Imagine yourself in a little corner café, seated at a window behind a gathered curtain that goes only part way up the window. There you are, invisible to prying eyes on the street, yet in a room filled with the light that comes in the top half of the window. If there’s a commotion on the street, you might pull back a corner of the curtain to see what’s going on. Otherwise, you dine in relative privacy and can devote your attention to your companion and your food instead of what’s going on outside.
Seeing these curtains in many a café in the first half of the 20th century may be how they came to be known as café curtains, but they don’t just belong in cafés and kitchens. In fact, I’ve seen more interest lately in café-style window treatments and only rarely are they in the kitchen!
Café-style window coverings cover just the bottom half of a window and are the perfect answer for ranch homes, bathrooms, hallways, first floor rooms with a fair amount of activity outside—anywhere privacy is needed, but not light control. They are also great when there is an unsightly view outside and you still want light inside.
Top-down/bottom-up shades allow each person to adjust the height of the window covering to their preference. If preferred, the whole window can be covered. Choose a blackout fabric if you want complete light control and insulation from the heat or cold.
These curtains covering two-thirds of the windows over a stairwell provide both privacy and light in a spot where opening and closing full curtains or blinds would be problematic. Custom cut rods can be mounted inside the window openings with hardware, as seen here, or you might choose a single rod that stretches across all the windows.
Wood-look shutters are used in this bathroom to provide privacy. Palm Beach polysatin shutters by Hunter Douglas are ideal for bathrooms as they will not warp, rot, crack, or peel even in areas that have high exposure to moisture.
Café-style treatments can be combined with other window accents like this cornice. The height of café treatments usually corresponds to a natural break in the window, such as the middle sill as shown here or one of the horizontal mullions.