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When it comes to choosing a window dressing for the kitchen, there are lots of options available. Which one is best for you?
Kitchen windows tend to get overlooked as we focus on more exciting design decisions such as choosing appliances and finding the perfect layout. But the right blinds or curtains will provide a focal point and make the space feel even more personal. Use our tips to explore what will work best in your kitchen.
Benefits of blinds
Blinds are easy to maintain (a quick dust and they are as good as new) and come in a vast array of styles, patterns and colours. They’re also available at almost every price point, meaning you’ll find one to suit your pocket.
Top picks for the kitchen … roller blinds
Roller blinds are smart and simple: they cover kitchen windows with a single piece of fabric that can be rolled up on a sunny day, or rolled down to provide shade and privacy. If you use your window sill for storage, you can adjust your blind to create the space you need.
When choosing a fabric blind, avoid cotton, linen and silk, as they can rot, fade or shrink in moist environments. Instead, choose a moisture-resistant, waterproof material as it won’t be affected by mould or gradual decolouration. It’ll also be easy to wipe clean.
If your kitchen basks in lots of bright natural light, then consider a roller blind with blackout lining. This is also a great choice for a open-plan kitchen in which you need to darken the room for TV viewing.
…Venetian and vertical blinds
Venetian blinds comprise horizontal louvres or slats that can be raised, lowered and tilted to let in just the right amount of light. Options for the kitchen include aluminium or wood, although it’s best to go faux if you choose the latter because over time, damp and humid conditions can cause damage to real wood, which is generally less hardwearing. What’s more, faux wood blinds tend to be more affordable.
Vertical blinds are also made up of individual louvres or slats – albeit ones that hang vertically. They’re operated by a chain or wand that tilts the slates for privacy and light control, and a separate cord that opens and closes the blind.
“In lots of homes, the kitchen window is situated above the sink,” says Sarah Quilliam of Hillarys. “If this is the case for you, then splashproof Teflon-coated or PVC vertical blinds are a sensible choice. These are easy to clean and mould resistant too.”
A Roman blind is raised using a cord mechanism and stacks neatly concertina-style at the top of the window. A more unusual choice for the kitchen, Roman blinds are a great way to introduce a splash of colour or a decorative pattern as a touch of glamour to an otherwise pared-back space. As humidity can be an issue in a kitchen, it’s better to use Roman blinds in a dining area and not on windows above sinks.
For a neat and tidy finish, opt for a pleated or concertina blind that clips into a discreet frame that fits around the window pane. There’s little or no gap at the edge of the blinds, which provides privacy and maintain the room’s temperature. To maximise the insulating qualities (and keep heating bills down), choose an energy-efficient fabric. Blackout options are also available.
Because the frame holds the blind against the window, the other benefit of a perfect-fit blind is that it won’t swing out when the window’s opened. What’s more, it’s easily removed for cleaning and child safe as it’s raised and lowered with a tab rather than a free-hanging cord.
Bear in mind that perfect-fit blinds aren’t suitable for all windows. They can also be more expensive than other kinds of blinds as they include a frame as well as the blind itself.
Budgeting for blinds
Ready-made blinds are readily available on the high street and online. Can’t find one to fit your window? You can cut roller blinds to size yourself or find a professional to help.
For a better fit, consider made-to-measure blinds. These generally cost more because a professional will come to your home to take exact measurements. He or she can also fit the blinds for you.
You can cut your costs by choosing an online supplier. You’ll need to take your own measurements and enter them onto the website, but you won’t need to budget for a home visit. To save even more cash, you can also put up the blind yourself. Watch online tutorials if you need guidance on measuring and fitting.
The bespoke option
Glazed gables, asymmetric windows, lantern lights and giant bi-folds make an impressive statement but can be hard to screen. The solution is bespoke blinds tailored to your space and tastes.
The owners of the house below wanted to screen the windows for privacy and prevent heat buildup on sunny days. They also wanted to be able to see the sky. Grand Design Blinds designed, made and installed Duette pleated blinds that pull from the bottom of the window upwards so that no top rail interrupts the view.
If you want to control your blinds remotely from your smartphone or tablet then you’ll need wi-fi-enabled blinds. PowerView from Luxaflex is one option: you can use it to program your ideal combinations of light, privacy and warmth, keeping your home in sync with your schedule. You can even keep burglars at bay by raising and lowering the blinds remotely.
Suitable for both newly constructed and existing homes, PowerView systems can be powered by batteries or a DC power supply plugged into a nearby outlet: no hard wiring through walls or ceilings is needed.
We don’t tend to use curtains in the kitchen because they absorb cooking odours. However, they’re ideal when the kitchen is part of a larger open-plan space with patio doors opening onto the back garden. “Bi-folding doors are one of the best options as they allow a good amount of air to flow in when they are open,” says Emily Clarke of curtains.com.
Be aware that certain curtain fabrics are more prone to odour absorption. “The less breathable the fabric is, the harder it is for cooking smells to pass through, which means it’s easier for cooking smells to stick,” advises Emily. “Natural fibres such as cotton, linen and wool are better at resisting odour, as well as linen mix, cotton mix, and viscose. Fabrics such as polyester, nylon and velvet are more prone to odour absorption.”
If you don’t have an open-plan kitchen but you still want curtains consider café curtains or extra short curtains with tiebacks. “Using curtains in the cooking area can add a homely feel to a spacious open area and give a kitchen a finishing touch,” says Emily. “We recommend fabrics woven with fire-resisting fibres or to have your curtains specially coated.”
Curtains are much easier to clean than blinds, Emily adds: “Stains can be easily washed out or dry cleaned, and dust can be shaken out without hassle.”
If you’re looking for curtains for patio doors, you may not be able to find the right size among the range of more affordable ready-made curtains available. “Floor-to-ceiling sizes are usually required, which are best made bespoke for the perfect fit,” advises Emily.
Don’t be tempted to make a speedy decision when picking out new curtains. “Choosing the wrong style of curtains in a kitchen living area can create an unpleasant focal point that can break up the style flow of a home,” says Emily. “We suggest sticking to neutral shades, simple patterns and lightweight fabric to enhance and brighten up the open-plan space even further.”
Shopping for curtains
If you’re on a budget, off the peg curtains are affordable and widely available online or in-store in a wide range of fabrics, patterns and colours. Ready-mades come in various sizes too, so if you window is the right size, you’re quids in.
If your window isn’t a standard size, seek out a specialist curtain-maker or made-to-measure service. These are offered by many high-street retailers. Alternatively, you can save money by buying online. As before, take your own measurements and submit them to an online supplier.
A word of warning: always get a fabric swatch before you commit. The colour and texture of your chosen fabric may look different in your home from how it appears online.
Once your new curtains arrive, you can save more money by fitting them yourself. Once again, you can get advise from online ‘how to’ guides.