Ways to dress a bay window with curtains

Updated February 21, 2017

Bay windows are a group of at least three windows. They allow a lot of light into the room, but bay windows can be a little difficult to decorate. Curtains provide some privacy; however, finding curtains that work in bay windows is not so easy. Dressing a bay window takes a little imagination and a little thought.


Hang a valance, which is a type of curtain that hangs down the window about half way. Buy or make separate valances for each section of the bay window. Use short spring tension rods to hang each valance.

Valances can be straight and fitted to the window or gathered creating a full looking curtain. Hang balloon valances, which add dimension to the windows and the room. Get creative and make scalloped valances, which add texture and elegance to the room. Make a separate curtain for each window section of the bay window for any type of valance.

Traditional Curtains

Make curtains specifically tailored for your bay window. Make traditional style curtains for each section of window. Buy or sew two panels for each window. Add tiebacks to keep the curtains open to allow the sunlight to come in. Let the curtains down whenever you want more privacy.

Purchase curtains to fit the height of the window. Buy two of these, one for either side of the bay window. Purchase a valance or other short curtain to match to hang in the middle section. This gives the illusion of having one whole window in the room instead of three or four separate sections of bay window.


Some bay windows are perfect for swags. Buy plain, inexpensive curtain rods for each section of the window. Purchase several yards of a light, flowing fabric. Find the middle of the length of fabric and start with the middle section of the bay window. Drape the fabric around the curtain rod. Allow loops of fabric to hang down. Experiment a little bit until you like the way it looks. Repeat this process with the other sections of the window and the remaining lengths of fabric.

Roman Shades

Roman shades are perfect for bay windows. Although technically a shade, some people consider them to be curtains because they are made from a softer fabric than standard shades. Make a Roman shade for each section of the window. Hang them on individual curtain rods. Raise and lower the Roman shades for light and privacy.

Cafe Curtains

Cafe curtains are actually two pieces for each window. The first piece hangs halfway down the top half of the window. The second piece covers the lower half completely. You can split the lower curtain in half vertically to allow you to open the curtains if desired.

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