Styles of bay windows

Written by marjorie gilbert
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Styles of bay windows
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A bay window is an architectural detail that can be incorporated into an existing or new construction. These windows extend out from the wall of the building, creating an alcove inside the room. Bay windows first appeared during the Perpendicular era in England, which lasted from the 1300s to the 1500s. These windows generally extend outward from the building's first floor and reach to the ground. The bay window can protrude from the building in three ways: in a polygonal, semicircular or rectangular fashion. Within these three shapes, there are even more styles of bay windows, which allow many variations from which to choose when you design your home or office building.

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Bow Window

This is a variation on the bay window. It is curved in an elliptical fashion as it extends from the building, unlike the bay window, which is angular. Another difference between the bay window and bow window is that bow windows do not reach the ground, and end above the top of the foundation. Bow windows first became popular in the Gothic era.


A carrol is a small bay window that is angular and does not extend to the ground. The carrol is an intimate space that can be used as a reading area or even as a closet. The carrol is an older architectural feature that was no longer used after the mid-1600s.

Oriel Window

The oriel window is another variation of the bay window. It protrudes from the building but does not extend to the ground. The oriel window has more than one variation and can be rectangular, semi-octagonal or even semi-hexagonal. Within each side there can be more than one bay which is created by transoms as well as mullions. Oriel windows have decorative corbels or brackets which support them.

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