Shutters have had a surprisingly saucy reputation – from Peeping Tom peering at a naked Lady Godiva to Louis XIV using the louvers to secretly spy on women bathing in his gardens.

Shutters in the UK were usually solid, however, to protect from the weather as well as for security. In Georgian and Victorian properties they were built into the architecture with box panels either side of windows so they could slot away neatly.

Over time they became as decorative as they were functional with carvings added to tie in with interior fashion. As the British Empire branched into warmer climes, designs required moveable slats for ventilation, which is where the louvers, also known as plantation style, were born. Different heights, from café style to full length, were also made available to control lighting and temperature.

As glazing technology got better, windows grew in size and it became fashionable to drape expensive fabrics around them – enter curtains. These knocked shutters out of favour for some decades but we’ve definitely seen a revival in modern homes – some might say from better heating, whereas others revel in cleaner lines and less dry cleaning.

Not to mention, it’s far easier to nose at your neighbours.

Details: For solid style shutters like these try Shutterly Fabulous.

Shining a spotlight on the now and the next in home design and decor, Livingetc is the UK's best selling high end and contemporary home design magazine. As a brand, Livingetc showcases the world's very best homes, breaks and makes the trends, and has access to leading international designers for insight and ideas. It was first published in 1998, and is currently edited by Pip Rich.