What is the Purpose of Window Shutters?

Shutters are often an inconspicuous feature of a home, only becoming jarringly noticeable they’re absent on the exterior windows.  While window shutters seem to be a staple for several styles of architectural builds, their original purpose has been forgotten in the ways of modern living.

Shutters have been engrained in housing designs for centuries and historians aren’t exactly sure of their origin.  In modern days, the feature of the shutter is used more for aesthetic purposes, but their invention provided more of a solution to the timely issues of ventilation and security in the days before air conditioning and technologically advanced alarm systems.

As shutters became more thoughtfully designed, residents found more uses for them in the developing world.  The purpose of shutters has changed throughout the centuries.

window with red shutters

Ancient Origins

In Ancient Greece, historians believed that shutters became the preferred solution in allowing natural light to fill a home while acting as a way to control ventilation.  Shutters also became a useful method in shutting out adverse weather, allowing citizens to use exterior window shutters as protection during storms as they were once made from marble.  Shutters also provided house dwellers with the added perk of preventing thievery by offering the home additional protection.  With so many advantages, the use of the shutter quickly spread across Europe and became a commonplace exterior feature.

Affordable and Popular: Shutters Becoming Widespread

Glass finally became the popular material choice for windows in the mid-1500s during the Tudor and Elizabethan eras, however, despite its favorability, glass was an extremely expensive purchase at the time.  Because of its cost, many homes opted to use glass in the upper portion of the window opening and a solid wood shutter on the window’s lower half.  Residents were able to enjoy the views of a glass window on the top while being able to control the breeze with the wooden shutter below.  Glass became a more affordable material two centuries later.  It wasn’t until the 1700s when glass would be used frequently on both top and bottom portions of the window.


The Industrial Revolution brought the world into modernity with many notable advancements.  On a smaller scale, shutters also saw improvements.  With woodworking mills becoming mechanized, shutters followed suit.  Louvered shutters became popular as thin slats on this exterior window feature could now be adjusted.  This minor yet astounding improvement allowed residents to control the light, deflect adverse weather, and put a stop to insect infestations.

beige window with green shutters

The Purpose of Modern Shutters

Most exterior window shutters you see these days are non-functional—meaning, they exist for looks only.  These shutters are often nailed into place against the siding and cannot be opened or closed.  It seems that shutters have been around for so long that we can’t seem to live without them, even if they no longer serve their original purpose of shutting out rain, wind, bugs, and thieves.

However, you can still have working shutters installed on the outside of your house.  Operable shutters require extra costs and labor.  Homeowners may opt for working shutters if they live in climates that see particularly nasty weather like hurricanes or tornados.  Shutters will offer just a bit of extra protection against high winds and heavy rains, which for homeowners in coastal areas are more than happy to use.

Modern working shutters can also help out with heating and cooling costs.  Although newly manufactured windows are designed to be energy efficient, the addition of shutters can amplify their effect on your utility bills.  Residents living in climates subject to powerful winds, extreme temperatures like the South’s extreme heat, or the Midwest’s freezing winters can benefit from the use of functional shutters.  Any additional protection from outside elements can help the house retain heat or air conditioning.

Operable shutters will require some upkeep and maintenance throughout their lifetime.  For these exterior shutters to function properly and last as long as they’re designed for, you’ll need to check them periodically for warped wood, hinges, and damage.

Designed to Stick Around

Still, you’ll find that most shutters are merely there for a home’s exterior aesthetics, but now you’ll no longer wonder what their original purpose once was.  Shutters and housing designs have evolved across the centuries and we’re lucky that we no longer need to solely rely on exterior window shutters for protection.

There’s something about the look of shutters that even in our modern times, we simply cannot part ways from.  Non-functioning exterior window shutters may not serve any purpose other than looks, but at the very least, they can increase your home’s resale value and curb appeal.  The look of your home will draw in potential buyers and there’s no question that shutters help magnify this effect.  Consider adding exterior window shutters to your home if you’re in the minority of homeowners who don’t already have them.

When you choose Feldco for your exterior window shutters, you can rest assured that you’re getting an amazing product paired with excellent service.

Our window shutters are made with a maintenance-free material that’ll never crack, rot, or warp when faced with extreme weather conditions.

Over 500,000 homeowners have trusted us for their home improvement needs so it’s not a surprise why we’re America’s #1 window company.

So, if you’re looking for a complete window overhaul or just want to add the extra charm of exterior window shutters, get a free quote today.

Share this article:


Get started with

*View our privacy policy

Or call us at 1-866-4FELDCO®
or visit one of our locations.


bug proof

5 Ways to Bug Proof Your Home

5 Ways to Bug Proof Your Home Discovering the most ...
new replacement windows

Pocket Window Replacement vs Full-Frame Window Replacement

Pocket Window Replacement vs Full-Frame: Which is Better? Deciding between ...
Is Window Trim Necessary?

Is Window Trim Necessary?

What Is Window Trim and Why Is It Necessary? Window ...
exterior window shutters

Painting Vinyl Shutters

Painting Vinyl Shutters: Expert Tips and Techniques Updating the appearance ...
Protecting your roof

5 Steps to Protect Your Roof on July 4th

5 Steps to Protect Your Roof on July 4th In ...

Book Today and Save!

Over 500,000 homeowners have trusted Feldco with their windows, siding and doors. Click the button below and we’ll get started on your quote!