With most window treatment options, you have to choose from a short list of standard colors. Plantation shutters, however, offer nearly unlimited color options. They are one of the few window treatments that can be custom painted. So what color should you paint your shutters?
Match the Trim
Typically, shutters are painted to match the color of the trim around the windows. This is because shutters are usually mounted in shallow boxes called "frames" that attach directly to the casing of the window. The frame provides a surface for the shutter panels to mount to, but also visually ties the shutter to the window trim so that, with a good color match, it is hard to tell where the window casing ends and the shutters begin. This is often the objective. Custom plantation shutters are typically designed and built to appear as part of the window.
If you plan to change your trim color, you way want to consider painting the trim the new color before the shutters are installed. Don't plan on changing the color of the shutters once they are installed. Manufacturers paint shutters in a controlled environment with a paint sprayer to ensure that paint is applied evenly. Once installed, shutters will likely have to be painted by hand with a brush. This will result in a poor finish quality.
In addition to painting shutters a solid color, plantation shutters can also be stained. In most cases, stained shutters are constructed from basswood. This is a wide grained hardwood with a grain that similar in appearance to birch and, to a lesser extent, pine. Most stained wooden blinds are also made of basswood. Stained shutters generally cost between 10-20% more than shutters painted a solid color because of the additional labor involved and the requirement that they be made of stain quality wood.
Stained shutters are often used when the trim on a window is stained or in cases where the entire room is stained, like in a formal study. In such cases, the shutters can be custom matched to the stain color of the window casing. Unlike solid colors, you should not expect that the stained shutters will be a perfect match to the window trim. Wood cut from the same tree and stained at the same time with the same stain can have considerable variation from piece to piece. You should expect the shutters to be in the same stain 'color family' as the window trim.
In some cases, homeowners may consider using stained shutters against a solid color trim. For instance, a homeowner may want to match the color of cabinets, furniture, or hardwood floors in a room. Most shutter experts recommend against this because shutters are typically built and finished to appear as part of the window. The contrast between the stained shutter and the window trim set the two apart rather than tying them together.
Shutters can be painted so that they are one color on the inside and another on the outside. Duplexed shutters are typically used in cases where the outside trim color is very different from the interior trim color and the shutters are painted to match each. Most experts suggest avoiding duplexing of shutters. This is an expensive option, increasing the price by 40-60%. Additionally, the line between the two colors can be inconsistent and not entirely straight and clear.