Plantation vs. California Style Shutters

Congratulations, you have purchased your new dream home! You are now wondering the very best way to cover and treat all of those windows . Today, home builders not only use different size windows, but also include various shaped windows (i.e. fully arched, eyebrow, round, oval, triangle, etc.).

There are so many different window coverings in the marketplace to choose from. Each of those treatments will offer one or two very strong benefits. You want beauty, quality, energy efficiency, long lasting physical durability, functionality, timeless (not trendy) and, of course, the all-important privacy. Privacy, followed by energy efficiency are typically the primary reasons home owners cover their windows at all. As we always tell our clients, if it is not a privacy or sun issue, it is perfectly fine to leave those windows uncovered. However, if you are like me, you want all the benefits in one treatment. For people like us, true custom wood shutters might be the perfect solution.


Our shutters are milled from real wood, and we use your exact paint color or custom match your stain color to add true value to your home like beautiful custom kitchen cabinetry. I often tell my clients when they ask about faux shutters, "well I guess they make cabinets out of plastic and pressboard too but, I see you didn't select those for your kitchen". The truth is, even your window sills should be wood, not plastic or pressboard. There is a reason that builders do it that way. I always educate my clients about different types and options for shutters so that they can make informed decisions and the best possible choices for their lifestyle.

For the purpose of this article, we will discuss the two styles of custom shutters. The Plantation Style that has the vertical front facing tilt- rod, and the California (Clearview) Style that has the hidden tilt rods.

Plantation Style

Most shutters today are the Plantation Style, where the vertical bar in the front of the panel connects all the louvers so you can toggle all the louvers open or closed simultaneously with one touch, simply by moving the bar up or down. This is a great look in a traditional, eclectic, or transitional style homes as a standalone window covering or also lends its self well to a variety of soft drapery accents.

On operable windows, we typically include a horizontal divider rail on plantation style shutters that hide the window sash and window latches, but also allow the louvers above the divider rail to be open/closed independent of the louvers below the divider rail.

Traditional plantation shutters come in a variety of horizontal louvers sizes, including 2 ½”, 3 ½”, and 4 ½”. The size of the louver not only impacts the look of the shutter, but also allows for more/less exterior visibility and light control.

The only drawbacks to plantation style shutters are that the tilt rod in the center of the shutter obstructs a little of your view when the shutter is tilted open, and they are a little harder to clean as you have to work around the tilt rod.

California Style

The California Style Shutter does not have the front facing tilt rod, but rather it is hidden on the back side of the shutter. This hidden tilt bar performs the same function as the traditional tilt rod, easy opening and closing of all the louvers at the same time. Simply touch just one of the louvers on the front to adjust your louvers.

The benefits to this style are the unobstructed view and a crisp clean look that really punctuates contemporary interiors. It also works very well in transitional and eclectic styles of home interiors as well. Shutters done with this hidden tilting system should typically use the 4 ½” louvers to maximize the clear view. This style is also easier to clean.

With California Style shutters, while you can use a horizontal divider rail, typically you would not as that rail takes away from the “clearview”. However, we can split the louvers on the hidden tilt rod so you can have an upper section of louvers that can operate independent of the lower section so you can close off the lower section for privacy and keep the top section open for light control.

Please check out our products page to see examples of the different styles.


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