window treatment ideas

Bay Windows and Bow Windows

Bay windows and bow windows are the windows most difficult to dress. There’s the question of whether you should dress the windows themselves or the wall surround on the outside. Then, there’s the angle issue…let’s say you’ve decided to put draperies on all three of the bay windows. At retail, there are simply not any drapery rods to choose from which can be joined at an oblique angle. Because there are inside corners, you must have a rod that is continuous and which is adjustable to angle; this is where you will need custom help.

Often my clients simply want shades but the windows are too shallow to accommodate an inside mounting. If the headrail of the shade is too deep and the angle of the joining windows too sharp, then the headrails will butt into each other when mounted on the outside casing

Shutters for a bay window

Some great solutions are of course an angled decorative rod that can accommodate draperies....or,

slim cellular shades whose headrails are
not too pronounced..or,
that can be custom made
to fit any angle.

I believe that a bay window or bow window is an excellent opportunity to create drama and a solid focal point in a room. It is my opinion that the three windows should be treated as one to provide unity and simplicity.  A fabulous “trick” is to create the illusion that the entire wall is made of glass by extending the drapery rod beyond the window…or, perhaps you prefer just a valance…this can be done on a decorative rod or can be made board mounted so that it appears to be one continuous piece.

Board Mounted Valance for Kitchen Bay Window

A template for this must be drafted so that the workroom can accurately join the boards that support the valance at the proper angle. The board is invisible but acts as a “frame” from which the fabric drops. It is an elegant and truly custom solution. If you notice in the photo above, the distance between the windows is uneven. Here's where the use of a template was critical to the success of the design and the illusion of perfection. Remember, decorating is theater!

Another very attractive solution is to use stationary fabric panels in between the windows at a nice fullness. They never are drawn but instead “frame” the windows into which may be matching roman shades or some other type of shade or shutter. This is a layered look and layers are rich and luxe, yet simple to achieve.


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