Curtains Are Long on Design

You do not often see café curtains in interiors these days, but they used to be anywhere — or at least that is how it seemed when I was a child. Luckily, they appear to be inching back to the radar. Recently I’ve spotted café curtains in the most unlikely settings, from an industrial loft to a modern living room.

There is a lot to love about these classic cropped window treatments. Originally wrapped in Western cafés to display diners from passersby, they supply a note of softness without the quantity of complete draperies, and since they cover just part of their panes, they let light in without forfeiting privacy. Are they for you? Take a look at the ways they’re used in these stylish spaces and pick.


This space is so simple and slick that exposing a bit of the exterior view adds to its attention. Simple white café curtains create an enveloping feel around the banquette without completely obscuring the windows.

Studio William Hefner

Paired with bistro-style bar stools, a succinct linen curtain rounds out this kitchen and hints in the expression of a Parisian café.

Hendel Homes

This bedroom turns out the traditional look on its ear — its components are timeless in your mind, but it is lightened with only a little quirkiness. Café drapes, which are somewhat less formal than complete draperies, seem right in your home.

Frank Shirley Architects

I really like this notion for adding privacy to a narrow hallway when trimming the light. Complete, gathered café curtains on the windows incorporate a pleasing note of softness.

Tracery Interiors

Here is proof that café curtains can operate in an industrial-style setting. The trick? Keep the colour neutral, the material casual and the traces clean.

Ikat café curtains offset the hard surfaces and sharp angles of metal kitchen cabinets.

Jeannie Balsam Interiors

A gingham café curtain provides this breakfast nook the feel of a coastal cottage.

Julie Smith

This drape style often is paired with a valance to soften the upper window. Bright poppy pink brings this space a cheery punch of colour.

Julie Smith

Here, the valance can help draw the eye up, making the low ceiling feel less jarring. The low profile of the headboard also sits under the drape line, so it does not appear to take up extra space.

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