Plantation Shutters 101 (Part 1: Selecting & Measuring)

Ready to buy plantation shutters for your windows, but don't know where to start? This series walks you through the entire DIY process of selecting, measuring for, purchasing, and installing faux wood plantation blinds yourself, from before to after!

Ready to buy plantation shutters for your windows, but don't know where to start? This series walks you through the entire DIY process of selecting, measuring for, purchasing, and installing faux wood plantation blinds yourself, from before to after!

A huge thanks to Select Blinds for sponsoring this post series. My opinion of their beautiful products is 100% my own.

One of the reasons we fell in love with the lot for our home was the view. The wooded setting outside of our home is absolutely stunning. From the time we started designing our home, we knew that we wanted lots and lots of windows throughout to take advantage of the gorgeous light and beautiful views.

But, one thing I didn't really account for was the privacy we might need out of our front windows. Having nothing covering the back windows isn't an issue; they're (mostly) south facing, so the light is nice and even most of the day, and we face woods on most of those windows as well, giving us lots of privacy. But, from the time we moved into our home, it was obvious that we needed some kind of solution for the front windows. Not only did I not want people looking in those windows (especially the bedrooms), but I discovered that our office window has a good bit of light the majority of the day, making it pretty difficult to work in there during the afternoon hours.

I have always loved the look of plantation shutters. They're just classic and really make a statement in just about any setting. But honestly – I didn't know where to start when it came to selecting, ordering, and installing these beauties. They're an investment; it's not something you want to mess up. So, I thought I'd document the process of putting these in our home for those of you out there who might be in the same boat I was in a couple of months ago!

Let's start at the beginning.


I chose Select Blinds for our plantation shutters because of their mix of style, quality, and price. Their promotions are fantastic, their selection is great, and I couldn't beat the price. I'm also so happy with the quality; they have blended into our home seamlessly and I'm sure they're something we'll enjoy for years to come!

We chose the Premium Faux Wood Shutters for the front windows in our home. There are lots of different options available on their site, but for us, this was the best combination of quality and price. They are much more cost-effective than the Painted Wood Shutters (running 25-35% less), and, like I mentioned, definitely don't slack in quality! Looking at ours, you would never know they're not real wood.

Once you're set on the type of shutters you want, there are quite a few personalization options to select.

First up, you'll need to select your color. We went with the energy-efficient Winter White. They work perfectly with our trim color (Sherwin Williams Snowbound) and I love that they lock in a little bit of energy savings too!

Now, the big one…measuring your windows. Select Blinds has a very specific process for measuring their windows…the video below helps:

Definitely invest in a metal measuring tape for this one…the stability helps measure bigger windows accurately. If you have another person around, make this a 2 person job.

For interior mount blinds, lock one side of the tape into one end of your window framing. On the other side, carefully bend your metal tape as close to the corner of your framing as possible. Measure down to an eighth of an inch, and when in doubt, round down (I'll show you how to fix that issue later on in Thursday's post).

Repeat this at three different spots in your frame (you'd be surprised how different it can be), and use the smallest measurement you get. You'll need to get both the length and width of the interior of your window frame.


Then, simply put that smallest measurement in on the Premium Faux Wood Shutters options page! I used an inside mount since we already had framing on our windows; if you do not have a window frame or want to hide the one that's there, you can use an outside; just ensure that the outside frame will work with any existing window framing. Note: the installation tutorial in Thursday's post will be for an inside mount.

Next, you'll need to select the size and type of louvers (i.e. slats) in your blinds. Your window needs to be at least 2 3/4″ deep (from front of frame to glass) for the 3 inch; for the 4 inch, it needs to be at least 3 1/4″ deep.

We went with 3″ energy efficient because of the depth of our window and cost savings; the solid wood louvers are thicker and provide more stability/insulation if you want to upgrade to those.

Next is panel configuration; this is total personal preference. For our smaller windows, we went with the 1 left, 1 right option on the lower left. For our two bigger windows (one of which is in the office, which I'll show in the next post), we went with 2 left, 2 right. This configuration still has a ton of stability; there are magnets that lock the panels into place, which I've loved so far! You'll need to consider what's surrounding your window when selecting this; if you don't have a lot of clearance in front, it might be better to go with 4 total panels on a larger window.

More than likely, you're going to choose 4 sided frame in the next option. If you have a crank or obstruction below your window, you might go with 3 sided; if you have cafe-style windows, you might need 2-sided.

The frame type totally depends on your window. If you have an existing window frame, go with the L frame (this is what we chose). If you don't have a frame already, choose the Trim Z Frame; this will block out light around the corners and give a “framed look” to frameless windows. If you're mounting on the outside, the designer frame is your best bet!

Tilt type is another personal preference. I love the look of the front tilt, but if you just want the louvers showing, hidden rear tilt is an option!

Having a dividing rail is nice if you have a larger window or want the option of opening half of the blinds at a time.

You can select hinge color too…the “paint to match” option is perfect if you want seamless, hidden hinges.

And, last but not least, let them know if you're planning on putting shutters in the same room. This is a cool feature – if you do have a set of shutters in the same room, Select Blinds will try their best to match the number of louvers and height of the dividing rail if you have one, so everything looks nice and congruent!

Once all of your many options are selected and your order is finalized, you'll have your blinds in a few weeks!

Now: what in the world do you do with them? In Thursday's post, I'll be walking you through installing these blinds step-by-step.

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