4 Things to Consider When Picking Kitchen Window Treatments

Add a stylish accent, privacy, and light control to your kitchen with these tips on how to find the best window treatments for your kitchen windows.

In a room as functional as a kitchen, window treatments provide one of the few elements of softness and decoration amid utilitarian appliances and hard surfaces. Curtains and shades can deliver an injection of color, pattern, or texture, while boosting privacy and controlling natural light. Because you use this hardworking space every day, it's important to consider window treatments that suit your style and daily needs. Here are four things to consider when choosing treatments to give your kitchen a polished, personalized look.

kitchen with hanging lights above sink
Heather Anne Thomas

1. Use as Decoration

Window treatments serve as pretty accents in the kitchen. In areas outside the work core, such as breakfast nooks, consider hanging floor-length curtain panels, which offer big doses of color and pattern when they flank a large bay window or a set of sliding doors. On a smaller scale, a colorful swag draped over a single window can also make a bright statement. Roman and roller shades reveal texture and pattern when they're lowered, and stationary valances and cornices highlight windows where you want to draw attention. For the most decorative effect, choose fabrics with eye-catching colors and designs, and have fun with trims, tassels, fringe, or bold banding to give your treatments a finished look.

kitchen with long wooden dining table
Reed Davis

2. Add Privacy

Kitchen window treatments might not seem necessary until you realize the neighbors can see straight into your breakfast nook. For temporary privacy issues, such as when you're dressed in your favorite fluffy robe while reading the Sunday paper, consider quick-draw curtains, blinds, or shutters, which close at the tilt of a wand. For consistent privacy needs, look for screening materials that let you see out and allow some daylight to pass through, while blocking outsiders' views. Try cellular shades and roller shades made from translucent or woven materials, or hang sheer fabric curtain panels. Perform a quick check before choosing your treatments. Turn on the lights in the kitchen at night, then go outside to see what's visible through the blinds or curtains.

Contemporary kitchen with two tone cabinetry
Laurie Black

3. Control Light

Sunlight, particularly UVA and UVB rays, can be damaging. Direct, harsh sunshine can raise interior temperatures, fade wood floors, dull cabinet finishes, dry out leather, and wash out fabrics. To protect your kitchen from too much sun, look for window coverings that advertise protection. Many sheer treatments, such as cellular and solar shades, will disclose how much UVA and UVB rays they screen while still allowing in light.

For complete light control, choose an opaque window treatment, such as blackout shades or curtains that are lined with a light-prohibiting layer. When closed, the slats of shutters and blinds (often made from wood, vinyl, or metal) can also block the sun's rays. For added protection, consider adding sun-filtering protection to the windows themselves. Install new ones with a low-E coating, or line old windowpanes with an adhesive or static-cling film.

Liz Strong home neutral kitchen
David Tsay

4. Consider Cleanability

Keeping kitchen window treatments clean is a must. Anything near a stove or sink will soak up splatters and odors from foods, cooking oils, dishwater, and more. The material makes all the difference in how easy it is to maintain your treatments. For example, you can simply launder and rehang most fabric valances and curtains, and vinyl blinds, solar shades, and shutters can be wiped down with soapy water. But it gets more tedious when it comes to washing real wood blinds, which must be cleaned with wood cleaner. Elaborate fabric treatments, such as Roman shades, or any panel with lining and trim, typically need to be dry-cleaned. Cellular shades should only be kept dust-free with vacuuming, so install these in areas far from potential splatters or spills, possibly in a breakfast nook.

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