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What Is a Cafe Curtain?

What Is a Cafe Curtain?

The term “cafe curtain” may not mean much to you if you aren’t in the design or decorating industries.  But, it may just be the perfect window treatment for your home!  Read on to learn more…

A cafe curtain refers to a curtain that is hung only partway up the window – the way many old roadside cafes used to cover their windows.  They can be hung halfway up the window, nearly at the top, or closer to the bottom of the window; quite often, the height of the curtain is made to match a dividing line already in the window.  For example, in the photo below, the curtain is installed right at the top of the lower pane of my bathroom double-hung window – a natural dividing line.

Cafe curtains are made of fabric, whether sheer or semi-opaque, and they can be lined or unlined.  Often, they are made as a rod pocket panel, which is installed with a tension curtain rod like this one in my bathroom (LOVE the fabric!):

cafe curtain


They can also be made with pinch pleats or any number of drapery heading constructions, depending on the look you prefer.  Some, like the one in the cafe curtain in the photo above, are made in one panel.  Others, like the pair in the photo below from Country Curtains, are made to open in the center, allowing you more flexibility throughout your day to allow more light in or to enjoy your view.  They can also be paired with a valance, if you like.

Cafe curtain pair

Photo courtesy Country Curtains

The advantage to hanging a cafe curtain in your home is that it adds privacy and light control to a room without blocking out all the light at the upper part of the window.  The disadvantage is that damaging UV rays can still get into your home, potentially causing furniture or finishes to fade over time.  The other disadvantage is that your mom may be bothered by the fact that the upper portion of the bathroom window is open to anyone who wishes to look in…but, I don’t know any moms like that.  (Love you, Mom!)  🙂

Cafe curtains work well in kitchens, bathrooms and even bedrooms, depending on privacy and light control needs.  Their simple construction makes them easy for a DIYer to create them at home, while the addition of fabric to the window adds color, pattern and texture to the room.

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