Exterior and interior shutters have been used as window treatments since ancient times but are still popular as interior design elements around the world, including Tampa.

Shutters are window coverings made of solid frames with horizontal or vertical louvers that are either fixed or controllable to close completely, open completely or stay at certain angles. They provide privacy and control light and ventilation. External shutters also provide protection against the elements and against small flying debris.

Exterior shutters are hinged to the outside of windows, either at the sides or from the top. They swing out from the building and are swung shut. When intended as protection against extreme weather conditions, solid panels are used with hardwood known to withstand weather well. They are commonly found either in very hot locations or where storms are known to punish buildings. For exterior shutters, louvers are more often fixed.

Sometimes non-functional exterior shutters are used as aesthetic design elements for a building.

Interior shutters are hinged to the inside of windows and swing open inwards. They most often have operable louvered shutters that control visibility, light and air flow. The advantage of having interior shutters is that even if the louvers are completely open, those outside the house cannot see in while light and air is allowed free access.

In some buildings and homes, shutters are used on doors, as well.

Window shutters are believed to have been invented in Greece long before the Romans had invented glass as window coverings. Shutters were intended to keep out the cold in winter and to keep out the sun in summer.

British Georgian architecture in the 1700s and 1800s incorporated shutters as standard features. This has persisted as a distinct element of British architecture.

In the United Kingdom today, though, shutters are more often merely decorative and non-functional. Functional shutters are difficult to incorporate into modern British windows which tend to be wide and short with almost no recess. Most windows also open outward, making exterior shutters quite impossible.

Non-functional shutters are often made out of fiberglass. Unlike wood, it does not rot or twist. Since it is a reinforced plastic, it does not warp or sag like vinyl or PVC. It is as strong as aluminum but does not corrode or degenerate from electrolysis. It is also stable and has very little contraction and expansion in any weather.

Shutters were brought to the United States as the British settled in the New World. Old homes in Charleston, Georgetown and Savannah still display this element. Even today, when British type of architecture is employed, shutters are usually incorporated into the design.

In the Mediterranean, especially in Italy, shutters have always been popular. Even today, fully functional exterior shutters are used. This is possible because their windows are tall, quite narrow and deeply recessed. They also open inwards. It is, therefore, possible to operate outward-opening exterior shutters from within rooms.

Even if you decide to use interior or exterior shutters in your home, this does not prevent you from also using other window treatments. After all, shutters are usually not used in all windows throughout the house. You can actually mix and match window treatments in the other rooms instead, taking your interior design theme into consideration. Curtains and draperies can be used together. You may also combine curtains or draperies with shades. For further protection against the sun, you can use solar shades. Another alternative would be blinds. In bedrooms, you can match the bedding to the window treatment. You can choose from a wide variety of such window treatments from reputable suppliers such as Hunter Douglas in Tampa.