November 8, 2017
Bay windows have long been adored by homeowners, and it’s not terribly difficult understand why. This architectural choice has a real knack for “opening up” a room, making it seem much brighter and larger than it actually is, and they can provide an incredible view of the outside world. You can even add ledges or furniture to create special nooks for reading—or napping! However, for all of their beauty, bay windows can be a little harder to decorate than typical windows; their shape and positioning usually means that they require a little extra help to look their best. If you’ve got naked bay windows in your home, here are four ideas for dressing them up:
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when choosing a new window treatment is whether you want one long curtain rod to span across the entire bay or three smaller rods to stand atop each window. One single rod can be the right choice if you want to be able to draw the drapes in front of the bay and close the area off completely. This design choice can make the bay nook resemble a balcony—or perhaps even a miniature stage. On the other hand, if you’d like to be able to draw the drapes without hiding the windows from everyone inside the house, three smaller curtain rods (with multiple pairs of drapes) is going to be the better option. It is also possible to have a single, solid rod that bends to fit the bay, but do keep in mind that you’ll probably need to have it custom-made to ensure that it fits your windows!
Some folks don’t want elaborate, flowing drapery for their bay windows, especially if they plan for the space to primarily be functional (rather than decorative). For example, if you’d like for the bay area to serve primarily as a breakfast or reading nook, then an extravagant window treatment may be cumbersome or impractical. In these cases, it might be best to take a more plain approach: individual roman shades for each window. This way, the space can be utilized without having to push aside (or fight with) massive quantities of fabric, and the amount of light coming in through the windows can be adjusted easily. And because the Roman shades can be customized in terms of color, pattern, and material, you won’t have to sacrifice aesthetics in the name of simplicity.
When people think about drapes, they often think in terms of two. And that makes sense, because most standard window treatments call for pairs of drapes—one on each side of the window. But unless you’re doing the “turn your bay area into a balcony” technique we discussed in the first section, a single set of two drapes probably won’t work to suit your purposes. Three bay windows placed together to form a nook will probably require four drapes: Pieces #1 and #2 frame the left window, #2 and #3 frame the middle window, and #3 and #4 frame the right window. And if you want total control over all of the windows, you may want a pair for each! Keep this in mind as you’re planning the window treatment and trying to get an idea of how much drapery you’ll really need.
Shades or drapes can do wonders for “unifying” bay windows, but they’re not the only options for making the space look orderly and put-together. Adding a valance will not only conceal the curtain rods (making the window treatment seem more polished and professional), but it can help disguise large expanses of wall above the bay windows. When coordinated with the rest of the drapery, the valance can tie the window treatment in with the rest of the room’s décor—and some homeowners love the look of valances so much that they use them as their bay windows’ only decoration! Now, keep in mind that valances can look quite traditional or even old-fashioned; if the rest of the room you’re decorating has a very modern look to it, then you’ll need to choose your valance wisely in order to prevent clashing.
From a decorating standpoint, bay windows are a bit temperamental; the wrong window treatment will quickly turn their beauty and uniqueness into a complete eyesore. But dressing up these architectural wonders is far from impossible, and a drapery professional can help you realize their true potential. So whether you use your bay windows as a private reading nook, a lovely place to eat breakfast, or just the perfect spot to catch a quick nap, they certainly don’t have to go bare!