Bay window curtains have always been challenging because the shape of the window is unique and complex. Bay windows are designed to allow more light into a room than a flat wall with a single-window and are loved for that reason.
However, as useful as they are, it is necessary to be able to cover them for privacy and for light control.
In choosing the best curtains for bay windows, it is important to consider personal factors and needs as well as the particular shape to ensure the best style and type for your window.
Bay Window Curtains: Types and Styles
There are many varieties of bay window designs, so there are many types of bay window curtains. Consider the size and function of your bay window before you decide the best window treatments to use.
Types of Bay Window Curtains
- Curtain panels – These are flat fabric panels that hang straight down from a higher rod. You can either hang two panels on either side to frame the bay window or hang two curtains on each window of the bay. Also, you can vary the type of fabric for the panel. Use heavy curtain fabric for an elegant look or lighter fabric for a more casual style.
- Valance – Some people opt for a curtain option that does not cover the whole window. For example, a valance is a good option as this is a window treatment that covers the top half of the window frame.
- Roman shades – If you are looking for a simple bay window treatment, roman shades are ideal. These are flat panels of fabric or another material that covers the whole window. You can adjust these by maneuvering a cord attached to the shade. Also, these work well in combination with other bay window curtains.
- Café curtains – These are a casual style curtain that you hang on the bottom half of each window.
- Pelmet or cornice – Because the hardware for bay windows is complicated, many people cover it using a pelmet or cornice. A pelmet is a hard structure covered with fabric used over the top of the window treatments. A cornice is molding that is built to cover the top of the window. Curtain panels hang from both a pelmet and a cornice.
- Plantation or venetian blinds – Though not window treatments, blinds are useful for many bay windows with other curtain options or by themselves.
Style of Bay Window Curtains
When thinking about the best curtains for your bay window, it is important to think through certain considerations that will affect your end design.
First, you should consider the main uses of your bay window area. Do you want to create a cozy alcove for a reading nook, or do you have room for a small dining area? If you are going to create a reading nook, heavy draperies may be in order to provide the peace and quiet necessary. If the bay window is going to be a dining area, sheer curtains or shades will allow you to have a better outside view.
Next, consider privacy needs. Is your bay window in a bathroom or a master bedroom? If yes, the privacy needs will be greater in these more intimate spaces. Therefore, making sure that there is full coverage on the bay window is a priority.
Also, think about the sunlight in this area of your home. Is there considerable morning light in your bay window that you need to filter? Or perhaps, you don’t have much light at all. This will impact the style curtains you choose as you may need blackout curtains or just sheers.
Last, consider the look and design that you want for your bay window curtains. Do you want to create a focal point for the room or do you just want your curtains to blend with the rest of the room design? If you want to create a focal point, you can set the curtains apart by using a fabric with a pattern or luxurious material like silk.
How to Hang Bay Window Curtains
There are a few approaches to hanging a curtain in a bay window and particular hardware that is needed for each approach.
- Bay window curtain rod – Bay window curtain rods can either follow the shape of the window or be placed on the flat section of the wall in front of the bay window. If you choose to use a rod that follows the shape of the window, you will need to use a rod that is built for this. These have junctions on certain parts of the rod that allow you to bend it to fit the shape of the bay.
- Café curtain rod – Café window rods are small rods that you attach to the middle of the window. This allows the café curtain to hang and cover the lower half of each window in the bay.
- Bay window tracks and rail – If you are going to cover the top of the window with a cornice or pelmet, you can use a curtain track or rail to attach curtains for bay windows.
- Shade or blind hardware – If you choose this approach to covering your bay window, each shade or blind will have hardware that you attach at the top of each window.
Bay Window Curtain Ideas
Every bay window is different as are the needs of particular homeowners. Therefore, there are many wonderful bay window curtain ideas. We have rounded up some of the best we have seen to give you a sense of what you can do for your own bay window curtains.
Curtains for a Bay Window
This designer has used a mixed approach to covering this bay window. There is a single rod that follows the shape of the bay. It is hung up to the ceiling to draw the eye upward.
The full length curtains blend into the wall color. In addition, the shades are neutral but provide texture and blend with the shades on the other windows in the room.
Short Bay Window Curtains
Hamilburg Interiors designed this traditional cottage-style living room with a curved bay window. This bay window has a cozy seating nook that is integrated into the seating of this room.
The curtains are more decorative than utilitarian. These designers installed elegant yellow curtains to dress up the sides of the bay. Also, notice these curtains are short in order to allow for the bench seat in this bay window.
Sheer Bay Window Treatments
The approach of this homeowner for this bay window is using a straight rod on the flat wall outside the bay window. They have used the sunny recessed space in this bay to grow their plants. Also, this is a good solution in a small room as multiple curtain panels can make a smaller room look heavy.
Kitchen Bay Window Curtains
This bay window is integrated into this kitchen design. Kate Jackson Design has used the bay to create a banquette seating area. This kitchen has a casual style. Therefore, the sheer cafe curtains work well on the three windows of this bay.
Dramatic Curtains for Bay Windows
If you want to create a striking focal point, colorful or patterned bay curtains are a wonderful way to do this. Clare Gaskin Interiors used a contrasting color and patterned curtain for this bay window area. In addition, there are spare and neutral roman shades to keep the sunlight at bay.
Straight Curtain Cod on a Bay Window
This is a unique approach to hanging bay window curtains. This designer, Jo Alcorn, hung a straight curtain rod over the bay opening. Next, they hung sheer, textured roman shades over each window. Another idea for a simple window covering is plantation or venetian blinds rather than roman shades.
Curved Curtain Rod for Bay Window Nooks
This homeowner utilized a curved rod to follow the shape of the bay window. They hung curtain panels for each of the three windows. They chose an elaborate pattern to give the bay windows a more formal style.
Valance for Bay Windows
Valance window treatments create an elegant and formal style in any house. The look of this curtain is luxurious because of its style, material, and the trim along the bottom edge of the valance.
Panel Curtains for Bay Window Recesses
This living room from neuhaus design uses long panel curtains that go to the floor at each window. Rather than use a curved curtain rod, this team chose to use individual rods for each window. The wood trim frames the bay window. However, the bay window curtains provide texture rather than contrast. They are simple in style and form which allows the stunning architectural details to speak for themselves.
Neutral Curtain Ideas for Bay Windows
This serene bay window look comes from sutroarchitects. If you like this look, hang curtains that are just a shade darker than the color of your walls. In addition, the designers have added relaxed roman shades in a sheer fabric. This design gives privacy, but it still allows filtered light into the room.
Squared Bay Window Rods
The bay window in this room does not curve like other bay window designs. The designer, mollymcginness, utilizes an adjustable bay window curtain rod for this recessed alcove. They have attached the lined curtains at the end and corner of the curtain rod to create a more continuous look.
Curtains for Ornamental Bay Windows
If you are fortunate enough to have a bay window with decorative glass, you may not want to cover it. This designer chose curtains panels that frame the end of the bay. Therefore, they left the rest of the window free to frame the extra furniture, like the bar cart and accent chairs.
Modern Bay Window Curtains
You can find many bay windows in historic and traditional-style homes. However, because of the benefits they offer, bay windows are in many modern homes too.
In this design, risingerhomes utilizes a bay window for this eating nook. In order to keep the style in keeping with the home’s decor, the interior designer uses simple and neutral panel curtains for this bay window.
Bay Window Blinds and Curtain Ideas for Filtered Lighting
This bay window design from antoniomartins features a textured design that utilizes seagrass blinds and panel curtains.
If you don’t like the view outside your window or if the light is too strong consider a solution like this. For example, pair seagrass shades on each window with a curved bay window rod and neutral panels for each window.
Curtains and Blinds for a Bay Window
If you want a less rustic look, try wooden plantation shutters with panel curtains for your bay window. That was the approach of the designer of this room, amorybrown. They used the panels to frame the bay windows, but the shutters do the heavy lifting.
Pelmet Heading for a Bay Window
One ideal way to hide less attractive window hardware is a pelmet heading. The designer has covered the pelmet in the same fabric as the curtains. This frames the bay window to provide the perfect setting for the sofa tucked into the recess. This design comes from chrissnookphotography.
Bay Window Curtains for Kids
Bay windows are perfect in a kid’s room for creating a cozy space for relaxing. These bay window curtains are not fussy; rather, they are practical for providing privacy and control of sunlight. A. Tate Hilliard created this lovely child’s bedroom design.
Coordinating Bay Window Shades
If you want to create a look of continuity in your room, coordinate your curtains throughout the room including the bay window curtains. In this room, the designer chose a muted pattern that matches the shade of the wood paneling. The roman shades provide a look that is simple and classic.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What curtains are best for a bay window?
The best curtains for bay windows depend on your needs. For example, if you want to create a formal look that creates a focal point in the room, frame the bay window with curtain panels. You can put the panels on each window or along the outside of the bay. If you want a more casual look, roman shades or café curtains are the best curtains for your bay window.
Can you put curtains over the bay window?
Yes, you can hang a single rod on the wall outside the bay window rather than use a curved rod that follows the shape of the bay.
How many curtains do I need for a bay window?
The number of curtains you use depends on the design of your bay window and the type of look you want. You can hang a curtain on each of the windows in the bay or hang a curtain on each side to frame the bay windows.
Are curtains old fashioned?
No, curtains are not old fashioned. In fact, interior designers use curtains in contemporary and modern interior design just like they use them in traditional design. In addition, curtains have practical value in that they give you privacy and allow you to control sunlight coming into the room. However, while curtains in and of themselves are not old-fashioned, there are styles like swags and valances that look more traditional than contemporary.
Bay window curtains are the perfect way to both frame your bay window and to control the natural light coming through these windows.
While it may seem like a complicated proposition, it is worth finding the right solution to accent bay windows.
Once you start looking, there are so many wonderful options that you will be spoiled for choice.