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Cafe Curtains Ideas & Tips


Not your grandma’s curtains anymore, the ever-charming cafe curtains are making a comeback in contemporary style! These practically convenient and adorably charming window treatments once relegated to kitchens and bathrooms are now wowing us in other spaces as well. And for good reason(s) too!

Covering the lower half or two-thirds of the window, cafe curtains’ minimalistic structure enables them to provide privacy while allowing light, making their operation a rare need. If you’re also going gaga on this trend and looking to add cafe curtains to your home, this blog is just for you.


Order custom cafe curtains from Spiffy Spools online in any size. Pick from over 3,000 fabrics and patterns!


Practical Efficiency of Cafe Curtains


Kitchen Cafe Curtains


Some styles get buried in time while others age gracefully, finding new iterations to meet the changing needs and lifestyles. Cafe curtains have graduated from the country charm of plaids, frills, and lace to pristine whites, modern prints, and contemporary heading styles. Their comeback is a testimonial of their distinctive elegance and practical efficiency which may be described as following – 

  • AMPLE PRIVACY: Secluded homes and windows overlooking vacant plots, or non-private rooms like kitchens and breakfast nooks do not need full coverage of windows for privacy. Covering only the lower portion of the window – as cafe curtains do – shields a seated person from being visible from outside.  
  • UNINTERRUPTED LIGHT & AIR: While providing privacy, cafe curtains do not compromise the inflow of light and air, thereby helping you achieve a balance of light and privacy in the room.
  • MINIMALISTIC STRUCTURE: Provided that full coverage is not a requirement, cafe curtains are appreciated where sill-length treatments are sought. They stay out of the way in high-traffic zones, pose no potential danger of tripping accidents on kids and pets, do not infringe on furniture or radiators placed underneath, and stay clean longer as they don’t touch the ground. And, when mounted inside the window frame, they provide the same convenience as blinds/shades. 
  • BUDGET- FRIENDLY: Lesser fabric translates to lower cost. Cafe curtains that are way more affordable than sweeping draperies are feasible options for shoestring budget revamps and rentals.
  • WET ZONES: Cafe curtains provide the aesthetic beauty of long drapery without having to do with its bulkiness and the problems it invites in wet spaces like kitchens and bathrooms. They are quick to dry if they get wet and easy to wash when soiled.


Styling Your Cafe Curtains: Tips & Tricks

If your heart is set on the easy-breezy cafe curtains for many reasons outlined above, it is time to take the plunge and design your very own set for your home. We have all the tips and ideas ready to help you with the task.


Discern Length: Where to Start and Stop?


Deciding the Length of Cafe Curtains


At a minimum, cafe curtains must cover the lower half of the window and at a maximum, the lower two-thirds. You can always push it a few inches upward or downward to suit your specific settings. Consider two questions when fixing the starting point. Which position will enable the desired level of privacy? How much light and air is required in this space?

Where the cafe curtains should end depends mainly on your personal preferences and the function of the room. You can let them brush the sill or extend a few inches below the sill.

Stopping at the sill frees wall space to better accommodate inbuilt seating arrangements below or furniture pushed against the wall. It is recommended in kitchens where the curtains need to be protected from potential spills, splatters, and fire hazards.

Extending below the sill makes the curtains less flappy when it’s windy. It helps aplenty in bathrooms where privacy cannot be compromised and in bedrooms, private studies, and home offices where fluttering fabrics can be distracting.

Keep in mind the purpose of the room and the visual appeal you aim to create when deciding where your cafe curtains should start and stop.


Fix Opacity Levels: Semi-Sheer, Sheer or Non-Sheer?


Decorative Cafe Curtains


Opaque cafe curtains are the default choice where the intention is to provide maximum privacy such as in bathrooms and bedrooms. 

Transparent cafe curtains can be used as standalone window treatments where the goal is not privacy but adding charm and character. Kitchens, laundry rooms, informal dining rooms, rumpus rooms, and reading nooks are some of the spaces that can benefit from sheer cafe curtains. They keep it airy and light and provide the softness that only fabric accessories can unfailingly bestow. 

The translucence levels can be defined as per the purpose and the look you are going for. Gauzy fabrics like voile emanate whimsy while loose-woven linen may accord more privacy with a touch of sophistication.


Voice your Style: Country or Trendy?


Striped Cafe Curtains


Once confined to the ‘le territoire’ of country decor, cafe curtains have evolved gracefully over time. No matter which style of home decor you follow, you’ll find a way to incorporate cafe curtains in the casual rooms of your home.

If you’re leaning on country charm, go for cotton fabrics with traditional patterns like stripes, ditsies or plaids in frilly rod pocket style. Imagine the ever-so-classic gingham check featured on short red kitchen curtains, further paired with a valance made of the same fabric for a true je ne sais quoi vibe. Does anything spell more country than this? We think not! 

For a farmhouse touch, a pair of white linen cafe curtains in double pinch pleats style is just what you need. For the soothing visual impact of cottage style, go for pastel floral prints on bright neutral backdrops. Pair with wooden drapery rods to tie in with the woodblock floors and seaweed baskets.

If it’s the sleek minimalism of modern decor that you’re looking to create, go for poly-blend fabrics in textured neutral hues or contemporary geometric prints. Hang your cafe curtains on jet-black hardware for their clean lines to stand out.

Pay attention to the selection of the fabric, palette, and pattern and coordinate with befitting hardware and heading style to voice your decor style loud and clear.


Pick a Heading Style: Function, Appeal or Both?


Cafe Curtains


Talking of heading styles, you first need to know that there are many to choose from. The choice should hinge on your decor style and the frequency of operation that you anticipate regarding the curtains and/or the windows.

For a casual look, consider rod pockets, grommet tops or tie tops for their easygoing looks and simple construction. Whereas, for semi-formal spaces, go for more detailed headers in tailored styles like euro pleats or classic pinch pleats

Generally, cafe curtains are left closed since they allow light to come in from the top of the window. If you want your curtains to remain intact in this position and not gather to the sides under the force of the winds, consider rod pocket curtains.

Whereas, if you envisage frequent operation of the curtains, select curtain styles that employ rings or clips. These glide easily on the pole and your curtains can be tucked to the sides with minimum effort.

It is also important to complement the curtain style with appropriately sized hardware. Since the curtains are lightweight, opt for sleek poles and small grommets/rings. 


Amp Up the Style: Little Details with Huge Impact


Curtains with Pom Pom Trims


A small decor piece is the safest bet for the boldest foray into a color, pattern, or some quirk! Be adventurously creative, add a unique personality to the space, and sport a custom look. Talk about the ‘small things that make the biggest difference’!

PALLETE & PATTERN: Love a tangy color that you’d be scared of painting a large wall or furniture with? Or, a favorite pattern is waiting for the right excuse to get introduced? Well, let them have their moment ‘cause they can’t overwhelm the space when limited by the small dimensions of cafe curtains.

TRIMS: Cafe curtains with tassels, fringes or pompoms quivering in the winds are the perfect recipe for a relaxed setting. Where cafe curtains run the risk of coming across as a makeshift solution, these dainty handcrafted ornaments relaying a custom look underscore the intentionality. 

HARDWARE: Show-worthy hardware completes the picture on a comely note. Let the hardware fall in line with the material and color palette of the room. For example, the gorgeous brushed gold of your bathtub faucets can be echoed in your drapery rod and rings.

TIE-BACKS: If you want unhindered views from your windows and a sun-bathed ambiance before you start with your activities, don’t miss out on tie-backs. They restrain your curtains from fluttering or sliding back and forth due to winds. Tie-backs made of the same fabric as the curtains are a touch of sophistication. 

COORDINATED ACCESSORIES:  Underscore the designer value of the space with synchronized fabric accessories. In the dining area, the table runner, and at the bay window, the upholstered seating can be coordinated with the cafe curtains in the same fabric. Or, color-block the long curtains in the same room with the fabric of the cafe curtains. Roman shades and valances are other window treatments that can be designed from the same fabric for cohesiveness.




Final Notes 


Cafe curtains have traversed long and high from the roadside cafes of nineteenth-century Vienna to the modern streamlined homes because they marry beauty with practicality. Even as you watch them billowing away in your social media feeds, and glean ideas from blogs, know that the limits for creativity with cafe curtains are limitless. Explore our site for more blogs and fabric collection to make your design decisions and place your order today at Spiffy Spools!



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