Kitchen Window Treatments

In a room as functional as a kitchen, which is packed with metal appliances and wood cabinets, window treatments might be the only source of softness and embellishment in the entire space. Here are the four things you need to consider when choosing kitchen window treatments.

1. Decoration

Window treatments bring the pretty. In spaces outside the work core, such as breakfast nooks, none are better at this task than floor-length curtain panels, which offer big doses of color and pattern when they flank a large bay window or set of sliding doors. On a smaller scale, a swag of floral chintz draped over a single window can also make a bright statement. Roman and roller shades reveal texture and pattern when they are lowered, and stationary valances and cornices are like accent marks over windows you want to draw attention to. For the most decorative effect, choose fabrics that have eye-catching hues and designs, and have fun with trims, tassels, fringe, or bold banding to give the treatment a finished look.

2. Privacy

You might be tempted to forgo window treatments in your kitchen until you realize the neighbors can see straight into your breakfast nook. When you’re reading the Sunday paper wearing your favorite fluffy robe, this might be a problem. For temporary privacy issues, which occur only when you’re feeling shy in your PJs, consider quick-draw curtains, or blinds and 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 yet block views in; try cellular shades and roller shades made from translucent or woven materials, or try sheer fabric curtain panels. However, perform a quick check before choosing: Turn on the lights in the kitchen one night, then run across the street and see what you can see through the windows with the blinds or curtains drawn.

3. Light Control

Sunlight, particularly UVA and UVB rays, is damaging not just to our bodies but our homes, as well. Direct, harsh sunshine can raise interior temperatures, fade wood floors, dull cabinet finishes, dry leather, and wash out fabrics. To protect your kitchen space from too much sun, look for window coverings that advertise their protecting abilities. Many sheer treatments, such as cellular and solar shades, will disclose how much of the UVA and UVB rays they screen while still allowing in some light. For complete control, choose an opaque window treatment. When closed, the slats of shutters and blinds (wood, vinyl, or metal) block the sun. Blackout shades and curtains are lined with a light-prohibiting layer. For added protection, the windows themselves can have sunlight-filtering qualities; consider installing new windows with a low-E coating, or lining old windowpanes with an adhesive or static-cling film.

4. Cleanability

Keeping window treatments clean in a kitchen is a must—anything near a stove or sink will soak up splatter and odors from foods, cooking oils, dishwater, and more. The material makes all the difference in how easy it is to maintain your window treatments. For example, you can simply launder and rehang fabric valances and curtains, and you can wipe down vinyl blinds, solar shades, and shutters with soapy water. But it gets more tedious when you move to real wood blinds, which have to be cleaned with wood cleaner. Elaborate fabric treatments, such as Roman shades or any panel with lining and trim need to be dry-cleaned. Cellular shades are only supposed to be vacuumed to keep them dust-free, so just install these in the breakfast nook, as far away from splashing liquids as possible.

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