You might think bay windows were named for the San Francisco bay but they've been around a lot longer. Their first use was as highly ornamented additions to buildings during the baroque era. They provided extra living space indoors in contrast to a balcony with outdoor space. They were a popular feature in Victorian architecture and from the United Kingdom, they migrated across the ocean to the US, Canada and Australia.
What are bay windows?
Any window that protrudes from a building, regardless of height. Most have three windows, with an inside angle that's 90, 135 and 150. Some are triangular with only two window panels while bow windows typically have four or five windows. Bay windows that are supported by brackets, corbels or something similar have a special name, oriel windows.
Challenges & Fun with Bay Windows
Probably the biggest challenge homeowners find with bay windows is where to place window treatments. It's certainly easy enough to add shades or blinds that only go as far as the window sill. But most curtains extend lower and many go down to the floor. You need more creativity when you've got a window seat below the bay window, like the curtains above which sit in front of the window.
We're not decorating experts so here are resources we found to help you find your favorite window curtains for these special windows:
- HGTV's article, 6 Window Treatment Ideas for Bay Windows.
- Visit Pinterest for hundreds of ideas for your bay window.
- Bay Window Curtains offers on HomeEdit.com.
Where Are Bay Windows Typically Found?
- Bay windows are used in rooms with a great view – living rooms, family rooms and kitchens.
- Smaller rooms can feel larger with a bay window – small bedrooms, breakfast nooks or reading areas.
- Where there's space for extra storage and seating – like kitchens and stairs or hallways.