10 ideas for cheery 40s or 50s kitchen curtains

warm bisquit bedding pom pom trim

Stephanie asked for suggestions for window treatments for her 50s kitchen, so I dived into the world wide web for a few hours and came up with a shopping list of some new vendors never featured before. They offer fabrics and hardware for suitable cheery, nostalgic window treatments. Above: pom poms from Warm Bisquit Bedding…more of their products below.

Stephanie writes:

stephanies-vintage-kitchenPam — Your recent email newsletter reminded me to ask you for advice about kitchen curtains!  I have a large mcm kitchen with that (apparently) same gray tile others have in their bathrooms — I have it around my kitchen sink, along with little strips of red tile, and original white porcelain sinks.  (That’s why my “new” 1946 stove came with red knobs and handles).  I used the gray in the tile to help me decide on the wall and trim colors.  The wall is almost white, but has a tint of the gray in it.  The trim around the windows coordinates closely with the grey tile color.  Now….I thought I’d be able to find simple tier curtains or “French window” type curtains in a retro style, since I am pretty good at shopping on the web.  But no… I looked at one of the ebay seller’s stashes of barkcloth, but that fabric is mostly huge prints, and it’s just not very kitchenish.  Can you suggest any links for retro kitchen curtains?  Or fabric??  I will make my own, dang it!  Stephanie

First, some fabric possibilities, for those handy with a sewing machine:


This “Red Kitchen Floral” fabric from Warm Bisquit Bedding was my #1 favorite from my hunt, although it *might* be a bit too light for Stephanie’s kitchen… kind of ’20s ’30s flour-sack like. This is not a bad thing, per se, but it might not be forceful enough for the strong reds like we see in Stephanie’s dinette. All the colors in your kitchen ideally must “hold their own.”  That said, I do think the addition of some green and yellow into Stephanie’s red and white kitchen would be great. And I adore this fabric, it’s perfect for a kitchen… there’s a yellow, too.


Warm Bisquit can make up your window treatments for you. Here’s one design for a girl’s bedroom. The mid-century look would have had more pleats…You know I love that pom pom fringe. Remember these fabulous pom pom festooned woven shades?

Link: Warm Bisquit Bedding. Lots of great fabric, here.

bella pamella fabric

Remember Bella Pamella of the cute aprons? They have their first fabric design for sale by the yard now, and it would also look great in a postwar 1940s or 1950s kitchen. Note, in the 40s and early 50s, I think that reds really were deeper and richer, like this… pastels and candy apple reds came later in the 50s.  Bella Pamella Cherries.

il_430xN.58895898One final fabric choice for those who can sew: This discontinued Waverly pattern came from their Kitchen Kitsch line. It is too too bad they continued it, because they had some perfect patterns, I think they were just a little ahead of the retro renovation movement. I used two of their wallpapers in my bathrooms, they are perfect. I found this fabric on etsy – two yards available, enough to make some valences, I think. Etsy link.


Fabric shoppers: Since I’m trying to be super-comprehensive: Try to find out where the biggest fabric store in your area is. Go there – you will be surprised at the choices. In my area, there’s a place called Osgood’s in West Springfield, Mass., which is pretty amazing. I’ve nabbed lots of vintage-style fabrics there. There are big Waverly outlets in several cities. I also think it’s worthwhile to check out Calico Corners.

Now, for ready-made curtains:

country curtains kitchen cafes

Country Curtains has its home base just down the road from me in Stockbridge, Mass. They are a great place to check for classics. I liked their Molly cafe’s. Country Curtains cafe curtains.

jcpenney kitchen curtains

Of course, the first place I looked was J.C. Penney. I liked these – and it looks like the fabric is kind of translucent in a wonderful way. JCPenney tiers.

cafe rods from rejuvenationIf you need cafe rods, I like the look of these from Rejuvenation — I believe they can size the rods exactly to order. If your cafes are mounted on the exterior molding, you’ll be seeing the hardware every day, so make it nice stuff.

Don’t forget: You can always shop vintage — for fabric, ready made curtains and for hardware. I went onto ebay and found a decent selection, although not tons. Etsy sellers carry vintage soft goods like draperies and fabric. I usually see a fair amount of vintage drapery at estate sales (go for the linen closet and attic), at Goodwill, Salvation Army and vintage shops. And I’ve been known to buy window treatments right off the windows. I bought the expansive pinch pleats now hanging in my living room that way. $20, Canadian. I got up on the ladder and took ’em down. If you are so inclined, you can wait it out and the retro decorating gods might send you something special.


Finally….See my page full of Window Treatment ideas here… I’ll add this post to it.

Good luck, Stephanie.


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  1. says

    Wow, all of you are calling it pom-pom — but I was raised to call it ball fringe.

    As for the curtains for Stephanie’s great kitchen, oh, go with cherries, definitely! But they need to be a brighter red than the example, and perhaps with more pattern than just a clump of cherries every ten inches. More! More! :)

    I also like gingham… and have you considered a red tablecloth check? Similar to gingham check, but usually with a small pattern in it, such as roosters or quatrefoils (stylized four-petaled flowers) or cherries.

    See here:




    I have a GREAT red-checkered fabric which serves as my outdoor tablecloth… it has black ants printed on it! I bought it at Walmart in 2006 and again in 2008, in their fabric section. Sort of like this, but with more (and cuter) ants:


  2. toni says

    I thought my prayers had been answered but alas, not today. The two fabrics I thought would be perfect for my late 1940’s kitchen are both gone. It’s hard to find examples in color of what to look for. I did find two pictures in my photo album taken in our kitchen in the early ’50’s but they are in black and white. I presume red, green and gray. I’m not being a true vintage remodeler because I’ve lived with the real thing once already. Now I’m buying the things from my childhood for my kitchen. I am probably going to have to buy tablecloths for curtains. I did find some by the yard toweling here http://www.retro-redheads.com/ that I am leaning heavily toward but it isn’t the right red. Your itsey fabric would have been better.

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