One of the many steps in our exterior remodel was replacing the shutters. We chose a dark green vinyl siding and I wanted shutters that would look good with our brown roof and match our wood door as well. My goal was a modern style that would grab someone’s attention and add some interest to the front of the house. After searching high and low for inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram, I decided on a thin slat wood shutter, and got to work designing and building!
I love the overall look, but will admit that I was a bit hasty on the stain decision. I made them before the front door was installed and never compared stain colors, so I will be refinishing them this spring to match the door and address plaque. All in all, it was a relatively easy project (as long as you have the right equipment) and made a huge difference in the curb appeal of our home. We’ve gotten a lot of compliments from visitors and neighbors on their unique and modern look!
Want to build your own wood shutters?
- tape measure & pencil
- miter or circular saw
- dimensional lumber- we used 2 or 3″ x 1″ x 8′ boards (see note on step 3)
- nail gun
- wood glue
- stain (one mixed with Poly is ideal)
- sanding sponge
1 | Measure the height of your window from the top of the frame to the bottom of the frame.
2 | Determine the width you’d like for the shutter; on average, a window at least 30 inches wide will have a 15 inch shutter. Windows wider than 36 inches may have shutters up to 18-20″. The best way to determine the size you like is to use painter’s tape to tape out the size of the shutter next to the window.
3 | Calculate your lumber needs. We used two vertical 1″x8′ boards and 20 horizontal slats for each shutter and multiplied by 4 for all of our shutters, bringing us to 20 1″x8’s. (2023 edit: I *think* they were 2″ wide but I can’t remember, and we don’t live here anymore so I can’t check, sorry! Had I known this post was going to be one of the most popular on my website I would have edited better … oops)
4 | Measure and cut two vertical boards at the height of the window.
5 | Using your miter saw or circular saw, cut the horizontal slats- we went with a width of 16″.
6 | Lay out the short boards on top of the vertical boards to determine the spacing you’d like to achieve between each board. This will take some math! My shutters used 20 horizontal boards with a roughly 3/16″ gap between each one.
7 | Make a small circle of glue on either the short or long board. Lay the board on top of the vertical boards and use your square to straighten the board up to the vertical board.
8 | Using your nail gun, put two nails in each side of the short board. Josh got me started and then I finished up the rest of them!
9 | Repeat steps 7 and 8 but lay the board at the bottom of the longer boards to create a solid frame.
10 | Install your next board at the desired distance from the board above it, repeating steps 7 and 8. It helps if you can find an object that is the width of the gap you want- I used a notebook! Repeat this until the entire shutter is complete!
11 | Sand the visible sides of the shutter as smooth as possible using your sanding sponge.
12 | Stain every visible piece of wood- I used a foam craft brush and it worked great. I used a stain/poly mix and it worked great, although you could certainly stain and poly separately if the stain color you wanted wasn’t available as a mix. I don’t have any photos of this step, sorry!
13 | When all of your shutters are complete, it’s time to hang them! While I held them in place next to the window, Josh drilled a hole in the top two corners. He then put a 2″ construction screw through each hole and repeated the process in the bottom of the shutter.
Although the color isn’t quite perfect next to our front door, I love our wood shutters and have gotten many compliments. They add a modern look while also adding some depth and interest to our exterior. We plan on adding window boxes this summer and had done some landscaping last summer so I can’t wait until everything grows back in!