Finding the right window treatments for your bay windows can be a challenge. But a well-selected set of blinds, shades, or shutters can turn a bay window into one of the most attractive features in your home.
Bay windows are an intriguing design element. They help to increase the connection between the interior of a home and the outside. They also add a sense of additional space. And bay windows fulfill a practical need by bringing abundant light into the room.
A set of bay windows should be celebrated. And that means clothing them with the right window treatments to suit your home and décor.
Bay windows present the designer with a unique issue: angles. The curve of the window set produces angles. Each window in the set requires a separate shade, blind, or shutter, and those different angles pose a challenge. That’s because the window treatments installed on each of the separate windows can potentially interfere with neighboring window treatments if you don’t properly account for those angles and the dimensions of the window treatments you are using. Get any of these factors wrong and you have window treatments that interfere with each other’s operation.
However, if measured and installed properly, the individual windows in a bay window set can combine to create a pleasing harmony that is hard to match with flat windows. There are many ways to achieve this harmony.
The simplest, most straightforward solution for nearly any window is a roller shade. They are especially useful for bay windows because of their simple operation and, if properly measured and installed, they will not interfere with neighboring shades. Plus, the roller shades come in a variety of beautiful fabrics and a range of light control levels, from sheer to blackout fabrics. If you like the look of a roller shade, you’re going to enjoy seeing a set of them on your bay window.
This traditional shade design has many of the same advantages of the roller shade, including being available in a huge variety of wonderful fabrics. The simple but elegant way a Roman shade folds up on itself as it is raised and lowered makes this a great solution for rooms where subtlety and picturesque detail are important. Roman shades also offer linings that increase their light control as well as insulative properties—two more reasons they are an excellent choice for your bay windows.
Few window treatments are as delicately beautiful as a sheer shade. They are essentially blinds made entirely of fabric, and they operate in much the same way. If you want to soften the light through your bay window and add a touch of grace to the ambiance, you cannot go wrong with a sheer shade. And because you can open and close them—like blinds—without pulling them all the way up or down means that their bottom rails will stay put most of the time. That means there will not be interference between shades. For beauty and delicate light control, you can’t beat sheer shades.
The most dramatic way to dress a bay window is with traditional drapery. A bay window hung with custom-made drapes can be breathtaking. The gentle curve of the drapery is pleasing to the eye and becomes a highlight of the room’s décor. For traditional luxury, you should consider drapery for your bay window.
Made with wood, bamboo, jute, natural grasses, or rattan, natural shades are works of art. Measured and installed properly, they impart a sense of sturdiness and provide visual interest. Natural shades seem to fit perfectly with bay windows, and the wide sweep of warm to neutral color you gain from a bay window hung with natural shades can produce breathtaking results.
When people think of window treatments for bay windows, they often think of wood blinds. And for good reason. These traditional, easy-to-use window treatments fit the bill: the louvres are easily opened, closed, and adjusted. And the wood construction and the appearance of the natural grain feel well suited to a bay window. Graber offers a variety of wood and finishes—including paints—making it easy to create wood blinds that perfectly suit the décor and household’s needs. For a dependable, satisfying solution for your bay window, wood blinds do the job.
Shutters are more than just window treatments—once installed, they truly become part of the home. A set of shutters is the sturdiest treatment for your bay windows. And, like wood blinds, shutters can be finished in a variety of ways. There are naturally-finished shutters that will increase the formality of a room and convey luxury and tradition. But in brighter colors, shutters can impart a casual feel—even an airiness. The potential downside of shutters is that you get less view to the outside when compared to other window treatments. But that might be a plus in some situations.
These light, elegant, easy-to-operate shades offer the best insulation of all the potential window treatments for bay windows. They are also available in a bottom up/top down configuration that allows you to take advantage of available sunlight while still maintaining a level of privacy. Ask your Graber Design Expert if they are right for your bay window.
Window Treatment Accessories
In situations where the bay window is to be the dominant feature of a room, there are several ways to accentuate that window set.
One way to dress up your bay window is by using valances—the fabric or solid piece that covers the headrail or top of the window treatment. Your Graber Design Expert can give you the valance options that are available for blinds, shades, and drapery. Valances serve the purpose of covering up the mechanical parts of your window treatment and blocking light that might come through the top of the shade or set of blinds. But they can do much more than that. Graber offers a variety of custom valances that can add additional visual interest and depth to the window treatments you choose for your bay window.
Cornices are another way to dress up a window. Like a valance, they are placed at the top of the window treatment, but they’re made of wood. A custom-made cornice makes a bold statement—and often works quite well with a bay window. Ask your Graber Design Expert if a cornice might work for your situation.
Layered Window Treatments
A bay window is an opportunity to play with patterns and textures. A great way to do this is by combining shades, blinds, or shutters with traditional drapery. For example, a roller shade in a bold pattern would pair nicely with a drapery in a solid color. The horizontal lines of wood blinds are complemented by the long vertical lines of drapes. Use the bay window as a place to make a design statement.
Bay Window FAQs
How do I insulate my bay windows against the cold and heat?
All the window treatments we talked about above will help insulate against cold and heat. But the best option for those looking to maximize their energy efficiency is cellular shades. Traditional drapery also does a great job protecting against heat and cold. Paired with shades and blinds, drapery can be an excellent defense against the elements.
How can I maximize my view to the outside?
Roller shades are easy to operate. When open, you have clear views to the outside. Traditional drapery can also be fully opened and closed for unobstructed views. Wood blinds and sheer shades are also easy to open and close and give a good view. Shutters provide the least clear view to the outside. Cellular shades in a bottom up/top down configuration have the advantage of being adjusted for just the right combination of view and privacy.
What kind of blinds do I use for a bay window?
The best blinds for bay windows are those with narrow top and bottom rails. That’s because the angles involved in a bay window can cause blinds with wide bottom rails to interfere with one another. Wood blinds are an ideal option for many bay windows. Your Graber Design Expert has the know-how to pick the right blinds for your bay window.
How do I dress up a bay window?
A bay window is your opportunity to show off your style. A drapery in a remarkable fabric or a natural shade can create great visual interest. Shutters or wood blinds in a bold color can really dress up a bay window. And a set of roller shades in a playful color or pattern can make a big statement.
Can you have blinds and curtains in a bay window?
Yes! Layering blinds and shades with traditional drapery can create fascinating textures and visual rhythms. Adding drapery to blinds and shades also adds insulation—something that is important with bay windows.
Can I just put one big window treatment on my bay window?
Because of the curved shape of a bay window, a separate shade, blind, or shutter goes on each separate window in the set of windows that make up the full bay window. By doing so, you take advantage of the shape and depth of the bay.
Your Graber Design Expert will be able to quickly size up the potential issues with your bay windows and come up with straightforward solutions. Find an expert and start celebrating your bay windows—potentially the most interesting feature in your home.