Cafe rod/curtains with roller shades?

joannembJuly 8, 2012

I am at a loss at how to dress my 2 bedroom windows. I need something soft and romantic, but tailored and unfussy. I think long panels will be too much for the space. I would love a simple cafe rod placed 1/3 of the way down from the top of the window---with a simply white sheer curtain hanging from rings. This would be lovely---BUT, my issue is how do I darken the room on the slim chance that I might sleep in one weekend (we have 3 kids and a while the chance is slim....I am hopeful it will happen one day.) :) I just would like the OPTION of darkening the room if I wish.

If I mount a roller shade to the top of the window, will that look silly? Any other ideas? I really do not want a valance (while I know that would solve the problem of hiding the top of the roller shade when it is rolled up.)

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Honeycomb shades would be less visible as compared to roller shades.

But since the room darkening aspect is only theoretical at this point, why not just go with the white sheer curtains for now. You may be tired of that look by the time you need to darken the room.

Or if the room darkening is for very rare occasions, you could make panels of blackout lining to fit the inside area of the windows and hang them up when needed. You could sew loops on the top of each panel and then install small cup hooks inside the frame to hang the blackout panel.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 1:52PM
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Hmm, why would honeycomb shades be less visible? I'm not familiar with them....

My parents come to visit and when they do, they take our room--So for even that reason, I'd likte to have the option for darkness built into the set up in some way.

I'm starting to think if I do an inside mount (and use the honeycomb shades as you said---if they are even less obtrusive) than maybe this could work?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 2:20PM
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Any type of shade should have material at the top, IMO. That's the part of the window which needs to be softened by hiding the upper corners.

I have roller shades with long swags. In the daytime, the shades are up so we can't see them. At night they're down but the swags soften the look.

I'm about ready to replace my roller shades, there are some beautiful one's out there!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 3:58PM
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I have roller shades with sheer curtains. The curtains are on a tension rod and the shades are inside mount. The curtains hide the roller shade without the need for a valance.

You could make the curtains the full length of the window, ending at the sill, if you wanted to cover the roller shade when it is up.

I think graywings is right--the honeycomb shades disappear more when they are all the way up.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 4:05PM
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Ok, Yes---that was actually my plan to begin with: Inside mount the shade (now I'm thinking honeycomb) and still on the inside (there is room in my window) but further out do a sheer linen curtain that fits inside the window and ends at the sill. If I can't get my cafe curtain dream to work that is my back-up plan for sure! :)

I really love the look of the cafe curtain, and think it will complement the vintage feel I'm going for in the room.

I have 2 more options I've been thinking:
Reverse roll fabric shades (might look like a little valance at the top when rolled up?)

Honeycomb or roller shades with a fabric covered valance like in the picture. I don't want anything swagging, draping etc.... I'm wanting streamlined and tailored and want to see the majority of the window molding.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 6:43PM
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Here's a picture of the "reverse roll" fabric roller shade

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 6:52PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

camlan, I'd love to see a picture as I can't picture how what you described works....

joannemb, I know you didn't want a valance, but it does add to the vintage feel of the room. I haven't added the roller shades in our guest room yet as we're early risers and want our overnight guests to have a good night sleep, but get up for breakfast! ;)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:38AM
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I agree, it would be nice to see a picture. I'm not a rule follower when it comes to decorating, but aren't cafe curtains more suited for a kitchen?

My swags are just valances with longer sides is all. On tension rods.

Look at the cafe/swags/valances on

Annie, love the room!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:43AM
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Hmmm.... why would cafe curtains be better suited in a kitchen? That may be where you often see them, but is there a reason why they shouldn't be used in a bedroom?

I adore this outside mount cafe rod from rejuevenation:

I like the idea of cafe curtains because I can still have privacy, but 1.) Still see outside without having to move the curtains back and 2.) Still let light in. It's the best of both worlds and I think they are so charming when they are simple and streamlined (I prefer them on rings so they are not too gathered.)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 3:10PM
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I'm not a fan of valances other than in a kitchen. If you want to use shades, I'd go with long panels. You don't need to move the panels, you would only need to pull down/raise the shades. You could do something sheer and breezy.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 3:16PM
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That is my alternate option---I even have the linen white sheers picked out. There just isn't much space between the bed and the windows (there are 2 windows with the bed right in between) so I'm wondering if the side by the window will get bunched up and look crowded. Tried having the sheers end at the windowsill and I didn't like that....Only like that look (in this room at least) cafe-rod style.... which brings me back to my dilemma.

I know your suggestion is the safe route---I just want to make sure I absolutely can't make the cafe curtain idea work with a shade before I give up and go with that option.

So my 2 ideas are the reverse roll shade, or the fabric "psudo valance" that come with the shades. Or, wonder if I could just add some wood to the top of the window (like where the fabric valance would go---as seen in the picture up top) but paint it white---and maybe it would blend in with the moulding?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 5:38PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Can you pull the sheers one to each side away from the bed so it's less crowded?

Or if you leave the sheers closed, can you do a bottom-up shade?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 8:30AM
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Love the black and white cafe curtains in the picture!

Are you asking if inside mount roller shades and cafe curtains on tension rods will work? If so, then yes.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:00AM
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Yes! That is what I'm asking.... So you think yes? Just have never really seen it and wondering if it will look weird. I plan on having the shades up and out of the way (but worry about the part at the top that is visible looking strange) all the time except at night when I may pull them down to block light in the morning

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Just a thought...There are top down/bottom up cellular shades. Maybe you can set it so when the shade is open, it aligns with your cafe rod. I've never seen one in person, so I don't know if it will work. It also might look odd from the outside.


Here is a link that might be useful: top down-bottom up shade

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:45PM
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I have top down/bottom up shades in my bedroom. I really like the privacy they afford. Mine are not room darkening, but they are available. It would be possible to open it and have only a small (maybe an inch) part showing at the top or hidden behind your cafe curtain at the bottom.

Have you thought about using a roller shade with a decorative bottom--scalloped, etc.? JCP have both the scalloped and the plain for $10-15 each. The TDBU are going to be much more expensive for good quality.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Wow! I had never seen the top down bottom up shades....I just googled it and I think that would solve the problem completely! Thank you for the suggestion!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 11:34AM
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But remember, when you use them as bottom up shades, you are going to see the strings coming up that connect them to the upper rail.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 1:34PM
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If you get Hunter Douglas, they have ones with no strings. I think other companies do also.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 2:57PM
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Sorry! I misunderstood that post graywings. I thought you were talking about the pulls. If you use it with the shade down, you will see the strings, but they are not really that noticeable. If you use them pulled up, you won't have the string situation, but instead will see the pulled up blind. I just checked mine and the pulled up version actually shows more like 4" but is a clean look.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 3:05PM
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