A bay window adds light and depth to any area of the home. Options are endless and can be confusing to the beginner. Choose built-in or free-standing furnishings, flooring and window treatments that enhance and bring intimacy to the space. If the budget is tight, start simply with your own furnishings, and build on it with window treatments, area rugs and lighting. Begin by analysing where the sun shines and consider your need for privacy; then use these ideas to flush out the design.
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Small groupings of furniture encourage intimacy within larger spaces. The tight shape of bay window areas is perfect for pulling together seating and table options. The furniture should fill the bay but not overwhelm it by spilling outside the area. Gather furnishings you already own by using two side or arm chairs with a small side table in between. A large upholstered club chair, ottoman and a single table to its side forms a quiet reading area. A chaise longue with a cocktail table in front creates a dramatic effect. A built-in banquette which includes a 30-inch high table expands dining space. Add hidden storage under the seats. Upholstered sectional seating is a good option, especially if the configuration is curved and fits nicely within the bay. A round game table on casters with four chairs is very functional, and you can move it into the main space, while the chairs can add additional seating to any area of the home.
The selection of window treatments is determined by many factors, including personal taste, your need for privacy, ventilation, light emission, climate control, communication between the interior and exterior space and the budget allowed. Watch how sunlight travels in through the bay windows. Control glare and excessive heat or cold with wood shutters, blinds or drapery. Roman or roller shades, or Venetian blinds are unobtrusive when pulled up. Add an upholstered box frame or fabric valance above any of these suggestions. For clean lines, use no treatment, but add decorative mouldings around the window frame. Hang stained glass panels inside the bay to add a sparkle of colour, particularly when the sun shines through.
Distinguish the area inside the bay with area rugs. A rug should be large enough so all the furniture sits on it, plus leave ample space to walk surrounding the furniture. Place furnishings on continuous wood or carpeted floors flowing in from other connected space. Install a tile or stone floor in the same way as an area rug to set off the bay window.
Install recessed can lighting inside the top of the bay area's window box. Add brightness and warmth to the seating area by installing cans, track or hanging pendant lighting on the ceiling above. Add standing lamps and a table lamp to a furniture grouping. For reading, standing lamps throw the best light when placed to the side and slightly behind a chair. Select small-scaled lamps to sit on side tables that don't block the view between seated occupants.
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