These Helpful Tips For DIY Plantation Shutter Installation Can Save You Serious Cash

Though often overlooked, thoughtful window treatments can totally transform a space. One very popular choice is plantation shutters, which basically work as an interior hybrid between traditional shutters and blinds. They can be installed inside the panel of windows as well as sliding doors and are wonderful because they can easily be adjusted and opened fully, partially, or closed entirely, all just by a simple tilt mechanism. They were popularized in the stately homes of the American South, on, you guessed it, plantations, but remain a top choice for modern homeowners. 

Sadly, plantation shutters don't run cheap and can cost a pretty penny. But by installing them yourself, you can save quite a bit of cash. To start, make installation easy on yourself by choosing supply-only, ready-to-install plantation shutters, also known as perfect-fit shutters. These shutters are already assembled when they ship and don't require professional help or even drilling to install! With a few tips and tricks when it comes to ordering and customizing them, you can still have a great, timeless look in your home with plantation shutters for just a fraction of the usual cost. 

Get professional help at the early stages

One of the biggest costs for plantation shutters is not the window covers themselves but the cost of professional help and installation. It can be intimidating to order your own shutters, let alone plan, order, and install them. So, take advantage of free professional services once you decide to go with plantation shutters. Many tradespeople and contractor companies provide complementary consultations and will come to your home to help you devise a plan. The tradesperson can help you measure and decide which closing mechanisms, materials, and so on will work best for your space. 

Of course, it can feel awkward to take advantage of free services if you don't ultimately plan to go with their assistance for the project. But this is a normal part of doing business, and most contractors understand that customers may shop around or decide not to go with their services after a visit. If you feel too uncomfortable, you can always consider offering some payment or a tip as a gesture of appreciation for the borrowed expertise and advice. 

Choose a budget-friendly closing mechanism

You've likely already thought to minimize costs by choosing an affordable shutter material such as vinyl or wood composite. But there's another way to cut costs with your plantation shutters, and that's all in the tilt rod. Many folks opt for a shutter type called easy-close, in which the blinds are operated by hand rather than a pole or rod and require a complex gear system in the panel to operate, adding on costs and installation difficulty. However, by opting for a center tilt rod or offset tilt rod, you can significantly reduce your expenses. 

Center tilt rods are, you guessed it, in the center of your plantation shutters. You push or pull on the pole to manually close or open the shutters. Some folks don't like this look because it's not as clean, but it actually adds some nice visual interest. And the fact that it's easier to install and more affordable is just a cherry on top. If you're dead set against having a visible rod, go for an offset tilt rod. The shutters will still use a rod mechanism, but the rod is placed on the sides or between the hinges of the panel. That means no visual obstruction and all of the convenience of the center rod. Plus, while the easy-close shutters may look great, they are prone to accumulating greasy fingerprints on them. These alternatives are affordable and functional and won't have that issue. 

Opt for café-style shutters

Want to cut the cost of your plantation shutters in half? Okay, it might not be literally in half, but one easy way to get the look of plantation shutters without springing for the full thing is to choose café-style sets. Café shutters only cover a quarter, half, or three-quarters of the bottom or top of the windows, leaving half open and unobstructed. This may seem odd, but it's a great choice for tall windows or rooms where you need privacy more than sunlight blockage. Because these sets simply require less material, they tend to cost quite a bit less than full-length plantation shutters. 

If you're worried about the lack of privacy, the good news is that curtains, especially when thrifted or homemade, are typically more affordable than plantation shutters. And café curtains look gorgeous in any room. Make a set of curtains out of bedsheets, head to the local flea market, or buy a new set to cover the entire length of the window–or just the half the shutters don't cover. Not only does this save you cash, it also gives you more custom lighting options and an opportunity to express your style with fabric, color, and pattern.