Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Shutters: A Hot New Architectural Element

Shutters have been a traditionally favored trim that has been used on the exterior of American homes for many years. In recent years, however, shutters have made an appearance not only as an exterior window covering but also as an innovative architectural element gracing the interior of contemporary homes.

Classic shutter styles may be purchased at virtually any home improvement center. You may also be fortunate enough to locate shutters at yard sales and flea markets. A great place to search for unusual shutter designs is at a new "hang out" for many interior designers. Commonly referred to as "Architectural Salvage Yards", one can find everything at these design treasures, from mismatched fencing and fountains that have minor flaws to vintage trims and moldings.

Classic wooden shutters can be painted or stained in any color of the rainbow. Shutters also lend themselves to many of the innovative faux paint techniques that are currently hot in today?s design market. Other decorative options include rubber-stamping and stenciling of patterns onto shutters.

With a bit of imagination and a dedicated investment of time, a do-it-yourselfer can transform a wooden shutter into various creative uses and applications. Shutters can easily be hinged together (standing vertically) and used as decorative screen dividers for a designated space. Or, place hinged shutters behind any bed and you've got a brand new headboard, for significantly less of an investment than had you purchased the headboard at a retail store.

If you are looking for an inexpensive coffee table, why not design one, by transforming two classic shutters? Simply cut one shutter in half and attach each half at either end of the uncut horizontal shutter. You have created an instant whimsical coffee table. Customize by applying a coordinating paint technique that matches your room?s interior.

Create a faux window for a dark room by hanging hinged shutters on a wall leaving space for your imaginary window between the shutters. Close shutters in the evening or open up to expose your faux window on the wall.

Shutters are popping up quite often in contemporary homes in the form of unique wall art. One idea is to hang a shutter on either side of a favorite framed print, to provide symmetry. Shutters used as wall art add depth and texture to an otherwise flat wall.

In children's rooms, consider converting simple shutters into shelving and use for storage of toys and books. With the help of your local hardware store or home improvement warehouse, it is often easier than you may have expected to devise a simple plan that will bring your home improvement project to life.

For a modest price, shutters can dress up a decorative wall niche near the ceiling. Simply prop up a hinged shutter and place in a grouping with an interesting piece of pottery, behind a silk or dried flower arrangement or adjacent to an interesting piece of artwork. Shutters often provide the much-needed height to compliment the tops of kitchen cabinets, a hutch or an armoire.

On your next shopping adventure, if you are fortunate enough to spot a closeout, marked down or slightly damaged pair of shutters, grab them and create a stylish decorative accessory that will blend in with most any room of your home.

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