Indoor Window Shutters: Do It Yourself Guide

Indoor window shutters mark homeowners who choose them as discerning, practical people. If blinds blend in and curtains get in the way then plantation shutters make a quiet statement.

They have an elegantly classic style that says: “I know what I want my home to look like and bog-standard blinds won’t cut it.”

But there is also the practical element to how they can be fine-tuned: shutters closed and louvres shut to shutters half-drawn and louvres open and everything in between. It’s no wonder that indoor window shutters appeal to those with a strong do-it-yourself streak.

You might even be tempted to go all out and build your own — and we have guidance for that impressive project — or design the shutters you want and leave it to us to make them and you can pick up the glory by installing them yourself.

In any case, we think that indoor window shutters make an excellent addition to any home and we’re happy you’re here to read this guide to measuring, making and installing them yourself.

Inside or Outside Mounted?

This essential decision has probably all been made for you by your window’s configuration. Before we discuss why you would choose one of the other here is a quick description of how they differ.

Inside Mount Interior Window Shutters

These go inside a window’s recess and the frame is screwed into the walls of the recess. The shutter frame looks a bit like a picture frame.

Outside Mount Interior Window Shutters

The frame, in this case, looks a bit like a capital “L” in its top-down profile. It’s affixed either to the frame of your window or the wall directly around the window.

Do it yourself window shutter installation isn't impossible, but you do need to be handy with your tools.

Why Choose One Over the Other?

It isn’t, strictly speaking, a choice but more going with the application that makes sense for your current window installation. Specifically:

  • If your window is recessed from the wall you will almost always want an inside mount frame for your shutters.
  • Where in the recess you mount the frame will depend partly on appearance but also on avoiding obstructions like window handles or alarm system sensors.
  • Windows that are installed flush with (or mostly so) the surrounding walls need an outside mounted shutter.
  • Whether the shutter frame is attached to the window jamb or the surrounding wall depends first on the material (wood is always easier than metal or masonry) and second on aesthetics.
  • If you order a shutter frame from us, remember that the long arm fo the “L” needs be long enough to accommodate window handles and other obstacles.

Measuring: An Essential Step for Indoor Window Shutters

This step of the indoor window shutter process is probably the easiest to do yourself. But it’s also one of the most important.

As long as you take your time, work with reliable tools and avoid a few common pitfalls, measuring for your plantation shutters should be a breeze.

If you are a perfectionist like us, make sure your shutters are measured over and over before ordering.

The Recommended Tools for Measuring

It’s entirely possible to measure for indoor windows shutters with tools you probably already have. But please keep in mind that the tolerance for perfectly fititng shutters is between two and four millimetres.

To do the job right you should have:

  • A sturdy, metal measuring tape that won’t sag when stretched across your window.
  • Paper cutouts representing the shutter frame. These can be printed from our website and they should be fixed into place where the shutter frame will eventually go.
  • Pen and the measurement worksheet you printed from our website.

Details Matter When Measuring for Plantation Shutters

If you’re just mounting shutters inside a rectangular window recess how hard could it be? Just take a vertical measure and then a horizontal one and you’re done, right?

Not quite.

The important points to keep in mind when measuring for interior wooden shutters are:

  • Take three measurements in each direction. This helps account for errors and shifting of the window. Usually, we’ll use the shortest in each direction.
  • Carefully place the paper cutouts where you want the frame to go. Include them when measuring for outside mounted frames.
  • Be sure to account for window handles and other obstacles.

You can always give our support team a call or reach out by email if you have questions or get stuck while measuring. If you have to accommodate special details like windows that open inwards or odd-shaped windows we definitely recommend calling.

Make Indoor Window Shutters: The Ultimate Do It Yourself Option

If you’re especially handy and have a well-equipped workshop, you might want to go whole-hog and make your plantation shutters from scratch. We have a separate guide that will walk you through that very advanced process.

Unless you’re an avid carpenter, we don’t really recommend going down that road. But if you’re thinking about it, here are a few things to consider before jumping in.

The Advantages of Making Your Shutters Yourself

The best parts of making interior window shutters yourself are that:

  • Plantation shutters are almost always one of the first things people notice in a room and (if they’re made well) you’ll be able to take full credit.
  • Depending on the material you use and whether you already have all the tools needed, you’ll sometimes be able to save a bit of money.
  • So long as it’s straight and good quality you can use salvaged wood for this project.
  • The parts list is pretty short for interior shutters and if you’re handy with your table saw, you can rip 95% of the materials you need from the same 2 X 4s.
  • If you do without a kit and design your own plans from scratch, you get a wide variety of choices to make.
Getting a high quality finish like this from DIY work isn't as easy as you may think.

Downsides of DIY Shutter Construction

We don’t want to fool you though, this isn’t a quick Saturday afternoon worth of work.

It goes without saying (we hope) that making your own interior window shutters with operating louvres is several orders of magnitude more complicated than building a birdhouse or a new bench for the garden.

So, before you get in over your head, remember that:

  • Projects like this that require a great deal of precision can often take longer than you expect to complete.
  • If you buy a kit, your options for louvre size, material and other details might be quite limited.
  • Cutting corners on the material can lead to unexpected warping and bending down the road.
  • Large projects, such as tier on tier shutters for a tall, three-section bay window can really put the spotlight on any small errors you might make.
  • Unless you’re an expert with a ton of time on your hands, you’ll probably comprise on features like middle hinges for concertina-style shutters or a tension screw to keep the louvres tight.
  • It will almost definitely end up being more expensive to build high quality shutters yourself vs buying them direct from a company like West Pier Shutters.

Is It Worth Attempting to Make Interior Window Shutters Yourself?

If you need a small shutter for your shop’s window, go ahead. This will be a great project to tinker with for a few weekends.

Obviously, it will also help if you already have a table saw, drill press and table router to make things go quickly.

But if the project is intended for the showpiece window in your living room, take some time to consider whether you really want to tackle this task on your own.