Curtain Conundrum: Open Floor Plan Edition
November 11, 2015 7:57 AM   Subscribe

My kitchen and living room are one open space. In the middle of the longest wall, I have a kitchen window that is 69 inches wide, and approximately 80 inches high. This window is bare, as I have been paralyzed with indecision about how to treat it. I'm hosting Thanksgiving here in a few weeks, and the time has come to dress this window....but how?

Should I hang a valance only? I know I don't have to match the living area curtains (which are sheer and neutral; we like the light), but this window sort of dominates the eye as you walk into our house and the living area curtains (located several feet to the left) are floor length. There is a kitchen table and four chairs that sit directly in front of this window. The house is fairly new and has pretty traditional design elements (crown molding, neutral wall color), but my personal aesthetics are more eclectic/bohemian. I am fairly obsessed with this Dala horse-printed valance, but does that seem crazy or just TOO MUCH for a big kitchen window? I definitely want color in whatever window treatment I choose. The rest of the open space is dominated by browns/neutrals/a framed collection of Black Apple prints that have sort of a 40s palette. I am drawn to botanical prints, autumnal reds and other natural reds, and folkloric motifs as previously mentioned. I feel neutral about toile.

I've Googled and Pinned and Houzzed for two years now, but I still can't figure out what to do here. If you have a similar floor plan, how have you treated a large window like this in the zone between living room and kitchen proper? Any specific curtain resource suggestions would be welcomed.
posted by little mouth to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would hang shelving and fill it with plants in pretty pots.
posted by raisingsand at 8:13 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was just about to say "plants". They go with everything. I have a combination of plants and colored glass vases/plates in my kitchen windows. It's not necessary to dress every window with traditional curtains. But if the horsey valance will make you smile when you look at it, then go for it.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:37 AM on November 11, 2015

Best answer: I have Black Apple prints in my living room too ;)

The main thing, in my opinion, is to have a similar color palette throughout the space. I don't know whether or not that's important to you. The Dala print, colorwise, doesn't go at all with the Black Apple prints and the neutrals in the living space, no? It doesn't look right at all, to my eye, to have one big space that doesn't flow via colors and style. I think that print is wonderful and you should work it in somehow if you love it, but perhaps in another space such as a bedroom. Cover your chair seats with it? It's possibly very jarring with what you already have. Or maybe it isn't? Pics of your space would really help here.

Unofficial official rule: windows should hardly EVER be a focal point. The window would have to be some sort of architectural stunner to be the focal point of a room. The table, the tablescape (candles, flowers, whatever), the food, the people at the table...those are the focus pullers. The area would probably (again, pics would help) be so crazy busy with yards of vibrantly colored and patterned fabric against a table with plates, napkins, tablecloth, flowers, etc. on it. I would aim for more or less having the drapes melt into the background. I would advise this no matter what your style, be it traditional, modern, eclectic, boho, etc. Let the fabrics on your table (placemats, napkins, tablecloth, etc.) if you use them, have those luscious reds and autumn hues you like.

Sooo if I were you, wanting color and pattern, I would go for a botanical print. If you don't care whether or not the drapes actually function, and are looking to quickly put something together, try doing a scarf swag that goes down to the floor. It looks great and is also a nice temporary stand in. It of course offers no privacy and doesn't function, but it will frame your table so well, and can be really quirky and charming depending on how you hang it, your fabric choice, etc. You can do it yourself, it's just a rod and some fabric. Also see this Pinterest board of scarf valances. If you decide you love it, keep it up and add blinds or shades when you get a chance.

Believe it or not, Ikea has some really great botanical print curtains. Their curtains are hardly ever lined, so not really providing privacy, and let in light during the day (which you like), but doubling up on the panels solves that and looks good from both the inside and the outside.

Disclaimer - I am not a professional interior designer but have done some consulting.
Disclaimer #2 - I love zenlike, serene modern looks (very calming) and my personal preference is to leave windows bare or to melt them into the walls with neutral balloon shades.
Disclaimer #3 - If this were my space I would have the same curtains in the living and dining area, since they are only a few feet apart. For that all-important flow ;) But you do not want to do that and that's fine.
posted by the webmistress at 8:40 AM on November 11, 2015

At 80"h I'm assuming there is nothing under/over it like cabinets? So I would put a rod across (matching the living room rod if you can) and do drapes to the floor on either side. Your colorful fabric would make nice drapes!
posted by cecic at 10:40 AM on November 11, 2015

You love that print and I think it's pretty affordable at $42. I would go for it, especially since you want something before Thanksgiving. It is a great fabric and I bet you could find a use for it if you eventually decide the valance isn't quite right.

If not, consider a panel or Roman shade in a neutral color to match the dining room drapes. And not sure if this will work for you, but you could then bring a pattern in on your kitchen chairs. I have a oil cloth version of this La Paloma pattern on the seats of my kitchen chairs. To my eyes, it's a similar pattern to the valance you found.
posted by areaperson at 10:53 AM on November 11, 2015

I have a friend whose kitchen curtains are glass shelves full of colored glasses, pitchers, plates. You can use a double valance for kitchen windows. One above and one below that obsures the bodies of people at the table, but lets them/you see out over. Gauzy material can be installed densely to provide privacy, but let in light.
posted by Oyéah at 11:22 AM on November 11, 2015

That fabric is adorable, and you love it. Go for it! Fuck rules. You can always change it later if you grow bored with that look.

and I do have a degree in interior design :)
posted by wwartorff at 8:54 PM on November 11, 2015

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