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What Are Plantation Shutters?

What are plantation shutters? It may sound like a simple question but while many people could probably pick the plantation shutters out of a line-up, they might not be able to tell you exactly what makes them different from other kinds of shutters.

Often any kind of interior shutter is mistakenly called a plantation shutter. But there are a few different types of interior shutters. But before we get to that you should know first, what makes a shutter, well, a shutter?

Shutters are basically a hinged window covering made with a frame. They also often contain vertical slats and horizontal rails. Blinds and shades don’t have the frame around the outside or the hinges that hold the shutters to the window.

There are interior and exterior versions of shutters. The most common interior shutters are colonial shutters and plantation shutters and sometimes California shutters, though they are just a slightly bigger variation on plantation shutters.


In differentiating plantation shutters from colonial shutters, the width of the slat (the vertical piece inside the frame) is the biggest factor.

Plantation shutter slats are much wider than colonial shutters. According to some definitions, colonial shutters are those with slats smaller than 3 inches and plantation shutters are between 3 and 5 inches with 3.5 inches being the most common size. The term “California shutters” is sometimes used for shutters with slats that are larger than 4.5 inches.

Plantation shutters typically fill an entire window space whereas colonial or café style shutters can sometimes only go up 75% or 50% of the way up the window.

The main difference in plantation and colonial shutters comes from where they originated. Colonial shutters were designed in the more northern climates and designed to let light in but also keep the heat in, hence the smaller slats to have a smaller gap for air flow. Plantation shutters were designed in warmer climates and designed to prevent some of the heat and light of the sun from getting in, but also to allow for air to flow through the home. You can read more on our blog post about the history of plantation shutters.