Window Treatments for Bay Windows

Window treatments for bay windows can be challenging because the window isn't on a flat surface as your typical windows are. But that challenge is what makes the result special if you use imagination. Take any number of window coverings and combine them for an effective window treatment. Check out some of these ideas.

Bay windows can be a real decorating dilemma. Here are a few affordable, easy, and elegant window treatments for bay windows.

A bay window is typically made up of three or more straight windows set at slight angles to each other to make a curved effect. It’s usually best to treat each window separately rather than try for a curved treatment that spans the entire bay window.

Roman shades are one of the best window treatments for bay windows. Instead of covering up the bay window's multi-pane lines, the Roman shade treatment emphasizes this linear quality. Choosing Roman shades that are permanently pleated provides a horizontal element to offset the bay windows' strong vertical lines. Sheer Roman shades with a soft, swirling pattern are often used to soften the vertical nature of the bay windows. When sheer Roman shades are raised, their fabric tends to drape into soft, loose folds.

Valances and cornices make good window treatments for bay windows. A valance is a short (12-18 inch) drapery that runs across the top of a window. A cornice is a decorative box frame, usually made of wood, that is fastened directly to a wall at the top of a window treatment, typically to hide hardware. Cornices are often upholstered or covered with other decorative effects. These window treatments for bay windows can make a dramatic emphasis to a bay window's soaring height.

The lower parts of bay windows should be screened for privacy. Cafe curtains are often used for this purpose. Cafe curtains originated in cafes; they covered the lower portions of windows to give diners privacy. These curtains are meant to be closed all the time, so they are often fastened to a wooden board at the top or bottom. When they are so fastened, these cafe curtains are called shirred curtains.

Sheer curtains are often used in window treatments for bay windows. These light, airy window treatments allow light to filter into a room while providing a certain amount of privacy. Sheer curtains can be white with fairy-like patterns, or delicately colored like summer dresses. Either way, they cast a romantic light over a room. Often, sheer curtains are paired with privacy-enhancing vertical blinds or accordion shades.

Draw draperies are sometimes used in window treatments for bay windows. They boldly set off each window panel from the next, and allow control over the light coming through each individual window panel. Combined with coordinated valances and swags, draw draperies can really make a bay window the focal point of a room.

Some people prefer to treat all the window panels as a single window when installing window treatments for bay windows. One way to do this is to install a curved curtain rod or track on which to hang a single set of draperies. It’s best to have help or a professional installer if you choose this route, as bending curtain rod is not an easy task.

Window treatments for bay windows can dramatize the unusual design or make a bay window blend more with the rest of a room. It all depends on how you decorate.