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The Case For Cafe Curtains Or Shades In Our Kitchen (It’s The Year Of The Farmhouse Tweak!)

by Emily 24 Jan 2024 0 Comments

Brian was out of town for 10 days in January and I was a scared little baby at night. You see, all these beautiful windows in our home (by my own choice) make the room feel like an exposed glass house in the long dark winter, where people can see in, but all I see out is our reflection and then an abyss of darkness. I closed every curtain/shade we have, which helped immensely, and of course, slept upstairs with the kids (IYKYK). We don’t need privacy (our neighbors are beyond our tall hedge) nor do we need light control (even in August these windows never get blasted more than an hour due to tree shade). But what we do need is a sense of coziness and a layer to help us not feel so exposed to the utterly irrationally dreamt-up bad guys and monsters lurking outside (Yes, we have a VERY good video security system which alerts the police/fireman immediately). While neighbors are so close, being in the middle of these 2 1/2 acres makes me feel vulnerable. So instead of buying some kind of weapon to fend off the burglars/monsters, I’ll simply do the next best defense – Cafe Curtains!!

It’s the year of the “Farmhouse Tweak” or my “Quirk Era” I’m regretfully calling it, which came after a few years of “Warm minimalism” that came after many years of “drunk eccentric grandma”. Seems like therapy is necessary to unpack this all, but that’s what this blog has always been for me (for free! er…kinda :))

Beyond solving my visual vulnerability issue, I also think it will be a lovely layer in here. I LOVE seeing the green of the trees right outside during the day, but I also know that it’s a lot of windows left bare (7 total), and maybe they don’t look quite “finished”. I propose that the extra layer would look pretty AND make me feel cozier at night. Here are my options:

Option #1: Cafe Curtains

Otherwise known as the “It Girl” window treatment of 2022 – 2024 (and beyond?) so maybe I want in on it (I have some in our bathroom, thus proving my trend and style relevancy). Cafe Curtains were invented (zero research done here) so that the street-level cafe/bar eaters would have some privacy from onlookers, the chilly cold would be reduced, and yet it would stay easy to open/close and not block all the natural light since the top is open. This was my first instinct and in many ways what I WANT to do. But here are my thoughts/hesitations:

  1. But is that so many curtains? There are 5 next to each other (there’s one more you can’t see in the photo above), so 10 small panels total. Fine if they are airy, unlined, and not pleated, but any sort of volume there will be A LOT OF FABRIC.
  2. Will it block the visual openness to the trees I love so much? Yes. But maybe if they are lightweight enough they’ll shove enough to the sides? And they can be pretty thin/transparent (which I’d do regardless). Again, it’s like having a veil, not an umbrella.
  3. And more importantly, where do I start/stop it? The space between the windows is tiled so I while I could do inside mount rods/brackets thats a lot of permanent holes in my tile. I could also just do one long rod on the outside of the windows with three front brackets but now that I’m picturing that I’m unsure that’s what I want.
photo by kaitlin green | from: farmhouse living room reveal

So I’m going to do what any professional internet famous blogger/designer would do which is find a stick, some tape, a few yards of hoarded fabric, and some safety pins and rig some up “curtains”. This is what we did for the cafe curtains in the living room and worked like a real (ugly) charm. It gave the instant clarity that no drawing or rendering would.

Then the question becomes would I want something just simple, sweet, and white? A small print? Vintage tea towels sewn together? (OOH!!!) Antique tablecloth with sweet little embroidery and some ruffles? (Double OOH!!!) I haven’t found the exact inspiration yet, but here are some that I’m loving below. But remember (Emily) what you see online may not work in your home – Our kitchen shares space with the living room which has my vintage indigo boro fabric cafe curtains, so while another print could be cute, it also could compete and start looking like a thrift store house (something I’m admittedly overly sensitive to since that’s what everyone called my house far after I had a literal TV show about style). Or do I want to do something pleated because it adds so much texture when the sun shines through it like below? Anyway, here are a few that I’m loving.

Here are some really cute options I found on Etsy:

1. Striped Linen Cafe Curtain | 2. Ruffled Curtains Linen Café Curtains | 3. Striped Linen Cafe Curtains | 4. Double Pleated Ticking Striped Cafe Curtain | 5. White Linen French Bistro Curtain | 6. Striped Ruffled Cafe Curtain Panel | 7. Ruffled Ticking Cafe Curtains Ticking Stripe Curtains | 8. Sheer White Linen Panel | 9. White Linen Curtain Romantic Cafe Curtains

Option #2: Roman Shades

I love a Roman shade because it’s so simple, commands way less attention, and in this case would fit perfectly for an inside mount. I want something soft and textural (nothing too contemporary) and it would need to be corded because I can’t reach high enough to make it cordless over the deep countertop. This would obviously work really, really easily inside each one and do the job. I could do the same on the other two windows in the kitchen (not the bar window) and call it a day OR do cafe curtains in the same fabric as the shades over there.

Functionally, the cafe curtains obviously won’t close off as much but they will be much easier to just tug close than the Roman shades. And I really don’t think I need the upper window covered at night, but maybe? I also get up around 5:30 to drink coffee and write before the kids get up and while I’m not scared in the morning, I would imagine that a fully shut Roman shade would be nicer in the morning (especially if it were interesting in some way, aka not just white).

Curious what you would do??? While I want it to stay on the not-busy side, a texture or a tiny pattern sounds good to me, but so does a hand-embroidered or antique tablecloth. Weigh in!!!

Photos by Kaitlin Green | From: The Farmhouse Kitchen Reveal

The post The Case For Cafe Curtains Or Shades In Our Kitchen (It’s The Year Of The Farmhouse Tweak!) appeared first on Emily Henderson.

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