A bay window is a beautiful architectural feature that adds space, light, and personality to a room. With its angled sides and window seat, a bay window creates a cozy nook that begs to be dressed up with stylish window treatments. When designing window treatments for a bay window, you have lots of gorgeous options that can accentuate its allure.

From layered curtains to dramatic drapes and roman shades, your window treatment choices can amplify the charm of your bay window. Whether your style is elegant and formal or relaxed and casual, you can find the perfect window dressings to complement your home’s aesthetic. Read on for expert tips on selecting, designing, and installing window coverings that will make your bay window a stunning focal point.

Choose Complementary Styles and Fabrics

One of the keys to dressing a bay window beautifully is choosing window treatments that coordinate well with your room’s decor. Select fabrics and materials that integrate seamlessly with the color palette, patterns, and textures already in the space. For a cohesive look, match the formality of your window treatments to the room’s overall style. Here are some examples:

  • Formal living room: Crystalline curtain rods and tailored drapes in damask or jacquard weave a sophisticated vibe.
  • Casual family room: Natural linen roman shades and breezy sheers have a relaxed feel.
  • Transitional dining room: Bronze rods and pleated dupioni silk drapes strike an elegant yet casual balance.
  • Coastal bedroom: Airy linen curtains and woven wood blinds complement a beachy aesthetic.

In addition to style, make sure your fabrics relate well to the rest of the room. Lining your drapes in a color drawn from the room adds harmony and interest.

Layer for Texture and Dimension

One of the most appealing aspects of a bay window is its architecture – don’t hide it behind a single treatment. For the most interest, layer compatible window covering styles together for added visual texture and dimension. Some attractive layering options include:

  • Hang sheer curtains close to the glass, roman shades at the window frame, and decorative drapes over the top.
  • Combine breezy sheers with shutters for light control and privacy.
  • Mount a cornice over the window and hang drapes from it, adding roll-up shades below.
  • Try floor-length curtains paired with a valance or arched swags at the top of the window.

When layering, vary textures and overlap widths to beautifully showcase the bay’s shape. Just be sure to add headings and tie-backs so each layer can be adjusted separately.

Play With Color

A bay window provides the perfect opportunity to use color to amplify your room’s décor. Try framing your window with drapes in a rich, eye-catching hue that accents your color scheme. For example, vibrant blue drapes pop against a neutral beige room. Or pick out a secondary color in your wallpaper pattern and use it on the drapes.

If you want to subtly bring in color, choose patterned drapes or roman shades in solids and prints that incorporate your color palette. For a bright and breezy look, hang cheery patterned curtains in complementary colors and styles. Use colors intentionally to create an exciting focal point.

Treat the Windows as Separate Units

One common bay window dressing mistake is treating the three windows as one big unit, rather than individually. Design each window covering as a separate entity to make the most of the unique architecture. Hang rod-pocket curtains in the side windows, letting them stack attractively to the sides. The middle window can then take center stage with a show-stopping treatment like balloon shades, swags, or cascading drapes.

You’ll maximize the drama by applying distinct treatments to each window section. Coordinate colors and fabrics, but don’t be afraid to vary styles, heights, and textures. It will add beautiful interest and dimension.

Know Proper Dimensions

When it comes to bay windows, one size does not fit all. To end up with well-fitted window treatments that accentuate the bay without hiding it, carefully measure each segment. Don’t assume even side windows are the same size. And make sure to order the proper widths for the angled corners.

For the middle window, extend rod length and curtain width past the edge of the window trim to highlight the architecture. Account for stack back so curtains don’t bunch up. A general rule of thumb is to allow for 2.5x fullness when gathering drapes. Getting the measurements right will ensure a properly fitted and well-balanced look.

Arrange for Proper Lighting

You want your lovely bay window and its treatments to get properly showcased. To achieve that, arrange ample lighting around the bay to highlight its details. Wall sconces on either side provide symmetrical illumination. For softer glow lighting, install rope lights under the window seat or small spotlights above the bay directed downward.

Make sure window treatments are hung to allow lighting to filter through sheers and create a cozy ambiance in the seating area. The right lighting setup will beautifully display your bay, day and night.

Pick Durable, Quality Materials

Because a bay window has multiple panes, angles, and usually a seating area, the window treatments experience more wear and tear. Select durable fabrics and rot-resistant woods that can stand up to a busy household. For family rooms or kids’ spaces, consider stain-resistant and machine washable fabrics like polyester, microsuede, or acrylic.

Smooth-operating hardware that glides effortlessly will ensure your treatments function properly for years. And proper lining provides insulation, light blocking, and sound dampening. Though decorative drapes require dry cleaning, high-quality materials tailored well will save maintenance.


With its captivating shape and abundant light, a bay window deserves special treatment. The right window dressings can highlight the allure of your bay while complementing your room’s décor. By paying attention to the details of style, color, dimensions, lighting, and quality, you can design a stunning bay window focal point that artfully dresses up your space. Whether tailored and elegant or casual and breezy, window treatments offer endless possibilities to showcase the beauty of your bay window.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most popular window treatments for bay windows?

Some of the most popular bay window treatments include layered curtains, roman shades, drapes and valances, cornices, shutters, and roll-up shades. Layering different window covering styles creates visual interest.

Should I dress bay windows differently than regular windows?

Yes, because of the unique angled shape of bay windows, you should treat each window segment differently. Hang complementary treatments of varying styles, widths, and textures to accentuate the bay’s dimensions.

How much extra fabric do I need for bay window curtains?

Since bay windows have more surface area, allow for 2.5 times fullness when calculating fabric yardage for gathered curtains. An extra-generous allowance ensures proper draping.

Should bay window treatments be floor length?

Not necessarily. While floor length curtains are elegant, windows can be beautifully dressed at various lengths. Try sill length for casual elegance or puddle length just kissing the floor. Layer shorter and longer pieces for interest.

How do I make bay windows look bigger?

Visually expand a bay window by extending curtain rods and drapes past the window edges to highlight the architecture. Hang sheers directly on the glass to maximize light and views. Avoid crunching windows together with one treatment.