Shutters: The Good, The Bad, and What The..?

We do a lot of talking about the RIGHT way to decorate your home's exterior with outdoor shutters, but haven't touched on the multitude of WRONG ways to hang your shutters. I decided to take a stroll around my neighborhood to see what the folks out there are doing with their shutters.

NOTE: When I talk about "good" or "bad", it's purely from the perspective that decorative shutters are supposed to look like they're operational. Personally, I enjoy the architectural oddities as much as the perfect examples.

Now, keep in mind, I didn't drive for miles, searching endlessly for examples on how NOT to hang your shutters. I took a five-minute walk down the street, and the shutter abuses were immediately evident. Hiding in the bushes and behind trees, I snapped a few photos of the worst offenders (and also my nice neighbors who got it right). Let's start with them:

Board and Batten Shutters

Fig 1: The Good.These pretty Board and Batten shutters are sized and hung perfectly. Even without decorative shutter hardware, they give the illusion that they could be closed. A contrasting paint job gives the house an overall bright, clean look. Nice work!

Awning and Decorative Shutters

Fig 2: The Bad.There's way too much going on with this window. On this size window, striped awning + decorative shutters = circus effect. Not to mention the shutters are not sized to fit the window, which looks to me like the window is sporting a walrus moustache (which not many windows, or people, can pull off). Oddly, there are quite a few shutter configurations like this in my neighborhood.

Garage Shutters

Fig 3: What the..? Much like the window moustache, this configuration makes the garage door look like it has sideburns (that's it for the facial hair comparisons, I promise). Aside from the obvious shutter width issues, every other window on this house has shutters, so it probably would have been OK to leave them off the garage. Sometimes less is more, and shutter overkill just makes your home's exterior look cluttered.

Bad Door Shutters

Fig 4: Bonus Bad Shutters. Just drove by this late entry today, and thought it was worthy of the gallery. These sweet saloon-door shutters scream Wild West, but don't really fit in modern-day suburbia. They're set too far back from the door to give the impression they might be able to close, and the sizing issues are pretty evident. Again, every window on this house has shutters, so it would have been wise to use some restraint and leave the door unadorned.

I poke fun, but the truth is, if you're trying to achieve a realistic effect with your decorative shutters, sizing, and where you hang them, ARE really important. That being said, if you want to exercise your creative shutter freedom - go for it! Cover your house in decorative shutters and paint them whatever color your heart desires. And be sure to show me your fabulous work!