Hiding Clutter With Curtains

I love the look of open shelving for storage, especially when it’s outfitted with baskets or other pretty storage bins.  But sometimes open shelves are really difficult to keep looking good, particularly when many family members are accessing them.  Such was the case in my kitchen where I have a small desk area with three open shelves above it.  This is where our pc and all the peripherals are housed, along with my inbox, craft and office supplies, camera equipment, cell phone chargers and more.  It is a hardworking space that gets used by my girls to do school research and play games, by my little guy to watch Barney on Youtube, and by my husband and me to do email, pay bills, etc.

Parenthetically, I really appreciate having the computer in my kitchen – it’s easy for me to pop back and forth while cooking  and it enables me to supervise my children’s computer use.

Bottom line, the two shelves above the desk area always looked messy.  Not wanting to invest the time or money to make the clutter look good, I considered options for covering up the shelves. Initially, I thought about using some old shutters I garbage picked. But I decided against the shutter idea because it would require building a face frame from which to hang the shutters and  I didn’t want to make any permanent changes to this area … I’m still dreaming of a large gleaming stainless steel refrigerator in this space some day!

Ultimately, I decided to sew up a simple curtain and hang it off of a tension rod using clip on rings   I kept it simple (and cheap) by using burlap and trimming the edge with some jute upholstery webbing I had on hand.  The small clip on rings came from Walmart.

I simply measured the width and height of the space and cut my fabric to fit plus a little extra for hemming three sides.  The top of the curtain is the selvage (the finished edge of the fabric) so I didn’t need to hem that edge. If I had wanted a fuller curtain, I would cut the fabric 2x the width of the space.  But in this instance I was going for a more tailored look.  

So here’s my kitchen work space with the curtain in place. Voila – no more visible clutter!

And here’s a peak at what’s behind the curtain:

The curtain has worked out well …  I like the cafe rings because the curtain slides out of the way easily.  I’m also glad I didn’t do a fuller curtain as it would have covered up too much of the  shelf when pushed to the side.

Here are a few more photos of curtain/skirt applications for hiding clutter that I like …

Love the linen fabric used for the skirted work surface from Holly Mathis Interiors

source: hollymathisinteriors.com

Dining room buffet with skirted bottom

source: Better Homes and Gardens

 Skirted desk

source: Pinterest

 This laundry room application looks great with the curtain open or closed!

source: Jenny Washburn via Pinterest

 Have a blessed day!



  1. I am planning a curtain for my living room where I can hide toy baskets and general kids clutter. I’ve never seen these clip on curtain rings. I’m in the UK, but suspect they may revolutionise screening in a pretty way. Thanks for the idea! 🙂

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