Interior Shutters. Goodbye Ugly Curtains, Hello Perfect Solution.

You’d better sit on your hands because after seeing this you’re going to want to rip all the curtains off your walls and throw them in a ditch.  Interior shutters for the win.  The minimalist solution for a heritage home.

Once upon a time I bought $15 curtain panels from the discount bin at a fabric store. As far as home decor decisions go, it was right up there with buying a shag rug from Costco.  When I finally threw the discoloured, flattened rug out, I suspect many pounds of potato chip crumbs, tv remotes and socks went with it.

You can see my old horrendous curtains AND the Costco rug in this post I wrote on how to create a gallery wall.  I still miss my gallery wall.

It wasn’t my most inspired move to impulse buy curtains for my entire house based solely on the fact that I was out buying buttons, but at the time I needed something fast and cheap.  I hung them up and loved them for the first 2 weeks or so. That’s the period when I still had the WOW I saved so much money!!! adrenaline rush.   Then I noticed in photos my curtains looked kind of … well dusty rose.  I have nothing against dusty rose, it’s just that I hate it.  Therefore I hated the curtains.   Obviously I couldn’t keep them so I immediately got rid of them 10 years later.

In that time my love affair with cell shades ran out as well.   I had those on my windows in addition to the curtains. But cell shades are nearly impossible to wash, have a tendency to break and need to be custom cut to size.

So I spent a decade thinking about what to use as window coverings and THIS time it was going to be something that would last.  Enter the interior shutter.

I finally got rid of the horrendous curtains and built these shutters with some birch plywood and trim.  If you look at the photo above you might think to yourself … “But there’s no room to actually open them.  Stupid Karen.”  And you’d be right.  But I fixed that by designing shutters that …

… fold in on themselves making them half the size they appear on the windows when they’re closed. I’ve never loved anything so much in my life.  I’m certain of it.

The two windows at the front of my house have a clear stained glass transom over each of them so I did the interior shutters at 3/4’s the height of the window for those two windows. That way light still comes in the house during the day even if the shutters are closed, the transoms become a design feature in the rooms whether the shutters are open or closed and they’re still high enough to create complete privacy.

I don’t have a lot of extra space around my windows. There are buffets and tables and couches everywhere. Like some kind of house or something.  So annoying. I had to come up with a solution that would allow me to have full sized shutters that would fit into a tiny space.

I created a concealed hinge folding shutter.  And they work perfectly.  The hinges that allow the shutters to fold in on themselves are hidden by a strip of trim down the centre of each shutter.

After figuring that whole thing out I realized I had a bit more figuring out to do. Because they’re on hinges and made out of very lightweight 1/4″ plywood the shutters have a tendency to want to pop open.  A few magnets here and there and a latch (that is actually a picture hanger) at the bottom and my problems were solved.

I assume you realize I’m only referring to my shutter problems. I still have those Idris Elba, potato chip and always grabbing the grocery cart that pulls to the left problems.

The shutters are a basic shaker style which makes they really easy because the trim joints in the corners are all just straight butts.

These shutters are astonishingly versatile. Because they’re on hinges I can maneuver them open many different ways.  I can open them so they’re folded on themselves like you see below, or just crack them open a bit like you see in the photo above plus a multitude of other ways.

If you feel like your house needs some sort of architectural element, this could be your answer.

So how long did this take?  I figured it would take me a full day to make these shutters.  Knowing I’m always wrong about this sort of thing, I doubled my timeline and gave myself a weekend.  Then I laughed and laughed as I entered day 5 and I was still making shutters.  The tears didn’t start until day 7.  But they were tears of joy because the shutters were finally done.  5 windows of shutters made, painted and hung in 7 days.

I know that probably seems like a long time but these babies are here for good.  There’s more to making these than you think.  It’s not hard, there are just a lot of steps, mainly in finishing them. Stuff like sanding and gluing and hanging.

My next post is going to be a full tutorial on how to make these Interior Shutters yourself. You know.  In case you also bought curtains from the bottom of a discount bin 10 years ago.

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Why you never have to go back to curtains again. Learn about the interior shutter now!

101 Comments

  1. I realllllly think you need to have an extended visit in the treehouse this year, and make these for the treehouse windows. Deal. Done. Okay, see you soon 🙂 x

    • Phyllis Kraemer says:

      I’ll come and help you Karen…and you can boss me around! Then we can go to Keady and drag Welding man with us…and who knows …the beach is just 1/2 hour away from Keady!!

      • Karen says:

        LOL. Dan has *already* decided I’m going, and then to Keady and then to his pond/lake to swim. Although I’m afraid of that pond/lake. ~ karen!

  2. Wendi says:

    So beautiful, Karen! I especially love how you can now see those gorgeous transoms! I need some fresh new ideas about a new covering/treatment for my living room bay window. We still have the “Totally 80’s” vertical blinds on them that came with the house when we bought it…ten years ago. Ugh 😑

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Oh goodness those verticals are beyond bad eh? We put them on a sliding patio door back in the 80’s and I hated them after about 10 minutes! They were fabric with a really gross matching valance. What were we thinking???

  3. Vicki LEUNG says:

    THEY’RE BEAUTIFUL!!

  4. I had to add some treehouse-ness with a pic for inspiration AKA bribery (?) 🙂 We need to get some rock stacking done STAT. You go first.

    • Karen says:

      Hahah! I’ve actually been thinking of rock stacking since I posted that artist doing it on my Facebook page! ~ karen

  5. dana says:

    I love those shutters, Karen. They look awesome!

  6. kddomingue says:

    I eagerly await the tutorial! The shutters look really great! They may be the solution to my living room windows. Dog snot is much easier to clean off of wood than white curtains which require ladders and taking down and laundering and ladders and hanging back up again!

  7. Gayle M says:

    I am struggling with window covering issuespecially as well. Cure entry have Lowe’s aluminum 1 inch blinds. Hate. Would love shutters…but I also like “keeping an eye” on the neighbors. You know. You know. The ones who moved into my pastor’s house three years ago, and after almost gutting the place, said they’d invite us over to see the renovations. Last time I bake THEM a cake. Still wondering what was so wrong with Pastor’s house…

    I digress, apologies. My house is a meter 1050 sq feet, and I’m worried it might become claustrophobic after a while. Like during the winter of 2018 that lasted into summer of 2018. (Will spring ever come?)

    I do love them on your windows. Classic. Nice job, really worth your effort.

    • Gayle M says:

      I guess I had better pay attention to autocorrect more closely. Currently have aluminum blinds, and the house is just 1050 sq ft. Tiny by most standards in these parts… I’d welcome any suggestions, fellow followers…

      • Sarah McDonnell says:

        put up shutters then go to the neighbors for a prayer meeting. Easy peavey. They probably get that all the time in a pastors’s house.

        • Gayle M says:

          How I wish my pastor still lived there! At least he and his wife were sociable and friendly. In the spring and summer, she would play with the kids under the huge tree in the yard, waiting for daddy/hubby to get home from work. We’d sit for them for free ( his family out of town, hers in Australia). These new owners don’t even open their curtains…

    • Ev Wilcox says:

      Spring? What is this “spring” of which you speak? Northeast Ohioans know not of what you speak…sigh.

      • kddomingue says:

        Jeez, I live in South Louisiana and we’re still getting cold snaps and running the heater…..
        in APRIL for the love of pete!

  8. Paula says:

    Beautiful! I am definitely going to ‘borrow’ this idea. New trim shaker style trim in the house and I don’t want curtains to cover it; this post is so perfectly timed!

  9. Trish says:

    Oh, I’m in!

  10. Sherri says:

    So funny, I was just looking at how to build a set for my bedroom- both for the look and to reduce the crack of dawn light that defeats even blackout curtains. This was on Friday while planning a Home Depot and Ace hardware trip. Life interferred with my grand plan on Friday and Saturday, oh and Sunday, but I am reinspired to make it happen. Thanks.
    Love the decision not to cover the transom!

    • whitequeen96 says:

      I have tried EVERYTHING to defeat the crack of dawn light that gets around curtains, blackout shades, blinds, everything! I finally found the answer and it’s easy. Voila!
      https://amzn.to/2qinFiw
      Hope it’s OK to post the link.
      These Contoured Sleep Masks are cheap and block out all the light. It’s adjustable, and I wear mine upside down because it fits me even better. At first I didn’t like the idea of sleeping with my eyes covered, but I’m so used to it now that it cues my body to go to sleep right away. It’s a blessing!

  11. Peg says:

    Nice! Great change from curtains and blinds.

  12. Angela says:

    Stunning❤️ I really REALLY love them. Nice work!!

  13. Melissa says:

    I’ve thought about doing this for awhile, will be so interested to see your tutorial!

  14. Grammy says:

    Beautiful! Your old curtains were driving me crazy. Now, every single room looks good with the crisp, clean lines of your shutters. I’m pretty sure I never saw those gorgeous transom windows before. Enjoy them, and then let us see how great the ones you make and install in Lynn’s treehouse look.

    • Karen says:

      Ha!!! Everyone tries to force me to relax and then they throw in things like “and you can make me shutters at the same time.”, lol! ~ k aren

  15. Heather Y says:

    I freakin’ LOVE these shutters! I am so desperately wanting to update my window coverings and just can’t find any I like….okay, okay…I have found some I like/love but there is NO WAY they fit into my measly budget. These shutters would be PERFECT! My husband is a State Trooper and doesn’t like the windows uncovered at night. (He doesn’t like the thought of some of his, let’s just call them “acquaintances,” being able to see us but us not see them…solution these bad a$$ shutters)! Win-win for both of us….which is good because I’m going to “recruit” him to help make ‘em. I, well we, eagerly await your tutorial!

    I have to tell you, I love your postings! I feel like I am talking to a good friend when I am reading them. I enjoy learning new things and you inspire me to look at things from different angles.

  16. Danni McLaughlin says:

    So excited to see the tutorial. Just bought a little house with super weird windows (sizes, locations, etc) and I have been puzzling on how to deal with them…. this might be perfect. Do you worry about sag?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Danni! The shutters shouldn’t sag. They’re very light, each panel is only 7-8″ wide and there’s no real framing around them to loosen. They’re flat panels of wood. It’s hard to explain, you’ll see more in Wednesdays How-To post. 🙂 ~ karen!

    • cris says:

      Don’t we all worry about sag?

  17. whitequeen96 says:

    OMG, you are a GENIUS! I especially like the way you figured out how to keep them from opening by using magnets and a picture hook. That ingenuity is the mark of true brilliance! I really like the way they look, crisp and clean AND they highlight the gorgeous transoms. I bet you keep sneaking downstairs at night to look at them, don’t you?! Give yourself a big pat on the back.

  18. Aislin says:

    This is my favorite blog! I sit at chemo, and after chemo, and dream…but, you encourage me to DO! I rewired my electrical outlets to the USB port kind, stopping to toss toxic chemo cookies….electrician wanted $25 an outlet….and I got so brave after the 7 th outlet…I got crazy and wired a dimmer switch!
    I bought a bread linen, and am making bread twice a week…it is the reason my muscles hurt so much rolling bread is tough work…chemo is easy….reading bread recipes.

  19. Aislin says:

    I got cut off registering to chat! I have seeds ordered to put in paper pots, that I made while tossing cookies, and IV shoved up my arm. Now everyone else wants pa

  20. anakit says:

    Well done! Now you can live in there!

  21. Thandi says:

    THEY’RE AMAZING!!! WHY DO I RENT?! I NEED THEM!

    • Karen says:

      They’re pretty great! Yeah, don’t do these if you rent, lol. Too much work! Unless you plan to rent there forever and then … who cares! ~ karen!

  22. Janet Goddard says:

    Oh, they are beautiful. I’m excited that you will share how to make them!

  23. Claire Bickley says:

    So nice! I love the clean crisp lines of shutters.
    Speaking of: what’s the source of your pretty pretty sectional?

    Thanx,
    Claire

    • Karen says:

      Hi Claire! I actually got it at EQ3 in Burlington. But I got it a longgggg time ago. Years ago. It was the floor model. It might be next up on the replacement list, so I’ll let you know. 😉 ~ karen

  24. Jenny W says:

    “Obviously I couldn’t keep them, so I got rid of them 10 years later.”
    Best Sentence Ever 🙂
    I love the shutters! I had some made for my kitchen windows when I first moved in, and I topped them with Poofy VALANCES!! My tastes have certainly changed 13 years, Thank G, and now you’ve given me reason to revisit shutters again (I loved the privacy).
    This time, however, I will make them myself, cause I rock 🙂

  25. Bonnie Harris says:

    Best ever! eagerly awaiting instructions!

  26. Gail Dedrick says:

    Perfection. You have outdone yourself. I use shutters in the city for the window over our bed. It solves a lot of problems.

    • Karen says:

      Good for you! I have no problems to solve in my bedroom. Sometimes I don’t even close the curtains. 😉 ~ karen!

  27. Jean ann says:

    Seriously perfect. The transom makes it ‘perfecter.’ After lusting after these in great houses In Europe, you did it!!

  28. Leisa Daly says:

    Incredible! So hard to find good, affordable window coverings!

  29. danni says:

    oh shite! This might be what I needed to push me over the edge to paint all my crappy woodwork white….

    • Karen says:

      Lemme tell you – it took me YEARS to finally paint all my woodwork white. I did a post on it last year (or the year before). I cant’ believe I was such an idiot and waited so long. Ditto for painting my brick wall. – karen!

  30. Phyllis Kraemer says:

    These are truly lovely!!

  31. jaine kunst says:

    They are beautiful and so much better than curtains. I would love to make them for my bathroom and replace those dusty mini blinds. UGH!!

  32. Lea says:

    You did a fantastic job Karen. Your talents are endless. 🇨🇦

  33. Bev Bennett says:

    Fabulous shutters. You are so talented. Enjoy your blogs See you at the vets

  34. Bev Bennett says:

    Fabulous shutters. You are so clever. See you at the vets

  35. Heather says:

    You amaze me. In the nicest way. Beautiful! : )

  36. linda in illinois says:

    oh JOY!, you made my heart skip. I SO want to do this with you when you post the instructions. I hate curtains, but I have never been confident enough to make shutters. I just painted my livingroom flannel gray and need new window covers. Why not shutters right. It’s a large bay window, straight, not concaved, so should be much simpler to shutter. Fingers crossed.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Hi Linda, I don’t want to rain on your parade, but with a bay window how would you fold back that type of shutter on the middle window? We have 3 bay windows in our house and it took years to figure out what to do. Eventually my talented husband made california shutters painted white and they still look fab. Great light and privacy control and easy to dust, not that I ever do…

  37. Betty says:

    I am so happy im not so odd afterall. I too did this only i used coordinating fabric and paper to tie in with each room. I love how i can shut my house off for privacy or open all the way and enjoy the sunlight. And best of all no more having to clean drapes

  38. ElenG says:

    Those shutters are perfection, Karen. And your lamps in between them just sing now. Kudos.

  39. Lynn says:

    Fantastic job Karen love the shutters. Always loved shutters just never knew how to make them now I get to find out thank you.

  40. Claire Bickley says:

    Thanks Karen for info about your pretty sectional.
    I would love to take that off your hands when you’re tired of it but the truth is, Im looking for it for a house in Pennsylvania so that’s not gonna work.
    🙂

  41. Ardith says:

    Brilliant, truly brilliant!

  42. j says:

    Love, Love, Love! If there was a word for more than perfection I would say that! I want them, NOW! I wanted them years ago, but the louvered ones and they weren’t really right, and too dusty, and too bulky. So I forgot about the whole idea. Now I know you and I know I can somehow tackle this. So psyched! Thank you Karen!

  43. Terri Cantor says:

    This post is everything, including timely! I’ve been thinking about doing this for my in bathtub windows, but never thought about doing the same for the rest of the house. Kinda harkens back to pioneer days 😊 Thank you for the inspiration! Looking forward to your follow up post.

  44. Cussot says:

    Stunning! Now you can stop staring dagger-eyes at those windows and the shutters will recede gracefully into the background gracefully. Perfect solution.

  45. Sandi Remedios says:

    Two thumbs up, one from me and one from my co-worked. I can’t wait for Wednesday. These will look great in my 1934 cottage.
    Love the nice clean Shaker Look!

  46. Sandi Remedios says:

    Two thumbs up, one from me and one from my co-worker. I can’t wait for Wednesday. These will look great in my 1934 cottage.
    Love the nice clean Shaker Look!

  47. Meredith says:

    Awesome! When is the tutorial? My coonhound went partially out a living room window after a squirrel some 6 years ago (neither the squirrel nor the coonhound were injured). We got the window replaced but have a half sheet of plywood to cover the bottom half of the window for when we are not at home. I wanted shutters, but balked at the price and the husband insisted plywood was fine. It looks like shit. This is the solution!! Nicer plywood with trim! Painted! And hinges! Eagerly await your how-to!

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