Simple Roman shades work well on a bay window.
Bay windows are such a large focal point in any room that they can be difficult to decorate. Placing a couch or other large piece of furniture in front of them only negates their wonderful impact. On the other hand, calling too much attention to a bay window can completely overwhelm a room. There is a delicate balance between decorating and overdecorating. Enhancing your bay window properly, however, will add value and beauty to any room in the house.
Bay windows are architecturally stunning. They do not need much window dressing, if any. When there are no privacy issues, it is best to leave bay windows uncovered so they can let light pour into a room. If there are privacy issues, however, you can do a few things. First, consider installing shades. These should be simple rolling or Roman shades. Do not install blinds, as the horizontal lines can be too busy for bay windows. You can also install cafe window panels. Place a pressure bar halfway up each window, and hang a short curtain panel on each one. This will still allow light to flow through the upper portion of the window, but will give you privacy below. Avoid hanging elaborate, swooping valances, large, heavy curtain panels, or any other ornate treatments unless your room is extremely formal.
Furniture placement is important when enhancing a bay window. A sofa, armoire, or any other large furniture item will only block the light entering from the window, and hide the marvellous architectural features of the window. Instead, try placing a small but comfortable chair in one corner of the bay. Add a side round table with a plant, which will thrive in the light provided by the window, and a floor lamp. This will create a cosy reading corner that will not distract from the impact of the window. Finally, a round table always looks great in front of a bay window, especially if it is in the kitchen. Add two chairs and create a breakfast nook.
One of the most popular ways to decorate a bay window is to create a window seat. This can be done with a bench and a cushion and some throw pillows. Window seats can also be built fairly easily out of inexpensive cabinetry (see the link below in the Resources section for instructions). Not only do window seats enhance a bay window, they provide extra seating and storage for the room, as well.