Window Treatments Ideas for Bay Windows

Written by cathy welch
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Window Treatments Ideas for Bay Windows
Bay window recesses may be square or polygonal. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A bay window is a window or series of windows that projects outward from a building's main walls. Reaching to the ground, a bay window creates a recess inside. The purpose of a bay window is to bring more light into the room and allow views that would not be afforded by a conventional window. Bay window treatments either decorate each window separately or treat the whole as a unit.

Unifying Treatment

Hang matching valances on each window or on a custom-made single rod that spans the whole interior of the bay window unit. Use side panel drapes outside the windows closest to the interior wall and one drape between each interior window. Or add matching blinds to each window. Use all three of these treatments together or any two in combination to create a uniform look for the whole unit. A pair of side panel drapes, hung on a rod mounted on the wall just over the outside of the bay window unit, can be closed to conceal the recessed area.

Window Treatments Ideas for Bay Windows
Straight blinds and valances set in each window create clean, geometric lines. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Window Seat or Not

The interior of a bay window unit can be left empty, creating extra square footage, or it may hold a window seat. Any length window treatments--sill-length or floor-length--can be used as long as there is open space. If a window seat is installed, keep the treatments short enough to clear the seat cushion. Create a window cushion out of the same fabric used in your draperies or valances for a coordinated look.

Window Treatments Ideas for Bay Windows
Hang floor-length drapes on the edge of the bay window. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Maximising Light and View

Wooden shutters mounted on the inside frame of each window can cover the entire window or just the bottom half, allowing light in. The shutters can either fold back on themselves to uncover all the glass or left closed with each louvre shutter panel opened vertically to let the light in. Dress your bay windows with sheer curtains to give translucent privacy when closed and maximum light and view when pushed out of the way. For maximum daylight, purchase a free-standing room divider to move to one side of the window. For evening coverage, the divider can be opened and placed in front of the window.

Window Treatments Ideas for Bay Windows
Sheer fabric curtains allow maximum light while providing privacy. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A Little Romance

Create a romantic atmosphere in your dining or bedroom bay window unit by installing a Roman shade, a shade that is raised and lowered in horizontal sections. Shades constructed with relaxed fabric that falls in petal-like sections create a soft finish. Hang lace panels as valances and cafe curtains at each window's halfway point to allow light in and create a dappled atmosphere inside. Pair either of these two looks with voluptuous, raw silk drapery panels that hang on the wall inside the room, framing the bay window unit. For a different romantic touch, hang a scarf-like length of fabric, measuring the width of the window unit and twice the height, from decorative rings hung at each upper corner of the recess' edge.

Window Treatments Ideas for Bay Windows
Sheers gathered together with silk tassels create a romantic look. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

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