Shutters 101: A Guide to Getting the Perfect Fit for Every Home



Plantation shutters are a beloved interior design staple and with good reason. Not only do they instantly add charm to any room, they are often easy to clean, match just about any décor, suit the lounge as much as the kitchen, and make for a great DIY project.


However, while many of us would love to see a beautiful set of shutters adorn the windows of our home, we’re often scared off by the prospect of measuring and installing ourselves or having to chase multiple quotes and then waiting around for installation.


The good news is there’s no need for all the anxiety. You can easily measure your own windows to get the perfect fit, without the need for a tradesman’s quote. In fact, you can completely DIY the entire shutters installation process.


Assemble Your Tools


Don’t be scared. You won’t need a treasure trove of obscure measuring devices or expensive power tools—just a measuring tape and a pencil and pad will do the trick. If you want to go high-tech, there’s plenty of measuring tape apps available for Android and iPhone, but we suggest going old school to get the most accurate measurement.


Inside or Outside


One of the most important decisions you’ll make when deciding on your shutters is outside mount vs inside mount. What’s the difference? Simple. Inside mount shutters are installed within the recess of your window and sit flush against the wall, while outside mount means your shutters will sit within a frame fitted to the wall around the window. We’ll decide which option is best for your windows by measuring your recess.


Start with the Basics


Before we get into the nitty gritty and start measuring recesses and architraves, let’s get the most basic measurements pencilled down. Start by measuring the width and height of your window. Just whip out your tape measure and extend from one end of your window to the other lengthwise and then the same across to get the width—easy.


Time for Recess


You may have encountered this term before when doing your research. A recess simply refers to that space between your window and the flat wall it’s built into, the place where you may put a plant or other keepsakes. To measure your recess accurately, measure the depth of your recess, starting from the point closest to you and ending at the point closest to the window, then from the top of the recess to the bottom. It’s this measurement which will determine whether your shutters are inside or outside mount—if your recess is at least 70mm, you can choose between inside or outside mounted shutters.


A Quick Note About Architraves


An architrave is like decorative moulding around the edges of your window. If you are mounting inside your recess, you don’t need to worry about measuring your architrave. But if you choose to outside mount, this is where you’ll be attaching your shutters and you will need to measure from edge to edge. If you don’t have an architrave, your windows are what’s known as ‘square set’. When outside mounting, you just need to allow for the width of the shutter frame in your measurements.


Getting Inside


If the windows you’re looking to furnish will be inside mount, measure the height of the window, bottom to top, in three different places. Then measure the width, left to right, in three different places. Go with the smallest of your three measurements for each. If you’re wondering where to measure, do equidistant measurements from the middle and then either side, nearer to the edges.


Stepping Outside


If your shutters will be outside mount, follow the same steps as measuring for an inside mount. However, this time you’ll be going with the largest of the three measurements. If your windows are without a recess but have an architrave, follow the same process, but begin and end each measurement at the edges of your architrave.


The Next Step


If you’ve followed each step, you’ll have most of the measurements you need to order your DIY shutters and be confident that they’ll fit perfectly into your windows. Once installed, sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee and the pastoral charm you’ve just added to your home.


Dan Field is cofounder at The Shutters Department. He’s passionate about using technology to make the complex simple, and is on a mission to make DIY plantations shutters cheap and easy for everyone.