters in the United States. Shutters were brought to America when the south was colonised by the Spanish. Wooden style shutters were popular on the mansions in the cotton and sugar plantations in these areas, thereby coining the phrase “plantation shutters”.

There are several reasons why shutters were thought of as being the best option, especially in the times before glass windows and curtains were used. The first is security, both against the weather and potential intruders. With just a gap in the window space, it was not difficult for people to enter somebody else’s home. Before shutters, there was no protection from the weather elements. Wind and rain could come into houses and the sun could also pose a problem. With shutters these are avoidable when the homeowner deems necessary and it is possible to control ventilation. The amount of light let it can also be controlled. On a hot day, they can act as protection against the heat, while on a cooler day they can be closed for insulation or opened to let the suns heat in.

Although shutters first came about for the practical reasons mentioned above, they are now often used only for decorative purposes. They have in many instances been replaced. In terms of protection from the elements, glass windows are now the norm, although shutters can be used to protect against extreme weather forces such as hurricanes and tornadoes. It terms of light curtains and blinds are often used, although the ways that shutter louvres can be open and closed as the user likes does have its advantages. So they do still have a practical use, but decoration is their main selling point.

There you are, who knew that shutters were thought to have dated back so far.