BAY WINDOW CURTAINS: TOP IDEAS & TIPS
Bay windows are stunning architectural gems that add character to the facade of the house, and occasion for allure in its interior. Curtains have long been the most favored dressing for these beauties, truly befitting for their grandeur and light-capturing capacity. If you’re trying to dress this spot, don’t be intimidated by the large panes and unique angles. Instead, use this blog from our drapery experts to get all the handy tips you need to dress your home with the right set of bay window curtains.
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Terrific Curtains for a Terrific Spot: Top Ideas for Bay Windows
Bay windows are a gorgeous focal point in any room. But as much as they are a delight to the eye, they are a challenge to the designer. They have continuous windows, sometimes with gaps, at awkward angles posing difficulty to find suitable hardware and curtains. If there’s inbuilt seating or a radiator underneath, one also stops to think whether curtains are even an option.
All these confusions are valid but not without fitting solutions. So, read on to be enlightened with our bay window curtain ideas and styling tips! No matter what hurdles you face in shopping for your bay window curtains, you’ll find them addressed at length here.
First, let’s see the various, popular methods of dressing bay windows with curtains.
Top Styles of Bay Window Curtains
When a space is architecturally so blessed, the way it is decorated must befit its grandeur and shapeliness. Home stylists generally recommend methods that serve to highlight the unique shape of the bay window, its height, angular arrangement, and molded trims if any.
The following are the few different looks that homeowners explore depending on their visual and budgetary priorities:
TWO STATIONARY CURTAIN PANELS
Hang two stationary curtain panels to only visually frame the whole unit, without the curtains offering full coverage. Curtains serve as a purely decorative feature and are not expected to be operational. While this option standalone offers no coverage – thereby not meeting privacy or light control needs – it serves a visual need on budget – and puts the spotlight on the entire bay window set as a single architectural feature. The hardware can run over the entire window, though many clients choose to only mount short poles on two sides since the drapes are not expected to be pulled to cover the window in this option. This option can also be paired with roman shades and blinds on individual windows that serve as the functional layer with the non-functional drapes.
FULL COVERAGE CURTAINS
Hang two or multiple panels of curtains with enough width to offer full coverage, and mount angled hardware. With full coverage, the drapery ensures privacy and light control. This option needs specialty hardware that bends at corners, allowing drapes to be drawn with unhindered movement.
COVER THE WALL SPACE
For bay window units that have wall space between each window, hang curtain panels covering the space between the windows. Depending on whether panels are envisioned to be fully functional or as stationary panels for aesthetic purposes only, clients choose different types of hardware. With panels covering the wall dividers, this arrangement generates an illusion of a continuous window without breaks.
SINGLE STRAIGHT POLE
Instead of angled hardware, mount one straight pole and hang fully functional, full coverage drapes at the front. In this set-up, the entire bay window unit gets hidden behind when the curtains are drawn. But when opened, the grandeur beyond is a surprise element.
So, how do you select the right option of curtains for your bay windows? Here’s how:
- Consider factors such as your budget, aesthetic and functional priorities, location of windows and if there is any furniture underneath.
- Consider also whether there are gaps between the windows and whether you’d be interested to show them off as they are. Or are your windows one continuous set meeting at the frames?
- Consider whether you’d like one pair of drapes or multiple panels. Bear in mind that one sweeping arrangement can help the bay windows look like a single unit whereas individual curtains can help to highlight the angles and shapes of the bay window. This decision will largely guide the type of hardware to be installed.
Once you’ve thought over the key factors above, style your bay window curtains with the help of these wonderful tips:
Select the Correct Hardware
The first challenge when dressing bay windows is selecting the proper hardware to hang your curtains. Your options would typically be either poles or tracks.
If you want your curtains to hang from the ceiling, tracks are better. Usually colored in white or black, tracks can blend into the ceiling unnoticeably. They forge a seamless flow from the highest point of the bay window and operate smoothly. However, not all styles of curtains can be hung on tracks.
The second option is good old drapery poles. There are three options to choose from that work well with bay windows:
- Bay window curtain poles: Specifically designed for bay windows, this selection features angled rods that are connected by flexible elbows. This allows you to mount the joined rods at the proper angles above each window pane. This type of pole is optimal for the architecture of bay windows as it truly conforms to the shape of the windows.
- Straight poles: Another option is to mount individual straight curtain rods over each section of your bay window, or one straight pole on the front.
- Tension rods: Mount tension rods within the frame of each window. These rods provide a more minimalistic look but may not be as sturdy and weight bearing as standard poles typically are.
Of note, if you would like to layer a sheer and non-sheer set of drapes over your bay window, you’d need double poles or tracks to be able to operate both layers seamlessly and simultaneously.
Judge the Length Correctly
The purpose of your drapery is best fulfilled when you give some precious thought to the details, and oh – length is definitely part of that. Full-scaled, ceiling-to-floor drapes or even decorative puddled drapes, meet the aesthetic potential of bay windows especially well, and do more than just serve as instruments of light control and privacy. These tall graceful furnishings translate into sheer opulence and also help to elongate the space. As the eyes are drawn upward, the ceiling starts to look higher than it really is.
But if you have inbuilt fixtures – a window bench seat or a radiator for example – underneath your bay window, you’ll need sill-length curtains. This kind of treatment looks casual and especially befitting for a cozy dining nook or a lovely mini-lounge.
If your bay window is located in a formally arranged area such as a living room or dining room, we suggest you go for decorative curtains on the sides and opt for other sill-length treatments such as roman shades for the individual windows.
READ MORE: HOW LONG SHOULD MY CURTAINS BE?
Choose the Most Befitting Heading Style
The next selection you’ll need to make is regarding the heading or pleat style of your curtains, which should factor in your current décor.
- For traditionally styled spaces, French pinch pleats are the perfect option for long curtains. The uniformity of the fixed, hand-sewn pinched pleats provides a tailored look that works wonderfully in formal spaces.
For more fullness, go for triple pinch pleats and for moderate fullness, opt for double pinch pleats. If your bay windows are particularly tall and feature an ornate trim, consider getting your drapes stitched in the dramatic goblet heading style.
- For transitional designs, Euro pleat draperies are the perfect choice. They have the fullness and the sculptural shapes of French pinch pleats, but with restrained embellishment. If you want a slightly more austere style, go for box pleat draperies that exhibit density but without heavy ornamentation. If you’re hanging short curtains, go for Euro double pleats instead of triple pleat curtains that have lesser fullness befitting their length.
- For contemporary rooms, we recommend grommet tops or flat panel tops. Grommet tops consist of evenly spaced eyelets across the width of the fabric, which allow your curtains to hang in wide, loose folds. When open, they stack neatly in uniform fashion. Both styles are good to go for long as well as short curtains.
Note that the more embellished styles of curtains such as pinch pleats, box pleats, and goblet pleats have a formal bearing. Styles like grommet tops, flat panel tops, tab tops, rod pockets, and so on look better-suited in semi-formal and informal spaces.
Depending on where your bay window is located, choose a curtain style that best suits its character. For example, if your bay window is located in the kitchen or doubles up as a breakfast nook, cafe curtains are in perfect sync with the aesthetics. But if it is located at the grand foyer or formal living room, go for formal-style curtains.
The heading style also has a bearing on how the drapery operates on the hardware. Styles such as tab tops and rod pockets for example, can prove hard to slide especially if the drapery is long and heavy. Therefore, for easy operation, we recommend choosing a style that employs rings, clips or grommets.
If you’d like more assistance making your heading selection, be sure to reference our Heading Style Guide.
Layer your Bay Window Curtains
One of the ways to highlight your bay windows is to use layered treatments. Layering helps to add depth, volume and unique personality to the space. If both layers are fully functional, the versatility of the bay windows expands manifold with multiple possibilities for light control and privacy. Where the second layer is decorative-only, it nevertheless adds to the visual elegance that is truly befitting for a focal point such as a bay window.
Here are our top recommendations for layering bay window curtains:
CURTAINS WITH ROMAN SHADES
Where inbuilt seating, storage unit, or radiator obstructs you from mounting floor-length curtains, we recommend using bay window roman shades for individual windows. These are tailor-made for each window and stop at sill length. Mount the shades within the recess for a streamlined look and to also show off the embellishments of the window trims. The shades can render the function of light control and privacy efficiently. You may design them in sheer fabric if you only want to soften the light.
Then frame the bay window unit with drapes on the sides. You can opt for stationery, decorative panels or use fully functional drapes for extra coverage, privacy, light control and insulation.
SHOP NOW: CUSTOM ROMAN SHADES & WINDOW BLINDS
CURTAINS WITH VALANCES
If you don’t want elaborate treatments for your bay windows, valances are a great decorative option as standalones. But if you wish to hang curtains, use valances to top them as a decorative dressing. If you choose an oversimple heading style such as flat panel tops, it may be especially advisable to top them with valances for a decorative touch.
Plus, with the correct choice of valance style, you can hide the hardware of the drapery for a cleaner finish. When the curtains are drawn open, the valances continue to dress the top of the window and hide the drapery hardware.
Spiffy Spools’ valances come in various styles, some elaborate and others simple, some traditional and others modern. Choose the style that best resonates with your decor style.
SHEER CURTAINS WITH OPAQUE CURTAINS
If you have tall bay windows with free floorspace, you can go for double layers of curtains. Hang sheer curtains at the back and drapes on the front. Pick both in plain fabrics featuring complementary hues or let one layer be in solids and the other in patterns. This compelling design mix well befits the stateliness of the space and also adds to its functional versatility.
When you want light, you can keep the opaque curtains open and let the sheer curtains filter in warm natural light. When you want to block light totally, you can draw the second layer. And the entire look of the space changes with the mere drawing of the curtains as the sheers underneath are not visible anymore.
SHOP NOW: CUSTOM SHEER CURTAINS FROM SPIFFY SPOOLS
CURTAINS WITH BLINDS
Install blinds within the recess of each window and long curtains on the front. Woven wooden blinds can be ideal for many spaces as they bring texture and an organic, feel-good touch. Most woven blind suppliers offer their clients various levels of sheerness to choose from. Make your choice based on the level of privacy and light control you wish to have.
But if woven wood blinds do not sync with the overall decor style, try one of the other non-fabric blind options such as cellular shades, solar shades, or roller shades. These are generally available in solid neutral tones and may not offer the breadth of palette/pattern choices that fabric roman shades do, but they blend into the space seamlessly and let your curtains be the star of the bay window.
Curate a Bespoke Look
Give your bay windows a high end look with an evidential bespoke feel. While you are shopping for custom curtains, do everything you can to relay that feel through the making of the curtains as well as other decor items. Here are top three suggestions to attain the custom look:
Curtains look complete with befitting passementerie, more so, when they are for gorgeous bay windows. The more stately the windows, the more rewarding the look of curtains with tassels or fringes on their lead edges. Or, look out for gimp braids and pompom trims. They all look very classic, eye-engaging and dressed up. For a pared-back look, consider ribbon trims that do not alter the silhouettes and yet bring tonal and textural variety to the curtains. Choose trims based on your overall decor style and bring in some whimsy and fun to your bay window curtains.
COORDINATED FABRIC ACCESSORIES
Depending on where your bay window is located, take full advantage of our add-ons section and forge a well-coordinated decor. So, for example, if your bay window is located in the living room, get a pair of throw pillows for the couch from the same fabric as your curtains. Or, order fabric by yardage for an upholstered cushion or chair.
If your bay window is in your bedroom, order a bed runner and sleeping pillows of the same fabric. Or, if it is in the dining room, order a table runner or table cover of the same fabric. This technique helps to build cohesiveness and also gives away a high-end look.
If you want your bay window curtains to look one-of-a-kind, make use of the color-blocking technique which lets you incorporate two fabrics into a single curtain panel. It’s an excellent opportunity to mix two tones, a solid and a patterned fabric, or two textures. We have four styles of color-blocking on offer which determines the level of visual real estate that each fabric gets to occupy. Depending on your personal aesthetic preferences, you can choose two fabrics and specify how you want to color-block them. With a little guidance on color-blocking, you’re sure to come up with awesome results.
READ MORE: ATTIC WINDOW CURTAIN IDEAS
With key decisions made, the final step now is to browse our extensive collection of 3000+ fabrics and pick one for your bay windows! And here are a few of our featured fabrics to get you started:
Spotlight On: Amager
Our Amager curtains are inspired by the English countryside, featuring a lovely pattern of yellow honey flowers and blooms. With a sophisticated color palette in beige, cream, and light yellow, this fabric will make a wonderful addition to any formal space.
Spotlight On: Rocky River
If you’re looking for a cozy, homey window treatment, you’ll love our Rocky River plaid curtains. Red and beige lines intersecting on a dark grey backdrop make for a low contrast palette while the textured finish enriches the space with depth and dimension. Window treatments for bay windows in this gorgeous plaid style ought to be stunners!
Spotlight On: Yamini Nakuru
Our Yamini Nakuru curtains sport a two-tone, narrow weave in turquoise and navy, which work together to produce a stunning teal hue. The medium-weight fabric falls beautifully to create a flowy effect that works wonderfully with the rich, vibrant, yet simplistic color.
Spotlight On: Rhine Blue
Casting foggy blues and greys on neat leaf profiles, Rhine Blue curtains offer a soulful treat to the magnificent bay windows. With subtle patterns, understated hues, and nature theme, this set of curtains is sure to make the space look lively and serene.
Spotlight On: Cotton Wool
Casual and chic, Cotton Wool white sheer drapes can welcome light in remarkable style. Delicate sprigs in lustrous white embroidery express the nature theme with tone-on-tone elegance. As the sun rays seep into the home through the linen-like slubs, the space gets anchored in a relaxed mood.
Order Custom Curtains for Bay Windows from Spiffy Spools
We hope you enjoyed these bay window curtain ideas and found answers to all your pressing questions! If you’re ready to dress your bay windows in one of these gorgeous looks, Spiffy Spools makes it easy to order custom curtains to your exact specifications. Explore our site to find the perfect options for your space and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!
READ MORE: WIDE WINDOW CURTAIN IDEAS & TIPS