Revisiting the Nostalgic Charm of Café Curtains

When I was first married and raising my family, I made do with the resources I had. Since I was a stay-at-home mom, I had to be creative since we only had one income. So when we moved into our first house, I sewed all the curtains myself. The easiest curtains to make were café curtains. Today I’m taking a little trip down nostalgia lane to revisit the charm of these simple yet pretty window dressings.

Patterned café curtains in traditional kitchenPhoto by Todd Richesin Interiors

The kitchen curtains above have sweet little pom-pom trim at the edge, which I love. The pattern is cute, too. Honestly, I loved looking at fabrics and mixing and matching colors and patterns when sewing curtains (or anything for that matter). I miss it.

I’ve never been a fan of heavy curtains at the window. I like to keep the views open and allow as much natural light into a room as possible. Café curtains are perfect for accomplishing this. The curtain rings are a nice touch to this entryway’s window treatment.

Blue and white traditional entrywayPhoto by Todd Richesin Interiors


Note how sunlight is allowed to shine through the top half of the window, while the horizontally-striped curtains add privacy where needed in this beautiful English country bathroom. Love this whole room!

Super cute English country bathroomPhoto by Riverside Homes Custom


Another way to make cafe curtains unique is to sew fabric ties for the curtain rod. If you don’t want to create these ties from the same fabric, you can use grosgrain ribbon or similar in a corresponding color.

Country style kitchen with café curtainsPhoto by Tim Andersen Architect


If you’re the ambitious type, you could swap out curtains to match the seasons. Just choose fabrics that correspond with the time of year. It’s a quick and affordable way to change the look of a room.

Gray and white traditional kitchenPhoto by Martha O’Hara Interiors


See how nice a room looks when part of the windows are left bare?  Maybe it’s a bit too barren for you, but I like the look. We all have our own tastes but I’m really vibing on simple curtains right now. I might just need to sew something up for our dining room and/or kitchen.

Farmhouse style dining room with sofa for seatingPhoto by Lisa Tharp Design


If you’re not the sewing type, you can find plenty of café curtains to purchase online. Check out my selection of affordable favorites:



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  1. I love sewing and found a place to buy linen on line, so most of my curtains are linen which are light. These are such cute examples and loved this post, thanks and have a great day.

  2. I had my Farm House finished with cafe curtains about 5 years ago. The curtain installer didn’t know how to hang them — he was unfamiliar with the style of curtain. So fun to see your showcase!

    1. Hi Sherri! That’s so funny that the installer didn’t know how to hang cafe curtains. I saw your website link and clicked over to check out the lavender farm. Is that your farm? If yes, I’m really intrigued with your story that I read in the About Us section. I LOVE lavender and just planted two more plants a week ago.


  3. Yes! Yes! Yes to cafe curtains. I love them and am sorry they went out of style. I am so tired of trying to keep various kitchen blinds clean. In many Australian homes the kitchen window goes right to the sink thus making the window itself the splashback. Cafe curtains not only add softness to the room but are also so sensible as easy to launder. Years ago in another house I made several sets which I changed seasonally. Love today’s pictures, thank you Jennifer.

  4. Somehow, cafe curtains are just a laid back, “Don’t close me in!” feeling! Maybe it’s because I never grew up in a heavy custom made window treatments in our home! We always had semi sheer lace panels at each window! As you mentioned, the cafe curtains in our kitchen were always changed out with the season AND sometimes Mom would use pretty dish towels (not terry towels) with those little clips as a valance and tiers! She would even throw a pretty table cover over the top rod of the window and make a valance with maybe ribbon tie or just some pretty draping (with hidden pins)!
    To simpler things! Never out to impress, but just to make our home, HOME! Bring on the less complicated and whimsey!
    We “made do”, and those little memories live today, 68 years later ~ To Mom!
    Thank you for this story! 👏🏻

    1. Hi Joanne! Thanks for sharing your story. The dish towels as curtains reminds me of when I used embroidered hankies to create a valance at my kitchen windows. I agree with you about the simpler things that help make a house your home. Sounds like your mom left you with a lot of great memories growing up!


  5. Those are all so cute. I have always liked cafe curtains and also made my own in the early years. Our kitchen has three large windows and sliding doors to the deck. I love the open clean look of no curtains now, but when we first moved in I had curtains made for them. That was a lot of fabric!

    1. Your kitchen sounds wonderful Jillian, with all those windows. Like you, I also enjoy the no-curtain look. I have mostly Roman shades now on our windows for privacy at night. Otherwise the windows are never covered.


  6. Waaaaaay back, my Mom made curtains out of a really pretty skirt! I don’t remember how wide the window was but I do remember this was a very full skirt – my Barbie got a dress out of the remnants! As you said, you make do with what you’ve got ~ I bet textiles of any sort were never thrown away…