How to Design House Shutters

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Designed to add to the curb appeal of a house, and enhance the look of the exterior by adding a pop of color to the windows, shutters serve multiple purposes. In addition to aesthetic appeal, they can be used to protect a home during a heavy storm, and in many areas that are prone to hurricanes, most homeowners prefer to install shutters as opposed to investing in expensive or decorative windows. If you are considering the possibility of installing shutters, you might want to consider designing your own – all you will need for the task is a camera, some tracing paper, and supplies like measuring tape, a mechanical pencil, graph paper, and a ruler.

  • Begin by taking photographs of the windows where you will be installing the shutters. Have these photocopied and enlarged, so the images of the windows can be large enough for you to see easily, and work with more conveniently. It is essential to maintain an element of cohesiveness and keep the visual appeal factor in mind when designing shutters.
  • Fix tracing paper over the photocopies, and tape it in place with some clear tape. Using the pencil, start sketching some shutters onto the sides of the window. This way, you can determine which look is best for the house. Experiment with different styles until you fix on the one you want. Modern shutters are less functional and more for aesthetic appeal, as they are fairly narrow, and their width does not measure up to the actual width of the window. Traditional or functional shutters are roughly half of a standard window’s width, and are at times double-hinged for wider windows.
  • Once you’ve decided on a design, measure a typical window in your house to obtain a standard measurement with which you can work while designing the shutters. These measurements should then be transferred to the graph paper with a ½ inch to 1 foot scale. Now, in order to determine the shutter’s probable width, draw a box with the height and width of the window, and compare it with the tracing-paper shutter’s visual scale. Using this, draw a rectangle on the graph paper which will represent the typical size of the shutter.
  • Now, start working on fine-tuning the shutter/window sketch. Adjust it so it is shorter than your window by 3 to 4 inches. On the drawing, place the shutter so it is 1 1/2 to 2 inches above the lower window trim, and underneath the top window trim. Using this, you can gain an idea about the finished shutter’s visual size.
  • Check to see if the windows in your home are placed too close together, as this might case the shutters to touch other shutters. If there is a small overlap, e.g. by 2 inches or less, you might consider reducing the size of the shutters in width. Make sure your home’s exterior is not crowded with shutters – the aim is to create a visually pleasing, symmetrical effect.
  • Finally, tape the tracing paper over the graph paper. Using the window you drew as a guide, sketch different types of shutters, to determine which will work best for your home. Once you have the blueprint prepared, you can begin working on the real thing, or hire someone else to do the wood work for you.
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