Plantation shutters were invented during the Medieval ages, during a time when glass windows did not exist. Before the shutters, if a person had a window, it was simply an opening in the wall, and the elements of the outdoors would affect the interior. Because of that, many homes had no windows, which made houses very dark. The invention of shutters offered a solution to this, by placing a “door” over the window made it easy to shut our inclement weather and to offer privacy. Original shutters looked like doors over windows; they were constructed of a flat piece of wood. If the person wanted to see outside, they had to swing the shutters open completely.
The louvered shutters came along during the 17th century in France. Louis XIV had a home there and rather liked “spying” on the women bathing in his ponds. He wanted to be sneaky about it, did not want them to know of his presence, so he had louvered shutters constructed, so he could open them a tiny bit to see out. But those outside could not tell if anyone was looking at them from the inside. It made it possible for Louis to watch the ladies bathing without them knowing he was watching.
The design took hold in Europe, more shutters that are louvered began showing up, especially around England and Spain. The settlers to the early United States brought the traditional shutters over, and these were found among New England. When the Spanish came over they brought the louvered shutters of King Louis, and as they built some of the mansions in the south, which oversaw the cotton farms, they added the louvered shutters to the windows of the large plantations. These particular shutters were typically painted white too. They became known as plantation shutters from this and are known as that worldwide today.
Some call plantation shutters “cafe shutters” – and normally it depends on the width of the slats. Original plantation shutters had extra wide slats, which more modern shutters have narrow slats. Today’s plantation shutters come in all sizes, widths, and colors. Many are stained wood or painted to match the interior and or exterior of the home. Throughout history, these shutters were found on windows in homes all over after Europeans began traveling around the world bringing the shutters with them. They remain a very popular choice in home decor and window dressings even today.