Curtains will make your kitchen feel cosier, and maybe a little bit more traditional (depending on the style of your cabinetry and interior design choices). They’re also ideal if you want a more formal look as they’re just that bit more polished than bare windows or blinds.
They’re often more practical for larger or open-plan kitchens than for small spaces, because you can keep them well away from the cooker. It’s a good idea if you can do this, as fabric’s more vulnerable to things like changing temperatures, build-ups of steam and oil, and absorbing cooking smells – you don’t want to be constantly taking them down to wash.
If your windows are close to your worktop or sink, curtains might not be the best choice either, as they’re more likely to get splashed and stained, or even damp over time. And the option of shorter length curtains is something we’d always suggest you steer clear of – they can look quite passé and take away from the elegance that full-length curtains will give you.
Curtains are great for softening a room and making it feel more elegant if you’re using it for dining and entertaining as well as cooking. In the open-plan kitchen pictured, our made-to-measure curtains with a cartridge heading and horizontal border give a tailored look to the dining area, without getting in the way of all the prep going on next door.
As a rule, if you’re having curtains anywhere in the kitchen, it makes sense to choose fabrics you can easily put in the washing machine, like linen or cotton. Keep them lightweight too (they can still be fully-lined, but choose a lighter lining fabric), so the room stays ventilated and you can easily sweep them out of the way to open windows when you need to.
Like curtains, shutters can give a more traditional feel to your kitchen – wooden ones are especially fitting for Shaker-style or country kitchens. You can easily make them feel more modern though, by painting them the same colour as your kitchen cabinets or a similar, tonal shade.
The best thing about them is that they give you total privacy when they’re closed (so they’re a great option if your kitchen’s overlooked), but they’ll also open up completely to let in lots of light and give the impression of bare windows. They’re also ideal if you’ve got tall windows, as you can have upper and lower shutters that open separately (as in the kitchen pictured here).
Shutters also work well if you want to have something like a window seat or dining alcove in your kitchen – they look lovely with cushions propped against them, whether they’re open or closed.
They’re really easy to keep clean, so they’re practical if you do lots of cooking (all you need to do is wipe them down once in a while), but they can be a little chillier than curtains, so weigh up how well-insulated your windows are before you have them fitted.
If you like the warmth of curtains but want something a bit more relaxed, Roman blinds are just right. They’ve got a subtler feel as there’s less fabric, but they’re also great for drawing attention to the shape of a window – they’ll make a wide one look even bigger (as in the light-filled Suffolk kitchen pictured), or give the impression of height at the top of a tall one.
There’s no reason why you have to hang them from the top of the window, though – mount one half way up and you can create a mix of light and privacy.
Our made-to-order Roman blind service lets you make a feature of a kitchen window in all sorts of ways – vertical borders that can make windows feel taller, horizontal ones to give the illusion of width, or single-fabric blinds that add pattern or texture – our unbleached Imogen and printed linens have a lovely natural feel with our painted kitchens.
It’s also worth remembering that Roman blinds are often easier to take down and wash than curtains, and they’re much easier to look after than Venetian blinds, which collect dust and grime and aren’t really practical in a kitchen.
Leaving the windows bare
If your kitchen’s got a fantastic view or you’re just lucky enough to have really striking window frames, you might not want to put anything on them at all. It feels more modern, and it can be great if your room’s on the dark side.
Try it out for a little while first though if you’re thinking about this approach, testing how the room feels at various times of day so you can make sure there’s no glare from the sun or issues with privacy. For trouble spots, it could be worth changing the glass itself to something more opaque, to shield your room from view while keeping that light-filled, simple look.