Bay windows are a staple of Victorian decor — glorifying the design style’s affinity for grandeur, curved finishes and eye-catching statements. They’re beloved for their ability to bring light into a room and make small spaces feel larger. They are also a great way to draw attention to stunning views over cityscapes and rolling countrysides. The beauty and utility of bay windows mean they’re particularly common in British homes.
While bay windows can be stunning, they can also be more difficult to dress for several reasons. Since the main appeal of these windows is their ability to bring light in, it can be hard to find window treatments that offer privacy, but don’t block out views completely. In addition, bay windows can be draughty, increasing the need for good window dressings to conserve heat.
Fortunately, dressing your bay windows doesn’t have to be a chore. Understanding the drawbacks of bay windows can help you select the perfect window treatments for your needs. Here, we'll show you how to dress a bay window with blinds and curtains. You’ll learn about the various challenges bay windows pose and how you can choose the best bay window blinds to make them work in your home.
Challenges of Blinds for Bay Windows
There are several challenges when it comes to dressing bay windows with blinds and curtains. First and foremost, these windows are curved. That means you can’t just use any old blinds. You’ll need a bespoke fit, so made-to-measure blinds — like the ones we offer at Make My Blinds — are the way to go when dressing these curved windows.
There are also several different types of bay windows that can make dressing them even more complex. There are multifaceted bay windows with several panes of angled glass as well as bow windows that feature curved glass panels. Each style requires specific consideration when choosing how to dress a bay window with blinds and curtains.
In addition, windows are a key source of heat loss in most homes. Since bay windows are usually larger and tend to feature more glass compared to traditional windows, these areas can be draughty. That means your window coverings should feature thermal properties in order to help keep heat inside your home during colder months.
Another challenge of dressing bay windows with curtains is the classic design of many of these buildings. In Victorian homes, heating elements such as radiators are often located under the windows. That means you can’t keep the curtains closed while also running the heat unless you want to risk starting a fire.
How To Dress a Bay Window With Blinds and Curtains
All of these challenges make it difficult to dress bay windows. However, it doesn’t have to be a Herculean task. In fact, with these challenges in mind, you can choose the best window treatments for your home. Read on to discover how to dress a bay window with blinds and curtains and find the best styles for your home.
Control Light and Privacy
While bay windows are renowned for letting in natural light and brightening up rooms, these features can also be a downside if you value privacy. Bay windows are fabulous when they face the empty countryside, but can be problematic if your bay window is in your bedroom facing a neighbouring apartment across the courtyard. Fortunately, you can choose window dressings that help to control light and privacy so you can enjoy the benefits of your bay windows without sacrificing comfort in your home.
Voile roller blinds are perfect for bay windows. They feature one large piece of fabric that rolls up onto a headrail. They come in a huge range of colours and patterns to match your interior design style. You can keep the blinds open to enjoy your views and let light in or lower the blinds when you need a little more privacy.
Limit Heat Loss
Heat loss is a huge consideration for people with bay windows, especially if your home features the original window sashes or the window is only made of single pane glass. Choose a pleated blind or thermal blind to help keep your home warm during the cooler months and reduce heat loss throughout the year.
Pleated blinds feature layers of fabrics that gently drape over one another, creating an insulating barrier. Another option is a honeycomb blind which features an air gap in between the fabric layers to help reduce heat loss. Alternatively, you can look for roman blinds and roller blinds that have a liner, making the blinds thicker and thus better at maintaining heat.
Bay windows are statement pieces, drawing the eye and captivating guests with beautiful design and gorgeous views. Make them even more eye-catching by choosing blinds that add depth and texture. Roman blinds are a great way to do this, thanks to the fabric that folds delicately in elegant layers.
Roman shades are ideal for living room bay windows, entryways and formal dining rooms. The drapery adds sophistication and drama and they tend to be thicker, helping to increase privacy and reduce heat loss.
Want even more depth and texture? Consider layering curtains over your roller blinds or roman blinds. Not only does this add style, but it also offers greater control when you want to block out light.
Go Vertical for Curves
If you have curved or angled bay windows, vertical blinds are a great way to add light and privacy control. Since the panes of glass and the window frame are curved, roller blinds and roman blinds aren’t the best fit. Instead, opt for vertical blinds that feature louvres that run up and down instead of horizontally. They can be fitted to your window, following the curved shape perfectly.
Be Bold With Shutters
Shutters, also known as plantation shutters, are a stunning style element that can add functionality and beauty to your bay windows. These blinds are fitted within a solid wooden frame that is then installed to your window frame. They can be thrown open to let light stream into the room or they can be closed completely for a blackout effect.
Best of all, these blinds — like venetian blinds and wooden blinds— feature individual slats. The slats can be tilted 180 degrees, offering greater light control compared to curtain fabrics and blinds. Bay window shutters can be found in vibrant colours to add kerb appeal or you can stick to white and grey to match modern interiors or more contemporary designs.
Give Curtains a Try
While blinds tend to be the more common choice for dressing windows, curtains can also be effective and beautiful. A bay window curtain can help add height, making smaller rooms feel larger. They also add texture and various colour schemes can be used to make a statement or create a backdrop for other decor items. Make sure to choose full-length curtains to maximise this effect.
Make sure the curtains you choose fit your bay window. Be sure to look for curved curtain tracks if you have a bow window. For angular bay windows, you’ll want to get an individual curtain for each window pane.
Another benefit of window curtains is that you can choose various curtain poles or curtain rods to play up style. You can opt for chrome or black rods to match a modern design theme or go for silver, brass and copper to create an industrial or antique look. The curtain panels can also be paired with a valance or pelmet to add drama and tie-backs are another way to boost style.