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Design Spotlight – Café Curtains

What do you think of when you hear the words “café curtains”? Do you immediately conjure up images of quaint Parisian bistros or charming English cafés? I do. At least to a degree. Lately though, I also think of chic kitchens, eclectic pantries, serene bathrooms and elevated laundry rooms. While they may have originated in those European cafés (Vienna, Austria to start), their appeal is now pretty widespread. 

So, what exactly are café curtains? They are essentially half curtains or short curtains that are designed to hang from the middle of the window to the bottom of the window sill. They were fairly common in homes in the U.S. in the 1980s where they were primarily used in kitchens and bathrooms – for the same exact reason they were used in those original bistros – to provide privacy while still letting plenty of natural light pour in. They began making a comeback a few years ago … and honestly, I’m not sure why it took so long for their popularity to rise once again. They are understated and lovely. In 2024, café curtains are no longer fussy or overly formal (like you may remember if you were around in the 80s/90s). The newest take on this type of curtain is playful and fresh … and can work with a range of styles and aesthetics (yes, even modern). 

Image Credits: @jzinteriordesigns, @collectedlivingdesign; Studio McGee; Heidi Caillier Design; @bryangraybill

I find café curtains to be positively charming. They manage to both elevate and soften a space. They are practical and functional, while adding an inviting warmth to your home. Plus, they are an easy way to add a dose of that Old World European charm that I tend to crave. 

Image Credits: @studiolaloc; @stefanisteinla; @kettlewellcollection; @sarahbartholomewdesign;

Image Credits: @amberinteriors; @heidicaillierdesign; @caitlinflemming; @amberinteriors

— 3 things to consider when adding café curtains to your home —

1. Fabric. Linen is a fan favorite when it comes to café curtains. It’s a light, airy fabric that still manages to maintain an air of sophistication. A patterned fabric could also be an easy way to add color and interest to your space.

2. Hardware. Mix beautiful hardware in with your café curtains to add even more character and dimension.

3. Pleats. Choose a café curtain with a tailored pleat to take that elevated look up one more notch.

Personally, I’ve been eyeing this curtain style for quite awhile and it’s well past time to add them to our home. For now, I plan to add them to the primary bath and the laundry room (bye-bye white blinds✌🏼) because both of these rooms need some privacy, but could use more light. Being in the more private rooms of our home, they won’t be seen by many eyes, but hey, at least I’ll be able to enjoy them. Hmmm …. I gotta admit … they might also look great in our kitchen … and even as a skirt in our pantry?! I might be getting ahead of myself. I’ll just start with our bath and laundry room … for now 😉

I’ve taken the liberty of rounding up some café curtain options for us …

Links: café curtain 1, café curtain 2, café curtain 3, café curtain 4, concealed mount rod, inside mount rod, pinch ring

If you could (or maybe you already have?!) where would you add café curtains in your home? Leave me a comment and let me know!

P.S. All of the images used are credited, linked and meant to inspire. Haven’t these designers used café curtains in the most beautiful ways?! Just lovely.

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