How to Measure Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters add a clean, classic look to any window. In fact, the goal should be for them to look like they’re part of the window.

But how is that possible if they’re a DIY addition to your home’s design? First, it’s essential to order from a top-quality supplier like West Pier Shutters, but how you measure for your plantation shutters is almost as important.

Getting measurements that accurately describe the shape of your window is crucial to us being able to have shutters manufactured for you that suit your windows perfectly.

From the tools you need to step-by-step guidance, we have a complete primer below on how to measure for plantation shutters.

The Tools You’ll Need to Measure for Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters do offer a bit of clearance and leeway but the more accurate you can be, the better. This is not like estimating whether a new piece of furniture will fit in a room. Measuring for interior shutters calls for accuracy and good quality tools.

You’ll need:

  • A sturdy metal tape measure. Cheap tapes can have too much give to them when measuring a large window and might give measurements that are too long.
  • Pen and paper to write down your measurements. You don’t have to use them, but our printable guides make it easier to remember which measurement is which and reduce the chance that you’ll forget to take a certain measurement.
  • Frame cut-outs from our website. It can be difficult to see how a three-dimensional frame will sit on your window based on a two-dimensional description. So, we templates for you to print, cut out and stick on your window’s frame.
  • Painter’s tape or tacky putty to hold the frame cut-outs in place while you measure.
  • A ladder or step stool if you can’t comfortably reach the top of the window from the ground. Safety’s important even when measuring so move the ladder rather than trying to stretch out to take a second measurement from the same spot.

If the windows are particularly large or high off the floor, you may want someone else to help you take the measurements. Make sure they know to measure from the far side of the cut-out while you read from the other end of the tape.

Be sure to hold the tape in the middle to keep it from sagging while you measure the window.

Decisions to Make Before Measuring for Plantation Shutters

Obviously, windows come in a wide variety of configurations. One of the lovely things about interior window shutters is that they can be made to fit almost any situation.

Do You Want Full Height Shutters or A Different Configuration?

Full height shutters are a classic and attractive choice. Because the louvred slats can be opened to let light and fresh air into your space, they allow plenty of control. Equally, they can be fully opened or shut to maintain your privacy.

There might be a few situations — such as windows that face out onto the street — where you want the bottom of the shutters closed while the top is open. Café or tier on tier shutters might be the best option for these cases.  

See our guides to these shutter types for more information.

Will Your Shutters Be Inside Mounted Or Outside Mounted?

If your window is recessed we suggest opting for an inside mount. (The recess is the difference between the plane of your wall and the surface of the window.)

In these cases, the frame is pre-drilled with holes that allow the frame to be drilled into the sides of the window recess.

If Outside Mounted, Will the Shutter Frame Attach to the Wall or Window Frame?

This decision is partly determined by the material of your window frame and walls and partly aesthetics. Feel free to get in touch if you need help deciding.

Either way, it will have an important effect on how you measure your frame.

What Louvre Size Do You Want?

The louvred slats for West Pier plantation shutters come in four sizes: 64mm, 76mm, 89mm and 114mm. Slat size will have a significant impact on the look and function of your interior window shutters.

But they will also have an impact on how big of a frame you need for outside mounted shutters. The frame also needs to be deep enough to hold the shutters far enough away from the window so that any handles have proper clearance.

How Far Into the Window Recess Do You Want to Set Your Inside Mounted Frame?

Interior window shutters can be installed so that when they’re closed there is a smooth plane with the wall around the window. They can also be set halfway between the wall and the window or quite close to the window.

When making this decision, be sure to account for any window handles and other window hardware.

Take care to place your frame cut-outs where at the proper depth when you are measuring. The size of a window recess can vary at different depths enough to have an effect on how big your shutters should be.

Special Tips for Measuring for Café or Tier on Tier Shutters

There will be some situations where you don’t want a full height shutter for your window. Café (of half) shutters and tier on tier shutters are a great solution for these windows.

The important thing to remember when measuring for these configurations is that you’d like the bottom shutter to cover any mid-piece that divides the window horizontally. That means:

  • For café shutters, you’ll be measuring so that the top of the shutter is at or slightly above the top of that middle rail in your window.
  • For tier on tier shutters, you’ll be measuring so that the shutters split at or just above the same rail.

More about why you’d choose café or tier on tier shutters can be found in their separate guides.

What About Measuring for the Mid-rail on a Full Height Shutter?

For tall windows or for when you are ordering an interior shutter to cover a door, a mid-rail is an extra horizontal, solid piece of the shutter panel that adds visual interest and stability to your plantation shutters.

The measurement you input for these mid rails determines where the middle of that piece will be positioned in respect of the height of your shutter.

We’re always happy to answer questions and walk you through decisions like where to place a mid-rail. Because it isn’t always an obvious decision, many customers reach out to us for advice on this part of their plantation shutter project.

Checklist For Measuring for Plantation Shutters

Are you ready to measure for your plantation shutters? Here’s a step-by-step checklist to guide you through the process:

  1. Have you made all of the appropriate decisions about your shutter configuration? Will they be full height, café or tier on tier? Inside or outside mounted?
  2. Do you have a sturdy tape measure and ladder (if necessary)?
  3. Have you printed the frame cut-outs for your frame style?
  4. Do you have our measurement worksheet printed and a pen hand?
  5. The frame cut-outs represent the size of the frame, so remember to include them in your measurements.
  6. Measure at least three times in each direction and for each window within a bay window.
  7. Measure for café and tier or tier shutters to the top of any mid rail in your window frame.
  8. Measure to the middle of where you want a mid rail placed in your full height shutters. (Mid rails are optional.)

When you have the paper frame cutouts in place, it might be a good idea to take a photo of your window so that you can double-check their placement when you are ready to make your order final.

What to Avoid When Measuring for Plantation Shutters

This really is a straightforward process, but there are a few potential mistakes to watch out for.

Don’t Guess

We need you to take three separate measurements in each direction. Even if the first two are the same it won’t do to assume that the third will be as well.

The same applies to bay windows. Each part of the bay window needs to be measured separately as if it was its own window.

As well as determining whether a window frame has shifted from square over time, taking three measurements also is a good way to double-check that what you’re seeing is accurate. In other words, it’s much more difficult to make the same mistake three times.

Don’t Measure Before You’ve Decided on the Frame You Need

There are some important differences between the frame options — especially inside versus outside mount frames. And if you change your mind after measuring (or realise that your window needs the other type while measuring), you may need to go back and measure again.

You’ll also have to make a choice about slat width before you know what size frame you need. Keep this relationship in mind if you decide on a different louvre size after you measure.

Don’t Rush The Job

Measuring for plantation shutters is easy and doesn’t take much time but it’s important to give it your undivided attention. If you know you’re ready to order, it’s probably best to take the measurements directly before ordering through the website.

Also, clear houseplants, books and furniture away from the window frame before measuring. It’s easy to think that you can measure around them but centimetres do matter when it comes to getting a perfect fit for your plantation shutters.

Don’t Assume

Treat each window separately. Never assume that because two windows look like they’re the same size that they will be. Houses shift over time and you want to make sure you get the perfect fit for every window.

Also, take careful note of things like handle length and whether and whether it opens in or out for each window individually.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions

There are no silly questions. If in doubt, just ask. Our team members are always happy to help customers through the trickier parts of measuring for interior shutters.

And if you feel like it will be difficult to describe the trouble you’re having you can always email us a photo of the window and we’ll walk you through the process.

Have Fun Measuring For Your Plantation Shutters

Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of how to measure for plantation shutters, the only left to say is that it should be a fun thing to do. Sure paying attention to detail is important here but this is one of the easiest and most straightforward parts of the plantation shutter project.

Keep in mind that:

  • You should be careful to hold your measuring tape as flat as possible, supporting it in the middle so that it doesn’t sag.
  • It’s important to take three measurements in each direction on all windows.
  • Use the appropriate frame cutouts and include the paper cutout in your measurement.

Now that your prepared to accurately measure for plantation shutters it’s time to get in touch with us so that we can get you started on your project.