The Best Window Treatments for Bay Windows

A bay window is an arrangement of three windows installed next to each in a wall formation that is set back from the room. Bay windows may feature a large central window with two smaller windows on either side. Bay windows are popular because they add extra square footage to rooms, but they do present some challenges for homeowners who want to install new window coverings. Because bay windows feature three windows placed closely together, it's important to consider the window treatments, especially the depth of a product's headrail, as this can lead to fit or function issues.

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Window treatments for bay windows

Bay windows are common in prominent spaces in residences, such as dining rooms, living rooms or offices, and are often situated at the front of the house. Many homeowners prefer rich, luxurious window treatments that capture their style and create a standout focal point in the room.

However, there are some limitations to keep in mind. If you consider these factors early in the decorating process, they can guide your design choices instead of imposing inconvenient restrictions.

Lowered ceilings

Many homes have lowered ceilings in front of bay windows because the exterior walls extend beyond the main wall of the house where the bay windows are. If the top of the windows brushes this ceiling, there's little room for curtain rods and ornate hardware.

Side-by-side windows

Some bay windows have several inches between each section, allowing ample space for curtain stack back. However, it's common to have little to no space between the window frames, leaving you to choose between covering a lot of the window with curtains or choosing a different product.

Window seats

If your home has a window seat constructed below the bay window or even a simple shelf for decor or storage, this can limit what window finishes you choose. Ornate or bulky treatments may crowd the space.

Sun exposure

Southern-facing Bay windows allow lots of natural light into your home from morning to dusk, but they also allow in plenty of heat. Opt for window treatments that include insulation, UV-blocking materials or shady options.

Now that you know what to keep in mind as you browse, you can see how some of the most popular options will fit in your own bay window. Consider these top styles:

Roman shades

Roman shades are decorative window treatments that fit snugly within each window frame. They come in a variety of styles ranging from plain and flat-fold styles to European style, with a soft curve at the bottom, and soft-fold style with overlapping loops of fabric.

You can also choose virtually any fabric for Roman shades, making them a versatile, stylish option that won't clutter the space or require bulky hardware.

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Shutters

Custom-fit shutters, especially Plantation shutters, are an excellent long-term investment for any home. They have a timeless, classic look that fits any decor and retains a chic look over the years, and they can be made from wood or composite materials that last through constant sun exposure.

Shutters also fit snugly against bay windows so you can have a dining room table, a reading nook or any other arrangement right near the windows. They can also help deflect heat and sunlight, so the room stays cool.

Blinds and light curtains

Because bay windows are angled and close together, bulky, thick materials may not fit. But light, airy fabrics that can drape and fold in a small space are an excellent way to add curtains to the space. Ideally you could use blinds on the windows and use panels as accents on the outer edge of the bay window opening.

Tip for decorating nooks

If your bay windows feature a dropped ceiling, you can circumvent complications altogether by installing window treatments in front of the entire nook.

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Install an extra-long curtain rod across the space, and then you can choose anything from heavy drapes to fun paneled curtains.

Other features you'll love in bay window treatments

When you're browsing for new styles for your window treatments, also consider these options to add extra ROI to your final choice:

Automated or remote-controlled features

Opt for smart blinds and shades that you can raise or lower using an app on your phone, with a remote control or at pre-set times. Then you can wake up to a bright morning or make sure your eco-friendly curtains are closed at the hottest part of the day.

Cooling fabrics or insulated options

Cellular shades with open cells, blackout curtains and drapes with insulated lining can reduce energy consumption and keep your home warm or cool throughout the seasons. Today's window treatment technologies give you environment-friendly options in virtually every style.

How to hang curtains from bay windows

One of the main considerations that will affect the final look of your bay windows is how you decide to hang your curtains. Two of the most popular options are:

  1. Angled curtain rods (or three separate curtain rods) that can precisely fit the walls holding each section of windows. These curtain rods are often small, have minimal end caps and require elbow brackets.
  2. A long curtain rod that stretches across the entire bay-window nook.

At Budget Blinds, we have a large selection of drapes, shades, blinds and more that work well with any bay window style. We also provide custom window shutters for a classic look that makes your windows stand out. Browse our selection of window treatments online or schedule a consultation to start creating a custom window treatment you'll love.