What To Know Before Getting Bow Windows

If you want to switch things up or if you’re just now installing windows, it’s important that you educate yourself on windows of all types. Bow windows are just one option that you may want to consider.

We will go over what bow windows are, the cost of bow windows, and the pros vs the cons of bow windows. After you’ve learned all you can about them and you still think you want them, then you’ve made your decision. 

What Are Bow Windows?

Bow WindowsView in gallery
Via Lundberg Builders Inc.

A bow window is a window that is curved outwards. It has multiple panes and can be a 180-degree curve, or less, only occasionally more. Even if you don’t know the term “bow window,” you have still seen them before.

They bow out from the house like someone has blown a bubble from within. The windows were very popular in the 1700s and 1800s, which is why you’ll see some of the old mansions in the United States with them. 

Today, they’re not quite as popular as they once were, but they are more readily available if you do decide to give them a try. But before you do, there are a few things you should know about these infamous bow windows. 

What Are The Pros And Cons?

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Found on Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

As with any other addition to your home, there are both pros and cons to bow windows. Making sure that the pros outweigh the cons in your book is the first thing you’ll want to do. If the cons are too heavy for you, you may want to consider trying something else entirely. 

Pros

Via John Kraemer & Sons

Do the pros outweigh the cons? Let’s take a look at what to look forward to! 

Makes A Perfect Reading Nook

A reading nook is a cozy spot that is usually hidden in the crook of a window. A bow window is a perfect place to stow one. The curved wall is invited and you can use the space to install a seat with storage. 

Frees Up Floor Space

If you don’t install a reading nook or seat, you can leave the space left when you install bow windows. This will add several square feet, depending on the curve of the window. You can use that space for storage, a table, or simply to add flow. 

Looks Amazing From The Outside

Via Burgin Lambert Architects

Although bow windows look great from inside the house, they are even more eye-catching from outside the house. They can even change the entire shape of your house, giving a curved look to an otherwise square structure.

Makes A Unique Statement

Because the change in a house is so drastic after adding bow windows, you know that when you do, you’ll be making a statement. You will probably be the only house in the neighborhood with them, especially with new ones.

Adds Natural Light

It’s a known fact that all windows add light, but bow windows add even more light than other windows. This is because they are adding light from multiple angles. Most windows only have light coming from one direction. 

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Via Colorado Shades & Awnings

Cons

Maybe the cons are too much for you. Check out everything you may need to consider before getting bow windows. 

The Windows Don’t Usually Open

Because bow windows require so many panes and they are curved, they usually don’t open. Although it is possible. You can get bow windows that open but they are rare and costly. We’ll talk more about that later. 

Not Compatible With All Furniture 

Bow windows are curved. This is a fact. As we know, round walls are hard to work with. You can’t add a standard couch to a bow window. You need specific furniture if you plan on putting any in that nook. 

Can Become All People See

If you’re not okay with bow windows being what your house is known for, you may reconsider getting them. They are a statement piece and will draw the eye in. If you don’t want to be the “bow window house,” then they aren’t for you.

Ready To Keep Going?

If after reading through these pros and cons and you’re still interested, then read on for everything you need to know about these fascinating windows. But beware, you just might be determined to get one afterward! 

Bow Windows Vs. Bay Windows

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Via Handcrafted Homes Inc.

A lot of people tend to confuse bay windows for bow windows. The two are similar but with a few crucial differences. The biggest difference is that a bay window is usually cut into three sections. The middle section is known as the “picture window.”

The picture window is used to enjoy the view. It’s larger than the other two and almost never opens. When it comes to bow windows, you will see a rounder shape, that is almost always curved rather than given straight lines. 

Via ArchMills Doors & Hardware

Speaking of opening windows though, with a bow window, you may not be able to open any of the windows. Whereas with a bay window, the smaller two windows will likely open. So if you want fresh air, a bay window may be a better option.

Unless, of course, you’re willing to pay for the extra cost of making bow windows open. But how much will it set you back? Let’s move onto the cost of bow windows, in general, to see if you can afford them in the first place. 

How Much Do Bow Windows Cost?

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Via Global Home Improvement

One of the first things that you should do before you make a decision on your house is to calculate the cost. You can always call a few companies and get quotes, but there is also a baseline that you can go off of. 

Initial Cost

An accurate range for the installation of bow windows is between $2000 and $5000. The labor will cost a few hundred in itself but delivery and primarily the cost of the windows and hardware will be the biggest cost factor. 

This can change depending on the quality of the windows you get, if you are adding in demolition, and the compatibility of the place you chose to install said windows. Bay windows are also said to be cheaper than bow windows due to the straight lines. 

Repair Cost

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Found in the source.

Repairing old bow windows should cost much more than $1000, unless they are in really bad condition. A more likely estimate is $500 as you’re mostly just paying for the labor rather than materials. Windows are expensive! 

There are even some bow window repairs that you can do yourself. Especially if you have experience with windows in general. The most common types of bow window repairs are broken windows and stability support. 

Opening Window Cost

Getting windows that open is going to cost more than windows that don’t open. In some cases, the cost of opening windows is double that of windows that don’t open. Though some companies will only charge you a few hundred more. 

If you’re willing to get bow windows that do not open, then you can save a good amount of money. The same goes for windows that are repurposed. Shop around and you may be able to find discounted windows. 

Should You Get Bow Windows?

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Via Dennis Mayer

Getting bow windows is a big decision and should not be made without great thought and research. They can change the entire look of your interior and exterior, not to mention the few thousand dollars they may cost isn’t something just anyone can afford.

If you have the money, have had someone look at your place, and are in love with the look of bow windows, then go for it. If you can’t stop turning your head at every bow window you drive by, maybe it’s time to get some of your own! 

Other Types Of Windows

If you love the idea of bow windows but aren’t sure they are right for you, then consider these other options. All of them are unique like bow windows, but they offer different concepts that bow windows lack. 

Arched Windows

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Via Parker House Inc.

Because arched windows are curved, they offer a lot of the same benefits that bow windows offer. They aren’t as flashy as bow windows but they will cost about 10% of what bow windows cost to install. 

Garden Windows

Via fabrichouse

A garden window is another wonderful replacement for a bow window. The cost will be anywhere from 25% to 75% of the cost of installing bow windows. They are usually put in the kitchen but can be installed anywhere you wish. 

Rows Of Windows

Via HOBBS Inc.

A great way to get the extra light and airiness that bow windows offer is to add rows of windows. They are cheaper to install because there are no curves. Plus, you can use just about any type of window that you want.

Picture Windows

Via Specht Architects

A bay window, not a bow window, has a center picture window that does not open. A cheaper way to accomplish a similar look is to add only a picture window. This will be a stormproof glass for viewing purposes only.