Emily Henderson is bringing back this vintage-inspired window treatment in her remodel – here's how to style it in your home

Create a light and airy feel with trending café curtains

Kitchen window with cafe curtains and Emily Henderson
(Image credit: Shannon Eddings, Getty Images/Jason Kempin/Staff)

Window treatments form a key design element in pretty much every room throughout the home, not only as a practical addition but also as a stylistic one. With so many options spanning blinds, curtains, and shutters to name just a few, it can sometimes be tricky to decide which are best for your space. 

One window treatment idea that we're seeing more and more of so far in 2024, is café curtains. Dating back to 19th century Europe, café curtains perfectly embody a nostalgic, romantic style that adds instant charm to the home.

Interior designer Emily Henderson recently posted on Instagram about this window treatment trend, and we're taking on board her expertise. We spoke to Emily to learn more about café curtains and how to incorporate them into your home. Or, if café curtains aren't quite your style, she suggests another, more modern window treatment to consider too. 

What are café curtains?

Café curtains are typically made from lightweight fabrics in light colors and usually hung on the lower section of a window, creating an airy look as shown below. The beauty of them is that they allow some element of privacy from the outside world, while they still allow plenty of natural light to fill the room, making them a good choice for bright spaces where you want to create subtle shade but avoid anything too heavy. 

english style kitchen with green cabinets marble countertop and a cafe curtain

(Image credit: Shannon Eddings)

What's the best way to style café curtains?

According to Emily, café curtains can be embraced in lots of different ways and can be styled throughout the home, even beyond the kitchen or bathroom. 'I don’t feel like there are any hard rules with where and when to use café curtains,' explains Emily. 'I do love them in kitchens, but I also have them in two of the smaller windows in my living room and some in my primary bathroom. Ultimately, they are perfect for rooms where you still want to have that wonderful natural light coming in but also a little more privacy at the same time. It’s the best of both worlds.'

Once you've decided on a room that you'd like to decorate with café curtains, it's important to consider their placement in relation to the shape and size of the window. 'I would definitely think about where the rod is going to land on the window. If you have a window that slides open vertically then I would match the rod placement in line with the top rail of the moving window or go above it. After that, the height is up to what you think looks best!'

And when it comes to choosing the best fabric, it's really all down to your style preferences. 'I would also consider if you want your fabric to be light-filtering or not,' adds Emily. 'I prefer a thinner fabric for that reason but that style also works really great with my home. If your decor style would look great with something heavier, like velvet, and during the day you plan to slide the curtain to the side for more light that’s also great.'

Opt for Roman blinds in more modern spaces

living room window with roman blinds

(Image credit: Future)

While café curtains are a great choice for creating a vintage and airy look, they may not be the best choice for all spaces and styles. If your style leans more towards modern decor, café curtains can appear too delicate, while spaces that need more privacy and more light-blocking may benefit from heavier window blind ideas. Below, Emily explains the benefit of opting for Roman blinds instead: 

'I also love Roman shades. It’s just a different look and style that may work better than café curtains depending on the house, window, or style. If privacy is your goal, then Romans may be a better option since they cover the whole window when drawn, or if you prefer a more modern, tailored look. But I also have a Roman shade in my living room (and drapes) so mixing in different curtain styles is also a great option that can help your space feel a little more layered.'

Depending on your space and interior design style, window treatments can be chosen to best suit your space. Café curtains are an on-trend option that works well in bright spaces that have a vintage feel, such as farmhouse decor. In contemporary or even traditional style spaces, Roman blinds are a classic choice. Below, you can shop both window treatment styles to channel your favorite. 

Emily Moorman
News Writer

Emily Moorman is a News Writer at Homes & Gardens, working across a range of topics spanning interiors, celebrity and emerging trends. With a background in the fashion industry, Emily is well-versed in the world of design and trend cycles. Her undergraduate degree was in Fashion Communication and Promotion which she studied at Norwich University of The Arts, specialising in writing and digital communications.