All About Café Curtains: Designs, Rods And Tips

ideas for café curtains and rods that will make them work for different decorating styles

Café curtains are half-curtains hung from the center of the window instead of at the top. The purpose of the café curtain is to provide privacy in the home while supplying optimum natural light. Café curtains are most often found at the kitchen window. It is typical for a matching valance to be at the top, leaving six to 10 inches of uncovered space for mother to peek out and see what the kids are doing.

Although café curtains are functionally ideal, they do not necessarily fit the taste of many people. Here are some ideas for café curtains and rods that will make them work for different decorating styles.

For a traditional home, you will want to use spring-loaded rods or brass rods with a small simple finial. Spring-loaded rods fit within the window frame. The rod is not visible through the pocket of the curtain. Brass rods hang by small brackets on the window frame and are a bit more visible than spring-loaded rods because the finals show. Tab top treatments also look nice on brass rods. From these rods, you will want to hang café curtains scalloped with lace or fringed details.



Hang full-length curtain panels over the café curtains in a room if you desire more privacy at night. You can top the window with a cornice or topper to match the café curtain. The café curtain and a beautiful layered effect will be revealed upon opening the full-length curtain.

In a country setting, hang the following curtain ideas from a tree branch found in the yard, or a simple iron rod. A recycled quilt cut to fit the window lower portion of the window is hung in one panel or two. Also, recycle part of the quilt by covering a cornice board or sew in a rod pocket to make a window topper. Dishtowels and antique handkerchiefs make excellent café curtain panels as well. Sew them together if they are too small to cover the desired area. Use these items as the widow topper by hanging them over the top pole. Your favorite vintage fabric or a beautiful shawl can also be transformed into café curtain panels. Be sure to pick items that will not fade in the sunlight.

Another great country idea is to make a fabric shutter for the interior of the window. This will resemble a café curtain when closed, but can be swung open to allow more light and visibility. Start by finding two wooden frames of equal size that will fit side by side in the lower half or the window. Staple fabric into the shades, this can be shirred or flat. Then glue trim over the raw fabric edges. Hang your fabric shutters on hinges at the side of the window like a regular interior shutter.

In a transitional or eclectic home, curtain rods might be as simple as wrought iron curtain rods with finial on the end. You can also expect to find unusual items used as curtain rods as well. A hand carved cane, a decorative sword, a Shepard's crook, an arrow, or any other item that one can attach a curtain to may be found used in place of a traditional rod.

An eclectic person will want to try using traditional window treatment in non-traditional ways. A simple window shade hung at the middle of the window instead or the top is an example of this. To make the shade more interesting, fuse your favorite fabric to the window shade. Sewing is not necessary when creating an original cafe curtain. Any fabric can be attached to the chosen rod using simple curtain rings with clips. Lengths of ten to twelve inch long ribbon or chains can also be used to secure a window treatment at café curtain height from a rod placed at the top of the window. Other creative ideas for making a café curtain to suite this style would be to string beads or strips of ribbon on a simple rod.

To coordinate with modern décor, you will want to look for natural items that can be hung on grommets and a simple stainless steel rod like sisal mats, or rice paper. Rigid items would work as well, such as placemats in place of curtain panels. For a funky café curtain, try hanging see-through tinted plastic from a recycled shower curtain, or pieces or plexi-glass.

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