Easy Curtain and Blind Solutions for Bay Windows

Bay windows are any windows that protrude from the home, no matter the size or shape. The classic three-sided bay window that graces homes today became popular in the Victorian era. A bay window has a geometric shape, but when the window is curved, it’s called a bow window.

These windows make a room look larger and let in more light than the average frame, while also adding architectural detail and charm. 

Their unique shape can make it difficult to choose window treatments, however. Do you hang curtains? Use blinds? Before you choose consider these tips.

Bay Window Curtains

Hang bay window curtains as high as possible (leave one-to-two inches of clearance from ceilings or crown molding) and extend the rod across all of the bays. Bay window rods are hinged to fit the shape of the windows, simplifying installation.

To frame the bay, curtains should be pushed back beside the return windows (the windows on the sides). Then, the curtains can be closed across the entire window for light reduction and privacy, but when open they won’t look cluttered.

For windows that don’t require privacy, or which use blinds or shutters instead of curtains, adding a valance at the top can give a finished look. This is especially nice when coordinated with fabric on a window seat or elsewhere in the room.

Blinds for Bay Windows

You can find bay window blinds in the same styles as other window blinds, from cellular shades to Venetian to Roman. Blinds give a bay window a clean appearance while still adding color and texture. They’re easier to install than curtains because you simply fit the blinds to each window.

Window Seats

Bay windows commonly have a built-in window seat, providing a cozy nook for reading or bird watching. Window treatments for these can be a little trickier than the average window, because you don’t want them to get in the way when sitting in the window.

In this case, you could go with blinds, shutters or a valance. If you use curtains, be sure that they’re the right length for the window, stopping an inch or two above the cushions. Then fit the rod so they can be pushed far enough into the returns that they won’t clutter the window.

You can create this look by adding a day bed, settee or sofa beneath a bay window. At Blog Cabin 2011, a bay-window effect was created in the master bedroom by adding narrow bookcases on either side of the window and building a bench in between.

When choosing window treatments for a bay window seat, coordinate fabrics with other fabrics in the room, and find ones that suit the style of the space to achieve the look you want.

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