Difference Between Plantation Shutters and Traditional Shutters?

If you were not born with an inbuilt home improvement dictionary, distinguishing the difference between traditional shutters and plantation shutters may seem like rocket science. It isn’t though. And while the slight difference between them may not seem obvious at first, choosing one over the other as your window treatment can have startling effects. So, without further ado, here are some differences between plantation and traditional shutters you can’t afford to miss.


Shutters, in general, were introduced to the Americans by the Spanish, particularly in New England states. Traditional/colonial shutters were thus the first to be introduced. Today, you can find them in Northeastern homes, practically in homes with early American décor. Plantation shutters, on the other hand, were introduced in the Old South, as window treatments to keep homes safe from the harshest of the sun’s rays. With time, plantation shutters have come to replace traditional shutters, and are widely used nationwide.

Similarities Between Traditional and Plantation Shutters

In terms of functionality, traditional shutters function in much the same way as plantation shutters. They’re both designed with louvers placed in window mounted frames, which can be manipulated to control the amount of air and sunlight allowed into a room. With regard to the benefits of home improvement, this is where their similarities end.

Differences Between Traditional and Plantation Shutters

  1. louver size: traditional louvers are known to come in one size only – size 1 1/4″. So, they’re built as a one size fits all. Modern plantation shutters, however, come in different sizes, some larger than others, with sizes going from 1 7/8″ to 5 1/2″. Most of them tend to fall between 2 and 3″. If you have larger than average windows, you may benefit from using plantation shutters for your home improvement, instead of traditional shutters.
  2. Material: you’ll almost always find traditional shutters made from wood. Of course, this wood can be painted, or come bare so you can paint it with your desired color. Plantain shutters can be made of wood as well – typically painted white – but you can find them in several synthetic materials. In terms of customization, it’ll be easier to custom order plantation shutters to meet your décor needs, because colonial shutters offer only one type of construction material.
  3. Privacy and view: because of their wider slats, plantation shutters provide a better, unobstructed view of the outdoors. Traditional slats, no matter how well designed, will always keep you from seeing the full view outside. Note that while both slats provide you with a modicum of privacy, multiple, thin slats found in traditional shutters may offer less privacy than plantation shutters.
  4. Maintenance: common sense dictates that the larger the louver, the easier it will be to clean. So, plantation shutters win hands down.

If there’s one thing you should take away from this, it’s that plantation shutters are an upgrade of traditional shutters, with the latter quietly going out of style. So if you’re dead set on using shutters for your home improvement, you will most likely be looking at plantation shutters.