Household members spend a lot of time in the kitchen—preparing food, eating, tidying up, and just hanging out at the kitchen island or bar. This room is both a practical and social space, so every interior design element from paint color to kitchen curtains or kitchen drapes affects the style or function of the room.
Kitchen curtains soften up the room’s aesthetic, help filter natural light, and provide privacy to homes that face a neighbor’s home or a busy street. From farmhouse kitchen curtains to modern kitchen curtains, there are many styles to suit many design preferences.
Since there are so many options with fabric type, style, and performance, we’ve gathered 16 kitchen curtain ideas that can help you decide how to use curtains in your kitchen.
1. Use sheer curtains to allow light into the kitchen.
Thick kitchen curtains block out more light than sheer fabrics. Choosing sheer and unsaturated colored curtains allows natural light to filter into the kitchen and brighten your space while adding softness and subtle texture.
There are two great reasons to opt for sheer curtains. Having more natural light helps a kitchen feel more spacious—even if it’s on the smaller side. Additionally, the diffusion of natural light, especially in the morning, sends a queue to your brain that it’s time to wake up, which could make mornings a bit easier.
2. Pair a shade or blinds with soft-colored curtains.
Simple and clean Scandinavian design is trending right now. A minimal aesthetic evokes a sense of calm, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. In kitchens with large or too-bright windows, pairing a shade with kitchen curtains helps you adjust the amount of light that enters at any time of day.
Consider choosing a neutral shade, like gray or off-white, for your blinds and adding blush pink, light sage, or powder blue kitchen curtains. Softer neutrals are often easier to blend with the current decor style and soften the aesthetic without being too imposing.
3. Add style with cafe curtains.
Cafe curtains only cover the lower half of the window, allowing privacy and enabling natural light to shine through simultaneously. This type of classic kitchen curtains adds character, making the room feel all the more charming.
When deciding on the hanging height of your cafe curtains, ensure they hang down to the window sill, but not further. With this kitchen curtain idea, they look best when they fit just right; curtains that fall too short or too long may look a little sloppy.
4. Use patterned curtains and swap them out often.
Kitchen curtains are functional, but the fabric and design you choose impact the aesthetics of the space. Some homeowners may use their curtains to change the look and feel of their kitchen by switching out patterns, textures, and curtain lengths regularly. This change makes a significant impact in just a few minutes.
An excellent time to change the kitchen aesthetic is when you take down the curtains for cleaning. In kitchens, cooking creates odors, grease, and other splatter, so it’s ideal to clean your curtains approximately every month to keep the fabrics fresh.
5. Install shelf curtains to minimize visual clutter.
Photo: SunfloweraStore via etsy.com
Though curtains are often considered a window treatment, you can get creative with these fabrics and use them in other areas of a room. For full storage shelves, adding a curtain track or rod is a relatively easy DIY project, and you can either make or buy curtains that fit the shelf height.
In addition to making a kitchen shelf look less cluttered, shelf kitchen curtains also help protect the items inside from dust and other debris. Find these hideaway curtains for your cupboards and shelves at Etsy.
6. Pair shades or blinds with trailing plants.
Fabric kitchen curtains may not be your thing, but there are other ways to create a curtain or valance effect in your culinary space. Kitchens are a great place for plants, and greenery makes a space feel cozy.
Instead of installing kitchen curtains over a shade or blind, add hanging planters or a plant shelf above your window and use trailing plants to create a valance effect. Make sure to choose plants that are suited for your kitchen's temperature, light, and humidity.
7. Choose Roman shades that blend in with the wall color.
If your home decor is already bold and full of character, adding colorful kitchen curtains may make a room feel over-the-top. For kitchens with bright colors or decorative pieces, consider letting those be the focal point of the room and choose a toned-down classic aesthetic for your window treatment.
Simple and timeless, Roman shades are a kitchen curtain idea that adds subtle texture to a kitchen without overpowering other design elements. Sticking with neutrals or colors that blend in with your wall hues gives the illusion of ample space, even in a crowded area.
8. Use a lace undercurtain with a farmhouse print.
Farmhouse kitchen curtains make a room feel quaint, but a couple of simple additions can help the aesthetic become even more charming. With a farmhouse print—such as gingham, florals, or fruit patterns, and layering it over a lace undercurtain—create a more upscale country kitchen curtain aesthetic.
Add curtain hooks, ties, or fabric loops on both sides of the curtains to gather the fabric in place, frame the window, and show off the delicate undercurtain beneath.
9. Use a metal curtain as a kitchen divider.
Photo: Design: Bushman Dreyfus Architects | Photographer: Ben Rahn
A kitchen can lack a quaint feel in modern, open floor plans. Installing a metal mesh curtain that stows away in a wall pocket offers the best of both worlds, enabling home chefs to create a more intimate cooking area when they want it and opening up the space when preferred.
This type of installation is best left to expert DIYers or qualified contractors to get a professional-looking result. You could always add a curtain rod or track yourself. However, depending on the layout, the kitchen curtain fabric may become an obstruction without the wall pocket.
10. Add to the ambiance with long, flowing kitchen curtains.
Fall in love with cooking in your kitchen again by adding romantic elements to the room. For some, cooking is an experience, and the atmosphere enhances the activity. Long, lightweight curtains soften the space and drape gracefully to make a kitchen feel more elegant. Pairing high-quality curtains with fresh flowers, candles, and music goes a long way to creating a more romantic ambiance in your kitchen.
Can’t find the curtains you want? Learn how to sew your own by following this tutorial by The DIY Mommy.
11. Choose window treatments with subtle details.
Homeowners have many options for modern kitchen curtains over the sink. Even small windows offer an opportunity to show off window treatments that enhance design elements and add to the overall aesthetic of a room.
Window shades or curtains come in various shapes and styles, and your choice can make your kitchen appear more bohemian, coastal, contemporary, or traditional. Adding a shade with a scalloped edge or a curtain with sophisticated beaded tassels elevates the aesthetic in a modern kitchen without overpowering the design.
12. Use a valance for additional texture.
A staple in farmhouse kitchens, a valance is purely decorative. This short and simple kitchen curtain design runs along the top edge of a window, concealing the rod that supports it. A valance creates a sweet aesthetic in a kitchen, and you can pair it with other window treatments, such as blinds or shades, for privacy.
However, the gathered fabric of a valance creates areas for dust to accumulate. Consider using a hand vacuum to keep the valance looking its best between cleanings.
13. Create a spacious feeling with neutral color curtains.
When installing curtains in a kitchen, many choose a style that complements the room’s current aesthetic. In neutral or light-colored kitchens, curtains that mimic the existing hue expand the illusion of space in the room.
Sheer curtains can be an excellent choice. Layer them with a sheer valance to add softness, texture, and elegance to a kitchen. Though sheer curtains look fabulous, staying on top of cleaning these fragile fabrics is essential, as dirt can cause permanent discoloration.
14. Choose complementary patterns to pull your design together.
Photo: Debra Drake Design
Some kitchen curtain ideas lean into a charming casual aesthetic, where homeowners can have more fun with their style choices. You can choose different curtain patterns or textures for different types of curtains—provided they work within your color scheme and style. The key is to use these mismatched styles for different kinds of treatments.
Your kitchen may present the opportunity to introduce multiple curtain patterns. For example, you may choose curtains over French doors and a window, and then also include shelf curtains. However, if you try to do different kitchen curtains over just the windows, it may look more disjointed than complementary.
15. Keep a modern kitchen curtain aesthetic with roller blinds.
Keep your kitchen looking sleek and sophisticated with some evergreen roller blinds. These blinds allow you to let in as much or as little light as possible by using the pulley to adjust the fabric shade, and they will look good long-term with appropriate care.
These blinds create pockets for dirt to settle, so you can use the upholstery tool for your vacuum whenever you clean your floors. Some folks may use a hairdryer to dislodge dirt and debris from these blinds; however, this may not be advisable in the kitchen as it puts the dust back into the air and potentially into your food.
16. Install floor-to-ceiling draperies for large windows.
In kitchens that form part of great rooms with expansive windows, large window coverings can be a challenge. If your windows are floor-to-ceiling, you may want curtains that cover them for privacy or light control. Since some exposed curtain hardware can look disorderly or incomplete, consider installing curtains on a track or rod behind a curtain cover. By finishing the curtain cover with the same material as the curtains, the aesthetic is kept clean and elegant.