These DIY Cottage Style Shutters are probably one of the easiest projects we’ve ever taken on. They add so much charm and character to our home, and recently I decided to give them a makeover!
I am FINALLY writing a blog post all about our DIY Cottage Style Shutters! I have been asked about our shutters so many times since starting my blog, so today I thought I would explain just how we built them.
I’m also going to share my process for choosing a color, some mistakes I made along the way, and some things I have learned when it comes to exterior paint.
DIY Cottage Style Shutters
First of all, the shutters. When we first built our shutters almost 10 years ago now, my husband purchased pine 1×4’s and used 2 for each side of our double windows on the front of our home. He cut them to size and nailed the boards together using another piece of 1×4.
That’s it! They are seriously so simple and so affordable, we didn’t even buy pressure treated wood. We made sure to use exterior paint when we painted the shutters, and they are protected a bit from the roof overhang which definitely helps to protect them from the elements.
I realize I don’t have step by step photos, we built these shutters way before I ever started my blog. If you have any questions about them, feel free to ask!
Just recently I decided to make them a bit thicker, so my husband added one more board to each shutter and cut all new cross pieces as well. This time he used Liquid Nails before attaching each cross piece with his Brad nailer.
You could most definitely stain your shutters for a gorgeous wood accent, but if you’re wanting to paint them, here are some things I have learned…
What NOT to do when Choosing Colors
Mistake #1 – Trusting a Paint Swatch
I took SO many color swatches home from the hardware store, and chose a color based on a tiny little square against my house. Boy was that a mistake. You’ve got to be able to see the color on a much larger scale in order to know if you truly like it.
Mistake #2 – Trusting the Computer Screen
I went online and looked up the color I chose for our shutters (Grandma’s Boy by True Value), then screenshot it and used an app to add to the color to a picture of my home exterior. It looked perfect on the computer, but completely different in person.
Tips for Choosing Exterior Colors
My hardware store doesn’t sell samples, so I took a chance and ordered a quart of Grandma’s Boy. I WISH I had been more patient and just waited until I could go to a place that offered samples. Once I painted my color on a shutter and brought it outside, something was wrong.
On a larger scale, the color was much more baby blue than I thought it would be. It almost had a purple undertone which I was not going for at all.
Look at Samples on an Overcast Day
It’s so interesting to me how colors change completely with the sun. Do not choose your color based on how it looks when the sun is blasting it. Look at samples in the early evening or on a day when there is cloud cover in order to get a better idea of what the color actually looks like.
Don’t rush this process. Walk away for a while…go for a drive, then come back and see what you think. When I was playing with accent colors for the house, sometimes I thought I liked something, then I would leave for a bit, come home and BAM. Clarity. I knew right away the color wasn’t right.
When you stare at colors for too long, they all start to blend and it can become so confusing. So take your time, don’t rush.
Choosing a color for our DIY Cottage Style Shutters
Alright, now let me explain my thought process for changing the color. Basically, it all started when we got our new storm door from HMI Doors. Michigan winters are harsh, and our front door is almost 100 years old. We desperately needed a storm door and I was so lucky to be able to work with HMI Doors and have a custom, arch top storm door built for our home.
(If you’re wondering what is going on with our porch, watch the YouTube video above! We are in the process of stripping it so it’s looking a little rough at the moment.)
I decided to go bold with black, but once it was installed, it changed the look of our whole home. I loved the navy blue accent we had before, but something about the black storm door and the shadow from the glass just changed things. The beautiful details on our round door just disappeared, so I decided to start playing with colors to see if I could lighten things up.
Here are the blues I tried, all labeled:
Like I said before, I knew almost immediately that Grandma’s Boy didn’t feel right. I wanted something a bit more gray toned and this color felt much too baby blue. Before giving up on it completely, I lightened it by 50% by mixing it with some exterior white.
That made it better, but I wasn’t sold.
I went looking through my paint stash and found a color that I used in my little boy’s nursery…Cool Metalwork Grey by Glidden, lightened by 50% (I had them lighten it at the store).
I threw some of it on a shutter and just seeing it next to Grandma’s Boy, I knew it was so much better. Less purple, more gray with maybe even a hint of green. Here’s a comparison with Grandma’s Boy on the left, Cool Metalwork Grey on the right –
Since I really wanted something lighter for my door, I mixed the Cool Metalwork with white and painted another shutter (it’s the one all the way to the right).
Again, I share more of my thought process in the YouTube video but basically, I’m really loving the nursery color, haha! What in the world?!
I’m still not sure if I will lighten it, but once I have flowers in my window boxes and our front porch is finished, I promise to share a reveal here on the blog. I’m really loving the light blue, it feels very Engligh Cottage and more romantic than the dark navy.
I’d love to hear what you guys think! Let me know in the comments below!