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How Do Plantation Shutters Differ From Traditional Shutters

Plantation Shutters

When you’re looking through potential upgrades for your home, window treatments might not immediately stand out as something you’d need. However, if you’re playing a vicious game of “block the sun” throughout the day, the investment might be worth more than the headache. Between blinds, shades, and shutters, you can find window treatments of all types to suit your perfect design style.

Among those previously listed, shutters are the permanent solution to that excessively bright sunlight problem. They can even raise your property's resale value. With plantation shutters and traditional shutters, you might wonder which fits best in your home. Plantation shutters differ from traditional shutters in three main ways:

  • Plantation shutters have larger slat sizes than traditional shutters, which makes them more suitable for custom-sized windows
  • Traditional shutters are available in a limited range of materials, while plantation shutters can be made from a wide variety of materials
  • You can add motorization features to plantation shutters to take full advantage of their flexibility

In this article, you’ll dive into three key differences between traditional and plantation shutters to decide which style is right for your household.

What’s the Difference?

There are many differences between plantation shutters and traditional shutters, but the biggest distinguishing factor stems from their history. According to, traditional shutters originated in the New England area during the Colonial times. Early American or country-style homes typically incorporate the traditional shutter style. 

Plantation shutters get their name from the Antebellum style properties popularized in the south during the 1800s. Plantation owners used this style of exterior shutter mainly to protect their houses from stormy weather and direct sunlight. Now, both types of shutters are used for interior functionality and decor.

Shutter Slat Sizes

The biggest difference between traditional and plantation shutter types is the size of the slats. Slats, also known as “louvers,” are the thin planks that open and shut when you use your shutters. Trying to decide on whether you would like a classic design or a more modern one? Slat sizes play a big role. 

While traditional shutters have narrower slat widths, plantation shutters have more space in between. notes that traditional shutters are only available in 1-inch to 1 ¼-inch styles. Plantation shutters are usually available in 3 ½- inch widths, but they come in a broader range of sizes than traditional shutters. 

Shutter Material Types

Traditional shutters are made from wood. You can paint them yourself or buy pre-finished shutters in different colors & finishes. 

For plantation shutters, the most common choices are vinyl, composite, and solid wood. 

Vinyl Shutters

Vinyl plantation shutters come in aluminum or PVC-plastic. While inexpensive, it may not be the best long-term investment. Vinyl shutters are known to yellow over time and are prone to cracking from structural issues.

Composite Shutters

Composite plantation shutters are made from a medium-density fiberboard that feels and looks like wood without the added cost. Most manufacturers even offer extended warranties on composite shutters. 

Wood Shutters

Wood plantation shutters are a top-tier choice for their classic elegance and durability. Basswood, in particular, is known for its strength and lightweight. These types of shutters are so versatile, you can fit them to custom and specialty-shaped windows.

Shutter Motorization Features

Your home gets a new aura with shutters and you can add a little tech to your day-to-day routine. However, "traditional" shutters are less preferred as compared to plantation shutters, because they don't allow for the same flexibility.

Motorized shutters can be customized to open and close daily based on your schedule. While it may sound like a luxurious addition, plantation shutters make this option affordable for you.


Permanent fixtures like plantation shutters are great for your home’s resale value. They offer the flexibility to customize your room’s ambiance without having to fuss with cords, yellowing shades, and broken blinds. Before you research window treatments for your house, measure your window’s width and height to maximize your options. You’ll find that the best return on your investment will ultimately be plantation shutters.