6 Ways to Dress a Kitchen Window

By Kate Riley February 21, 2013

Hello hello everyone, so happy to have a great contributing writer back today, Shannon from AKA Design is here to discuss the various ways to dress up a kitchen window and her ideas are superb. I love how she also includes a little history! Please welcome back Shannon and her inspirational roundup.

“As a girl growing up I often dreamt of what my life would be like as an adult. I figured it would be just like in the movies; I’d be a stay at home mom with a Volvo (yes, a Volvo!) and a great big house just like the Father of the Bride house.

When imagining this dreamy life and home, I always pictured a bright white eat-in kitchen with a large window over the sink. Of course I also always pictured myself the June Cleaver type too – complete with dress, high heels and pearls every day. Yeah, the high heels and Volvo won’t be happening any time soon.

But when we moved into our new house just before Christmas, I did get the kitchen with the large window over the sink that I’d always dreamt about!

Here are six ways to dress a kitchen window:

six ways to dress your kitchen window


1) Bamboo Blinds or Woven Shades.  Bamboo has been a multifunctional natural resource in the East for a long time. There is nary a home that hasn’t incorporated bamboo into its structure or décor in some format. Partitions, walls, rugs even toys are made from bamboo.

Here in the West, it’s taken a little longer to incorporate, until bamboo blinds came along – now they seem to be everywhere. And for good reason, woven shades are classy, inexpensive, easy to find, easy to install and they add fabulous visual texture and warmth to any space.

woven shades bhg

Better Homes & Gardens

kitchen for the love of a house

For the Love of a House


kitchen woven shades restored style

Restored Style


Candice Olson via Elle Decor

 woven shade in kitchen bhg

Better Homes & Gardens


2) Café Curtains.  Café Curtains are another easy kitchen window covering idea. They originated in Vienna in the 1800s in street cafes where they gave a smidgen of privacy to inside diners. Café curtains are a perfect way to add a little style and privacy whilst still letting in natural light – due to their hanging on only half of the window.

Simple versions can be found with a little online searching or you can have them custom-made in just about any fabric. They can even be a simple DIY project with fabric and hem tape and hung by curtain ring clips.

cafe curtains pottery barn

Pottery Barn


Mini Manor Blog

cafe curtains kerrisdaledesign

Kerrisdale Design


3) Roman Shades.  Roman Shades were originally invented in Rome to keep all the hot dry street dust from entering into people’s houses. It didn’t take long for the Romans to realize that these shades also kept out the hot afternoon sun too. It soon followed that the women of the house were getting creative and dressing up their homes with them almost as a symbol of status and wealth.

Kitchens that need a little color, pattern or whimsy as well as some privacy are well-suited to Roman shades. Much like café curtains, Roman shades can inject a ton of personality and can be customized for a variety of looks. Just like the early Roman women discovered years ago!


Sarah Richardson via J Jasmin Interiors

roman shade gray cabinets decorpad



roman shade traditional home

Traditional Home


Gemma Moore

roman shades in kitchen new england home mag

New England Home


4) Valance or Cornice.  A straight or curved valance will bring a touch of fabric to your kitchen window but not sacrifice natural light. Granted these treatments are not ones to choose if you seek privacy but they do offer the opportunity to bring color and style into your kitchen with a touch of solid or patterned fabric.

valance house beautiful

House Beautiful

kitchen valance bhg

Better Homes & Gardens

kitchen window valance dillarddesign

Dillard Design


5) Shutters of Folding Doors.  Light or dark, shutters bring a classic look to kitchen windows and look equally inviting in cozy cottage style kitchens as well as grand traditional ones.

shutters in kitchen bhg

  Better Homes & Gardens

gray cabinets white doors



dark shutter blinds


plantation shutters in kitchenAlison Harper Design


6) No Treatment.  A growing trend in kitchen design is to let the windows and the natural light they bring take the spotlight and not have any window treatment at all. Kate has opted for this simplistic choice as well and it certainly keeps a kitchen light and airy.

natural light in kitchen no window treatment


 kates kitchen no window treatment

blue and white kitchen athomeinarkasas

 At Home in Arkansas

mint cabinets farmhouse kitchen house beautiful

House Beautiful


An architectural element or charming sign suspended above is yet another idea for dressing up your window with a unique and non traditional look.

you are my sunshine window sign

At Home on the Bay


Cozy Cottage Cute

This “no treatment” approach assumes a decent view and no privacy issues, but if your kitchen window – large and beautiful as it may be – looks at something less than beautiful (like say the neighbor’s side yard or entryway) you may want to cover that up with one of the treatments mentioned above.

I think for our kitchen we’re going to go with café curtains made from traditional linen held up with black curtain ring clips. They are simple, classic and give us some privacy and just a little bit of shade on our east-facing kitchen window.”


Thank you so much Shannon for rounding up a group of inspiring kitchen window treatments. You can catch up with Shannon at her blog AKA Design where she writes about all of her DIY and design adventures.

I had choice #4 DIY valance for years but when I took it down to repaint the walls somehow it never made its way back up again and I now prefer it that way so I sit in the #6 category.

What about you? Which kitchen window coverings do you like best? Or do you prefer your kitchen window wide open? Did anyone else like Shannon dream of the Father of the Bride house? Or a maybe Volvo station wagon? :)




  1. An excellent post! I, too, dreamed of a Father of the Bride kind of house–but my dreams were of the original movie with Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor. And my dream house always had a window over the kitchen sink! In addition to that, my husband went to the Volvo dealership and got brochures the week after our first baby was born. There was no way we could afford a Volvo at that time, but he surely wanted one! I got one after our third son was born, and I have to admit I felt as though I’d arrived. :)

    Anyway, I like all these kitchen window treatment options! I usually end up with a DIY valance of some kind and leave the lower portion of my kitchen windows untreated; we’ve been fortunate to live in houses where privacy wasn’t an issue. Right now my window is sporting a no-sew faux Roman shade–the look of a Roman shade but a very inexpensive DIY version. It doesn’t move up and down, but it does a great job of blocking the sun’s rays when they’re the brightest and hottest.

  2. I LOVE these ideas, but all of these kitchens have something that mine do not: windows. That’s right. I have a kitchen without a single window. The dining room was an addition to the house and it doesn’t get much sunlight.

    However, I am in DESPERATE need of making my house less cave like. All of my lights give off a yellow dim glow and I am tired of straining my eyes to cook/clean/read/relax. Any ideas for windowless kitchens?

    • Hi Janille, I have a windowless family room so I hung three of Ballard Designs Grand Palais mirrors (painted white) in ours to pull light from the kitchen – I’m thinking of the mirror trick for you too if you’ve got space to hang one!

  3. Great post and perfect timing. I’ve been trying to gather ideas for the type of window treatment I want for our kitchen window. This is our first house, and even though we moved in just over a year ago, we still just have a bare, beige shade the former owner left. It looks awful! This post has given me a lot of great ideas. I love the idea of a Roman shade or maybe a bamboo one.
    Also, I have to add how much I’m enjoying your site! I only just started reading blogs a few months ago, and I stumbled on your site last week. I’m hooked! I’ve found so many great ideas that I can’t wait to try. Your sense of color and style are right up my alley. You’ve even inspired me to start my own humble, little blog. Thanks and please keep posting!

  4. This post is perfectly timed. I’m wrestling with this question now as we are redoing the kitchen soon. I think I’m leaning toward a relaxed roman shade. Tomorrow my idea will change LOL.

  5. For Janille without windows, I have heard of tube sky lights that can somehow be brought in even if you kitchen has a room above. I heard they are not terribly expensive but bring in a tremendous amount of light. I have not had first hand experience with one of these. Maybe Kate or one of her readers has and they can comment on their experience with them.

  6. Mirrors are a fabulous idea! That would certainly bounce the light around more! Also consider changing light bulbs to a brighter white…there are some that simulate daylight rather than the yellow glow you described.

  7. I’ve been struggling with this! We’ve been living in our apartment for two years and have yet to put anything on our kitchen windows, but we desperately need to because the blinding afternoon light aaaand I should probably walk around with more clothes on.
    We have plain white roman shades from a previous apartment and I was thinking of painting a border…

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Hello everyone,
    I’ve got another problem: I’ve got a door to my garden in the kitchen…that was my dream when I was a kid and, lucky me, now I’ve got one! But it’s very difficult to decorate: Any curtain or blind has to be directly on the window, so that I can open the door without any problems. And, further more, there ist not quite much space, so I can’t push any curtain aside fot there is no space for all that fabric . In the evening (and that really is the main big problem) it’s not very nice to be in the kitchen and to look in the black garden, it’s always a bit spooky…so, no option 6 for me….a bit privacy would be so nice….Any ideas anyone? I’d be very glad about your answers, because I’m living with this for nearly 4 years now and I hate being in the kitchen at night…but Iove to cook with the best husband in the world….

    Thanks a lot

    Sonja from germany

    • Hi Sonja, absent hanging a rod pocket curtain on those double rods you can buy, one at the bottom, one at the top – you might want to consider using a window frosting or privacy treatment, I know they sell them at home improvement stores here in the States, that’s what we used on our bathroom window to allow light but maintain privacy.

  9. Oh wow, i am spending WAY too much time on your blog, I IMMEDIATELY recognized your kitchen!!!
    And I love no-treatment window treatments!

  10. I love the Roman Shades. Here in Florida the summer sun can be really bright and extreme so I need something to block out some of that blinding light. I curtainly have faux white blinds just because that is what the previous owner installed but I’m leaning towards removing those and putting up the bamboo shades. Thanks for a gorgeous round up.. As always I learn more than anything just how bad I want to paint my kitchen white! Ha!

  11. Love the bamboo blinds against the white kitchens. But I’m strangely drawn to the grey kitchen designs too, never considered this colour for the kitchen but it looks great, so classy!

  12. Janille- in addition to mirrors or a fake eindow with mirrors for panes, maybe you could install under-cabinet lighting that can be DIY ( see Home Drot for small round ones thar don’t show?)
    I’ve been enjoying this fabulous blog and have read the whole thing recently. Thanks so much for ideas and inspiration and your energy snd organization. Please keep it up!
    Enjoyed today’s guest post.

  13. Really enjoyed this. I would never have thought of a sign and just thinking about that is fun.

  14. I love these! I’m a fan of the bamboo shades and have installed several in our house. I got them custom cut from JC Penny, and the quality is great, and they’re not very expensive.

  15. Love the ‘Sunshine’ sign – Very cheery!

    to Janille – my mother-in-law installed one of those tube-like skylights in her windowless bathroom. The room is now quite bright during the day. You don’t even need the lights on. I think the mirror idea is a good one as well to give the illusion of a window being there.

  16. I love roman blinds, white venetians and most of all plantation shutters. We are lucky enough to have recently bought a house with huge windows … even if they are brown aluminum frames. There is a wonderful 1.8m wide window about my kitchen sink. We are also lucky enough not to need to cover it for privacy. But at this time of year the Australian sun belts through there right about the time you want to cook dinner and it’s like standing in a sweat box. I was going to put up a white timber venetian blind as we have done in other areas of the house, but I would prefer to have it pulled up most of the day and the weight of that width is pretty heavy. Any other suggestions for such a wide window where I don’t need to cover it for privacy but do need to block out the afternoon sun?

  17. This was a great post at the right time for me as we are getting ready to renovate. Not only were the window treatments all great ideas but love all the painted kitchen pics:) thanks for sharing!

  18. My kitchen sink is in the corner with windows on each corner so if you look directly out, you will see two window casings meeting each other. I really like the bare look when the millwork is substantial. Otherwise, it’s just meh. I considered building up the moulding when we renovated the kitchen last year, but my contractor said it would look weird not matching the other window in the eating nook. For now it’s just the builder’s grade 2 1/4′-ish stuff. The windows came with white wood blinds when we bought the house two years. I think maybe that’s why it’s looking unfinished.

    At least the view is pretty decent…just the shrubs and backyard. I love watching the bunnies come out and snack on the grass.

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