Ideas for dressing bay windows

Updated February 21, 2017

Bay windows add depth to a room and are often the focal point of the room. When it comes to choosing treatments for bay windows, finding curtains that provide privacy without blocking the view can be challenging. As you plan a window treatment, look for curtains that highlight the unusual architectural shape of the bay windows to add dimension to your room.


To soften the edges of very large bay windows and add a romantic touch to the room, use a valance. Start with a very long swathe of sheer, soft material, and drape it over the curtain rod; leave one loop for each pane of the bay window. Adjust the loops to suit the design of a room: in a formal room, you might use a tiered look with the largest loop in the middle. In a contemporary room, you might use very shallow loops that are designed to recede into the design rather than stand out. Valances can be paired with simple blinds to provide privacy.

Floor-Sweeping Sheers

Often bay windows provide a dramatic view. To provide covering without impeding your line of sight, dress your bay windows with floor-sweeping sheer curtains. Depending on the arrangement of the windows, you might place two narrow panels per section or one per pane. Look for curtains that match the wall colour; when they are not in use, they can be pushed aside to let in light. By allowing the curtains to sweep the floor, you can soften the dramatic edges of a bay window.

Floor to Ceiling

If you want to make your bay windows the focal point of the room, use floor-to-ceiling curtains. This type of curtain works particularly well when you have space between the individual window panes for the curtains to hang when not in use. Because of the height, the curtains will make the room seem taller, and, even when they are closed, they will provide a dramatic design statement.

Fabric Shades

One of the most appealing aspects of bay windows is their unusual shape. To emphasise the shape and depth of the window, use fabric shades. Because the side shades will be on an angle, they will bring out the depth of each pane. Fabric shades are an easy place to add pattern and colour in an elegant way: choose shades that have contrasting patterns or fabrics to make them stand out. If you want a dramatic look, choose gathered fabric shades with ribbon pull accents.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.