Cafe Curtains

Sheer cafe-style curtain

Charming to look at and cut in a manner that allows the sun to shine through your windows, café curtains are a great option for a kitchen or breakfast room. As their name suggests, they were originally designed to be placed specifically in cafés, but with time have become quite common in household settings, too.

About Café Curtains

Seen as something of a convenience for both café establishments and patrons alike, café curtains, also known as privacy tiers or tier curtains, originated in 19th century Vienna. Designed to cover the bottom half of a window, the curtains vary in measurement from 24 to 45 inches long. The top half of the window is typically covered with a coordinating valance treatment. Thus, the window area in between is left uncovered, allowing the sunlight to shine through and café patrons to watch the world go by.

This unique design was favored by restaurant owners since it encouraged the social nature of the café, and also created a warm ambiance. The curtains provide a modicum of privacy despite the uncovered center of the window that boasts the added benefit of allowing some natural light to shine through.

Today, however, café curtains are quite commonly seen in homes, specifically in kitchens, breakfast rooms and occasionally in utility rooms, bathrooms and basements. Of course, there's no hardfast rules to this curtain placement, particularly if a room has windows that can accommodate the type of curtain you really favor. If you'd like to give café curtains a try in another part of your home, you can be certain that there's a way to pull it off if the window is the right size and the curtains match your décor.

Types of Curtains

If you've made the decision to hang café curtains in your home or place of business, you'll have plenty of varieties to choose from. From simple cotton to rich velvet, the materials are only part of what makes each curtain so unique. There are also patterns galore to choose from, which is especially important when choosing curtains for a particular style kitchen. Whether you opt to use gingham for a country look or floral prints for a cheerful tone, you can count on finding a style that best suits your needs.

Where to Purchase

Despite their commonality, café curtains are not as readily available as other curtain styles. Though you may have some luck at specialty linen and window treatment stores, your best bet is to shop online. Of course, it's important to know your window measurements in advance, but there's always an off chance that you will purchase the wrong size or just won't be happy with your purchase. Always shop from reputable websites that have reliable exchange and return policies. The following sites are great places to get started:

  • Best Window Treatments offers an impressive variety of café curtains, priced reasonably and in a wide range of colors and patterns. New, unused products in their original packaging may be returned within 30 days of purchase.
  • Smith + Noble is the place to go if you love customizing your window treatments. Simply choose the pattern or solid color of your choice. The tiers range in length from 24 to 36 inches. The company's Satisfaction Guarantee promises that if your custom-made product is at all problematic, they will repair it or remake it completely, depending on the circumstances.
  • Window Toppers offers an outstanding selection of café curtains in nearly 40 different styles. Choose from crisply tailored or ruffled tiers. The curtains are available in sizes 24 to 45 inches, and items may be returned for any reason within 30 days of purchase.
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