Bay and Bow Windows: Ideas and Window Treatments

Give the most interesting window in your house the window treatment it deserves.

What are Bay and Bow Windows?

Bay and bow windows are popular architectural features that can enhance the look of any room. A bay window is a set of three windows that protrude outward from a home's exterior wall, creating a cozy alcove. The middle window is usually fixed, while the two side windows are often operable. Bow windows are similar but have four or more windows that create a more gradual curve.

Bay Window
A bay window in a spacious bedroom is covered with white roman shades.
Bow Window
A large bow window in a spacious living room is covered with solar shades.

Window Treatments for Bay and Bow Windows

Bay and bow windows can be challenging to cover with blinds and shades, but the right window treatment can enhance their beauty and functionality. Some popular options for bay and bow windows include:

  • Blinds
    Blinds are a versatile and practical option for bay and bow windows. They come in a variety of materials, including wood blinds, faux wood blinds, aluminum blinds, and vertical blinds. Blinds can be mounted inside or outside the window frame, and they can be angled to accommodate the curves of a bow window.
  • Curtains
    Curtains are a classic option for bay windows, adding softness and texture to the room. They can be mounted on a track or rod, and the fabric can be customized to match your decor.
  • Shutters
    Shutters are a stylish and durable option for bay and bow windows. They can be made of wood or vinyl and can be mounted inside or outside the window frame. Shutters can also be angled to accommodate the curves of a bow window.
  • Shades
    Shades are a popular option for bay windows because they provide privacy while still allowing natural light to filter through. Cellular shades and roller shades are particularly well-suited to bay and bow windows because they can be customized to fit the curves of the window.

Measuring and Installing Window Treatments for Bay and Bow Windows

Bay and bow windows require careful measuring and installation to ensure a proper fit. If you're not confident in your measuring skills, it's best to seek the help of a professional. Blinds To Go has a network of professional measure technicians that work seamlessly with our installers. Take out the guess work and have one of our trained professionals measure for you even if you plan to instal your new window treatments yourself. Whether you are collecting rough measurements for a quote or need exact measurements, here are some tips to keep in mind when measuring and installing window treatments for bay and bow windows:

  • Measure the depth of the window sills, the width of the frames of the middle panels, and the angles of the windows.
  • Consider any obstructions, such as brackets, when measuring and installing your window treatments.
  • Take a photograph of the window to help you visualize the space and any potential mounting obstacles.
  • Use a level to ensure that your window treatments are installed straight and even.

For expert guidance and professional measure and installation services, visit your nearest Blinds To Go showroom!


White roller shades provide full privacy for a modern basement living room.

Bay Windows vs. Bow Windows

While bay and bow windows are similar in style, there are a few key differences to keep in mind. Bay windows have three windows and are typically more angular, while bow windows have four or more windows and are more rounded. Keep in mind that if the windows meet at an angle that is acute then you may not have room to accommodate side-by-side window treatments with larger headrails or valances, more often this is the case with bay windows more so than with bow windows.

Bay and Bow Window Ideas

Bay windows are a great place to create a cozy nook or focal point in your home. Here are some bay window ideas to inspire your decor:

  • Add a window seat with cushions and pillows for a cozy reading nook.
  • Use your bay window as a dining area by adding a table and chairs.
  • Create a window garden with potted plants.
  • Install built-in shelving or cabinetry to create additional storage space and display areas.
  • Use your bay window as a home office by placing a desk and chair in the space.
  • Hang curtains or drapes in a bold pattern or color to make a big statement in a relatively small area.

Whatever your style, make the most of your bay window by creating a beautiful and functional space.

A woman smiles as she adjusts the slats of the indoor shutters on a large bay window.

Blinds for Bay and Bow Windows

When it comes to covering bay windows with blinds, it's important to choose a style that can accommodate the angles of the window. Some popular options for blinds in bay windows include cellular shades, faux wood blinds, and aluminum blinds. These blinds can be cut to fit the exact size of the window frame and can be angled to accommodate the curves of a bow window. Each window treatment requires a slightly different minimum depth requirement to mount inside the window frame. If your window has plenty of depth in the individual frames then you will be able to put just about any window treatment on those windows. However, if the window frames are shallow you will be forced to "outside mount" your window treatments and that coupled with how close the individual windows are to each other may limit your options. It sounds complicated, but don't fret because we have design consultants in our stores and available by phone to answer the most complicated questions. Bringing pictures of your windows from several different angles into a showroom is highly recommended. We also have a Shop-At-Home service that will bring the design consultant to your home for live advice on tricky windows.

In conclusion, bay and bow windows are beautiful and functional features that can enhance the look of any room. With the right window treatments, you can make the most of your bay or bow window and create a cozy, inviting space. Whether you choose blinds, curtains, or another type of window treatment, be sure to measure carefully and consider the angles of the window to ensure a proper fit.

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