What To Know Before Getting Bow Windows

Installing bow windows is an investment. Join us as we explore what to know before getting bow windows.

Before adding windows to your home, educate yourself on the different types available.

We’ll cover bow windows, how much they cost, and the pros and cons associated with them. After studying them and you decide that you want them, then you’ve made your decision.

What Are Bow Windows?

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Lundberg Builders Inc.

A bow window is arc-shaped. They have four or five casement windows. If you aren’t familiar with their name, you’ve probably seen them. You might know them by their second name, “compass windows.” 

Visually, imagine blowing a bubble from inside your home. Bow windows were popular during the 17th and 18th centuries. You can see the windows in older mansions.

A bow window provides a distinctive look to a home. They are ideal for front room additions that face your front yard or entryway. 

You may not have known, but bow windows are energy efficient. Fixed windows are better than casement designs if saving money is your goal.

Before you decide, there are a few things you should know about bow windows. 

What Are The Pros And Cons?

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Found on Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

There are pros and cons for each home addition. You want the pros to outweigh the cons. If the cons are heavy, consider something else.


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John Kraemer & Sons

Do the pros outweigh the cons? Let’s take a look and see what you think.

Makes A Perfect Reading Nook

A reading nook is a small space located in the crook of a window. A bow window makes a perfect reading nook. The nook’s curved wall is inviting. Installing a seat with storage space underneath would be helpful.

Frees Up Floor Space

After installing the windows, you decide you don’t want a reading nook, leave the space vacant. A bow window frees up floor space. Depending on the window’s curve, you will have extra square footage. Use the space for storage, a table, or to add flow.

Looks Amazing From The Outside

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Burgin Lambert Architects

From the inside, the window style adds class to your home interior. A bow window also looks impressive from the outside. The windows change your home’s shape. They give a square structure a curved look.

Makes A Unique Statement

Changing your home’s appearance is a serious endeavor. When you add bow windows to your home, it makes a unique statement. Your home might be the only one with them, especially if they are new.

Adds Natural Light

A window adds natural light. Bow windows add more light than regular windows due to their multiple angles. The windows have curved frames. The light shines through flat windows from one direction, but you get various directions with them.


Learn about what you need to consider before installing bow windows.

The Windows Don’t Usually Open

First, they require multiple panes. The windows don’t usually open. You can install ones that open, but they’re expensive.

Not Compatible With All Furniture 

Bow windows have a curved shape. They are not compatible with all furniture styles. Circular walls are complex during remodeling projects. You wouldn’t want to add a standard couch with one of these. You need specific furniture that will go with a reading nook, for example.

Can Become All People See

You might be uncomfortable with your home having a reputation for bow windows. They make a statement and attract attention. If you don’t want to be the “bow window house,” then you should consider a different window style.

Ready To Keep Going?

After reviewing the pros and cons, and you’re ready to keep going, then continue reading for more information.

Bow Windows Vs. Bay Windows

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Handcrafted Homes Inc.

Bay windows windows are often confused with bow windows. The window styles are similar, but there are differences.

Both styles allow light and air to enter your home. The main difference is the windows each one has.

A bay window has three sections. The middle section is the “picture window.” The surrounding sections rarely open. Their design makes it challenging to find suitable curtains.

Bow windows, also known as curved bay windows, have multiple windows that don’t open. On bay windows, the smaller two windows open. If you want fresh air, bay windows are the better option.

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ArchMills Doors & Hardware

A bow window has four or more identical windows. They create a subtle curve. The number of glass panes in a bow describes each design. For example, a four-lite bow, a five-lite bow, or a six-lite bow.

They come in a variety of designs. They work best in exterior walls or corners with seven feet of square footage. You can install them in large areas for maximum impact.

Other differences include width and intricacy, which means they’re designed to capture more sunlight. They can wrap around the corner of a home for an exterior turret-shaped appearance.

If you have the budget, you can find windows that open, but they’re not cheap.

How Much Do Bow Windows Cost?

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Global Home Improvement

The first thing you should do before deciding on your home 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.

Initial Cost

An accurate range for installation is between $2,000 and $5,000. The labor will cost a few hundred, but delivery and the cost of the windows and hardware will be significant factors.

The price can change depending on the window quality. If you are adding demolition and the compatibility where you chose to install the windows. Bay windows are cheaper than bow windows due to their straight lines.

Repair Cost

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Found in the source.

Depending on their condition, repairing bow windows should cost more than $1,000. A more likely estimate is $500 as you’re mostly just paying for the labor rather than materials.

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

Opening Window Cost

If you want windows that open, it will be more expensive. The cost for windows that open is double that of those which don’t. Some companies will charge a few hundred more.

Repurposed or sealed window styles are cheaper. Shop around, and you might them at discounted prices.

Should You Get Bow Windows?

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Dennis Mayer

Do your research before buying bow windows. They can change your home’s interior and exterior.

Window styles that open can cause problems. They are set close together. The opening mechanisms must be positioned so the windows won’t disrupt their curved look. Fixed windows are best.

Have a professional survey your home. If you’re in love with them, then go for it. If you can’t stop turning your head at every bow window you pass, then why not?

Other Types Of Windows

If you love bow windows but aren’t sure they’re right for you, then consider other options. Other window types are unique and offer different concepts.

Arched Windows

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Parker House Inc.

Because of their shape, arched windows have similar benefits. They may not be flashy, but they’re a fraction of what it costs to install bow windows.

Garden Windows

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A garden window is another cheap substitute for bow windows. They cost 25 to 75 percent less than bow windows. Kitchens are the most popular location but work well in any room.

Rows Of Windows

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

Picture Windows

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Specht Architects

A bay 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can you replace a bow window with a regular window?

For these reasons, many homeowners wonder if it’s possible to swap out their regular flat window for a bay or bow window. In many cases, the answer is yes. While you can replace a standard window, it will require working with a structural engineer.

How much does it cost to replace bow windows?

Glass replacement isn’t cheap. Average bow windows cost roughly $3,500. Labor and installation will run anywhere between $350 to $600. Fiberglass bow window replacement is available.

Where should I add a bow window to my home?

You can install them almost anywhere. For example, a window seat, reading nook, display shelf, indoor garden, or bathtub alcove.

Bow Windows Conclusion

Bow windows are a fantastic addition to your home. The windows have a commanding presence. Home styles that feature bow windows include Victorian, Tudor, Mid-Century Modern, and Craftsman.

If you want to redefine your home’s style, then the window style will do the trick. Make sure you have the budget to install them the right way.