Window Treatment Solutions for a Bay Window

Written by mary simpson
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Window Treatment Solutions for a Bay Window
This unusual five-sided bay window is a great challenge to dress because of the angles. (bay windows image by Aaron Kohr from

Symbolic of Victorian architecture, bay windows also appear in many newer homes. Generally, they comprise three windows projecting outward in a half hexagonal shape. Finding the right window treatment is complicated by the multiple angles. A bay window gives the impression of a larger room, expands the view and draws in more natural light than a conventional window. Because it is a focal point, the window treatment should look attractive from both the inside and outside. Glare from the sun and lack of privacy may be problems.


Using pattern and colour in draperies and/or valances to cover all the window panels adds a dramatic splash to the room. The hardware chosen is important to the success of the window treatment, and often will need to be custom-made to fit the dimensions of the bay window. Two options are a curved track following the window's contours or a set of hinged rods linked together by corner connectors. Double runners around the window allow you to layer textures, such as pairing a plain runner in a solid colour with a lacy layer on top. For a bay window in a dining area, another idea is to combine a valance above with shirred cafe curtains on the lower parts of the window.


For a classic, clean-lined look, Roman shades are a good choice. This window treatment complements the linear characteristics of a bay window, and if pleated shades are installed, they will offer horizontal balance to the window panels' vertical quality. Roman shades are versatile enough to blend in with most room decor styles. When rolled up, the shades allow for full views outside, but when left down, they provide light control and ensure privacy. For a romantic effect, billowing balloon shades soften the window's angles. Care must be taken in the installation of any type of shade, so the shades that meet in the corners are not rubbing against each other.


Like shades, the same blind mounted on each of the three window panels is a popular solution to the bay window dressing dilemma. Vertical blinds that reach to the floor require special tracks to cover the whole bay window without allowing gaps to form in the corners. Often, blinds are used in conjunction with draperies for maximum energy efficiency in the room. Wood blinds offer superior light control and may bring warmth to the bay window area. In addition, wood blinds with wide slats are a less-expensive alternative to shutters.


Although one of the priciest choices of window treatments, plantation shutters bestow an upscale look to the home. They are especially suitable if the bay window features decorative mouldings or casements. This option provides perhaps the best light filtering and privacy protection, when the shutters are closed. As a bonus, the installation of shutters gives an impression of richness to the room's decor.

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