HomeSoul

Customize Light and Cut Energy Bills with Interior Shutters

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Guest Post by Ronique Gibson

We all want a beautiful home interior and low energy bills, but in some instances, these goals seem to require sacrificing one or the other. In order for their homes to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, many homeowners have resorted to either unattractive window films or expensive drapery.

Fortunately, interior window shutters are a nice alternative to commonplace blinds, and they come in a variety of styles for use with any window in your home. Used properly, interior shutters can enhance your living environment and increase security, all while saving on your energy bills this season.

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Customizing your interior environment with shutters

Let in welcoming sunlight while protecting your energy bill

Interior shutters or plantation shutters are the most well known shutter for their sturdy construction and operable louvers to control daylight. To keep your home cooler in the summer, louvers should be tilted towards the ceiling. This will keep the hottest sunrays from heating up your interiors and will prevent your furniture fabric from fading. In cooler weather, the louvers can be directed towards the floor as the sun is lower in the sky and will help warm your interiors naturally, thus saving on your energy bill.

One of my clients tired of opening and closing the shutters and opted for half shutters. Otherwise known as café style shutters, they enable light to penetrate through the top window, but allow privacy on the bottom half of the window—perfect for kitchens and bathrooms!

Choose the best materials and colors based on your lifestyle

If you maintain a busy lifestyle with kids, active pets, and a constant stream of traffic through your home, look to sturdy hardwood shutters. Another great option if you’re on a budget is to get faux or aluminum shutters that look like hardwood. Your interiors can look beautiful without the added expense of real hardwood and can stand up to harsh sunrays and temperature changes at your windows. Many homeowners prefer to stain or paint their wood shutters to match the paint color trim of the walls. This result is perfect in dens, studies, or anywhere that you’d like a gorgeous wood aesthetic, like in this den pictured here.

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Choose a finish and material that speaks to your design style

Decorative interior shutters to suit your design style

Traditionally, plantation and island shutters were used on the exterior of homes to keep out sunlight, but also were used to protect from the wind and seasonal storms. Today’s interiors shutters come in a variety of styles, finishes, and slat widths to blend with your design style. If you love a more modern and minimalistic aesthetic, opt for louvers that are larger (3 ½”) and have more space between them and are fixed. If you prefer a traditional flair, look to the classic (1 ½ -2 ½”) slat size as they will let in less light, but can also be hinged at the jamb to fully open outward for a clear view.

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Shutters also help with air circulation & safety

Shutters can help your green home environment

Shutters can help to control air circulation, light rays, heat regulation, and can help keep your home safe and secure. They’re considered a green window covering option as they help to insulate the window more efficiently than traditional fabric drapery that lets air out through its porous material.

I have a client family that lives in northern Florida. They keep the shutter doors closed, but open the louvers in the mornings to bring fresh air into their home without worrying about strangers looking in. The shutters provide versatility in terms of security along with saving on energy costs.

This season, take another look at interior shutters. You may have thought they were only for decoration, but from helping you regulate your indoor climate to stylish ways to customize them for your home, you’ll enjoy the longevity of them as well. Many homeowners see a return on investment when selling their homes as buyers consider shutters an upgrade.

Ronique Gibson is a home design/lifestyle expert who writes for Home Depot on home style, DIY interior décor, and home design, including window treatments. The author of the ebook 111 Simple Tips for your Everyday Home, Ronique has a Bachelors of Architecture from Tuskegee University. You can view a variety of interior shutters, including styles discussed by Ronique, on Home Depot’s website.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.