Bay window curtains: selection tips and window treatment ideas

Bay windows are one of the most prominent examples of cognitive dissonance in interior design. On the one hand, they provide excellent illumination and look beautiful and aristocratic. On the other hand, they give many headaches to both home and apartment owners and designers. Indeed, covering the bay window is considered one of the most challenging tasks. However, while furnishing and finishing issues are resolved quickly enough due to the excellent assortment in stores and the ability to order furnishings according to individual sketches, then with window decoration, everything is a little more complicated.

The fact is that when choosing curtains for a bay window, you must consider several factors at once – first of all, the extraordinary location of the openings relative to each other, as well as the same vast range of materials and design options, in which it is quite easy to get confused. However, in any persistent search, a truly excellent result is born, and therefore let’s take a closer look at the bay window treatment.

How to choose bay window curtains: important rules

Of course, each apartment is unique in its way, and therefore each row of windows in the bay window will have its own individual design. And yet, the study of such a topic should start from the basics – namely, with the rules, thanks to which you can draw up at least an approximate plan for finding curtains.

  • Consider the shape of the bay window. Today you can find two main types of the head – semicircular and broken. There are also triangular bay windows with walls converging at an acute angle, but this is already quite rare. Based on the shape of the bay window, you have to decide which curtain rod you will use, as well as how the curtain panels will be hung – in pairs or one piece.
  • The presence or absence of a radiator under the bay windows. The length of the curtains directly depends on this factor. So, if a heating system passes under the windows, you should think about choosing curtains flush with the window sill or slightly lower – this is necessary to let heat into the room freely. If there is a flat wall below the window or the windows are made to the floor, floor-length curtains will be advantageous.
  • The configuration of the bay window. Whether you have made wide window sills with soft pillows for relaxation, whether there are armchairs or tubs with flowers along with the windows, whether there is a dining room or just a tea corner – all this also wags the choice of the length of the curtains. The richer the furnishings and decor in the bay window area, the shorter and more concise draperies should be.
  • Interior design style. Certainly not worth saying that the draperies on the bay windows should organically complement the design of a bedroom, dining room, or living room with a similar layout. Volume, length, fabric texture, color – everything should be in absolute harmony with the environment and decoration. However, we will dwell on this a little later.

Another important point is your imagination and possibilities. If you strive for excellence or want to find something original, then the only possible solution for you is to make custom-made curtains. It is best if the curtains will be in a set with a curtain rod – if the design of bay windows is included in your design project, we can safely say that you acted exceptionally wisely.

How to hang curtains on a bay window?

In addition to choosing the draperies themselves for the bay window, you also have to determine precisely how you plan to hang them. There are not so many options for placing curtains on bay windows, so we have enough time to discuss all of them.

Three separate curtain rods with a pair of curtains on each

In this case, each window has its own separate curtain rod, on which independent curtain panels are placed, which practically do not interact with the neighboring ones. Some designers are pretty skeptical about this option since three pairs of curtains at once can significantly block the penetration of daylight. Still, in general, this design looks very harmonious and helps to set a fairly straightforward rhythm to the bay window.

Bending around the entire bay window

Suppose you need to compose a complete textile composition with a minimum number of panels. In that case, you will have to use a single curtain that frames the windows in the bay window at the very top and allows you to hang the number of draperies you need. In this case, the most affordable solution is flexible plastic curtain rods and hooks, which are inexpensive and invisible. This option goes well with light fabrics such as sheer or voile. However, such hooks simply cannot withstand a heavy material.

Metal curtain rods along the perimeter of the bay window are a spectacular solution but quite expensive. As a rule, such products are made to order, but you can choose not only the diameter and shade but also the design of the hooks, which will undoubtedly add chic.

Double window treatment

The combination of roller blinds or Roman blinds with conventional ones is a fairly common technique and more than attractive. This solution is most often used in classic interiors but is no less common in rooms with a bay window decorate in a modern and elegant style. In this case, you need to think over the base for placing the roller blinds tube on each window and the option of a curtain rod for draperies. Usually, a single rod with a bend around the entire bay window is used, although small individual curtain rods also look good if the curtains are plain or with a laconic pattern.


Roller blinds, sheer, and draperies – is it possible to combine all this in the bay window area? The designers are sure that there is nothing complicated in this – the main thing is to do it all right. As a rule, they act in the following sequence:

  • installation of roller blinds for each window in the bay window;
  • placing a veil or sheer in the form of narrow stripes in pairs on each window or in the openings between them;
  • hanging dense curtain fabrics on both sides of the bay window.

A condition that decorators insist on is a perfect combination of a roller shade and the color of an ordinary curtain. Only in this case, the whole composition will look harmonious and, at the same time, not at all heavy and cumbersome.

Types of curtains for bay windows

You can cover a bay window in almost any way that is attractive to you. The choice of curtains that will decorate your interior is no less expansive. You can consider various options – depending on what style your living room or bedroom is decorated in and how you see this room yourself.

Traditional fabric curtains

Perhaps it is difficult to say where such draperies would be inappropriate. You can decorate a bay window with such draperies in a classic living room, in a neoclassical dining room, and in a modern bedroom. The entire range of curtain fabrics is at your disposal, and you can choose any of the following options:

  • Sheer, veil, organza – are delightfully thin and transparent fabrics that can slightly dim daylight without hindering its penetration, and at the same time create an airy and somewhat mysterious atmosphere in both traditional and laconic modern styles.
  • Silk, satin, taffeta – refined and luxurious smooth fabrics with spectacular radiance. If you need the design of bay windows to match your exclusive interior, then you can safely order such draperies. Depending on your wishes, you can arrange them with free-flowing folds or add a beautiful pick-up.
  • Linen and cotton. Natural, soft-touch fabrics with a natural matte texture. These curtains will create a calm, pacifying atmosphere. In addition, light and even folds of natural fabric visually increase the height of the windows, making the bay window look brighter and more spacious.
  • Jacquard and tapestry. The densest and heaviest fabrics, draped with voluminous folds. They can be used only in classic interiors and only in spacious and large bay windows with windows of the appropriate size. Otherwise, the design may turn out to be too bulky and dark.


If you want to create additional protection from the sun (and this often happens when the bay window faces the south side), it is the blinds that will come to your rescue. Depending on the size and shape of the windows, you can choose both vertical and horizontal blinds, choose an automatic system on the control panel and, of course, choose the appropriate shade of lamellas as accurately as possible.

At the same time, designers insist that you should not use the blinds in bay windows independently; in their opinion, this design looks poor, commonplace, and too official. Even if the room with a bay window is made in the style of minimalism and does not imply excessive decor at all, take care of at least light panels made of veil or sheer – you will keep the laconicism at the same level but add much more comfort.

Roller blinds or Roman blinds

Roller blinds are the easiest way to regulate the flow of natural light into the bay window. Affordability and ease of installation and operation contribute to a significant increase in the demand for roller blinds as a modern and straightforward option for covering bay windows.

However, if you are looking for a more expressive decor, designers advise you to pay attention to Roman blinds, which have several advantages:

  • Elegant design. Airy and lush folds create a cozy and sophisticated atmosphere while being equally organic for both small and spacious bay windows.
  • Practicality. Roman blinds provide excellent control of the level of illumination and protect both from the sometimes relentless sunlight and prying eyes.
  • Simple installation and operation. Roman blinds can be easily mounted on each window and raised and lowered with a relatively light movement of the hand.
  • Self-sufficiency. Unlike the same blinds and roller blinds, Roman blinds are pretty effective in themselves, and therefore you do not even need to hang sheer curtains or draperies. Of course, you can complement them with fabric draperies, but even without them, the design of bay windows looks very harmonious.

French curtains

Romance, lightness, grace – smooth and ordered folds of French curtains will provide your interior with an expensive and spectacular look. As a rule, such draperies are made to order, which imparts no less exclusivity. The disadvantages of this curtain’s type include the high cost of sewing, complex maintenance, and the need to replace the draperies if you decide to update the room’s interior with a bay window.

Austrian curtains

Austrian curtains are similar to both Roman and French curtains at the same time. However, they differ from the latter in that they are much shorter and from the former, in the formation of volumetric folds only in the lower part of the curtain during assembly. Such curtains look elegant, weightless, and at the same time laconic, which allows them to cover a bay window in the living room or dining room in the classic, neoclassical, art deco, French country, or vintage style.

Curtain rods types for bay windows curtains

As you probably already understood, the difficulty in covering bay windows lies not only in selecting draperies – the selection of curtain rods can be just as troublesome. However, this problem also has some solutions: designers offer several types of curtain rods at once for the bay window curtains.

  • Classic. Conventional straight curtain rods made of metal or wood may only be suitable for separate bay windows treatment. With this design option, take care of buying or ordering a complete set of identical curtain rods: it is quite natural that different-colored rods are entirely inappropriate in this case.
  • Strings. Such curtain rods look like a strong and, at the same time, quite thick cable of a certain length – however, usually not shorter than 5-6 meters. It can be pulled with the formation of any angle, which allows you to adapt the curtain rod for a bay window of different configurations and hang curtains on it in two layers if the design project provides this.
  • Round. The main purpose of such curtain rods is bay windows, where curtains are supposed to be placed on one base for a more integral and balanced composition. A similar solution is relevant both for large living rooms and for more modest in size dining rooms with bay windows. Curtain rod can be made of metal, wood, or plastic, and, as a rule, they are made to order since for each bay window, it is required to bend the curtain rod in an arc with a certain radius.
  • Flexible. Curtain rods made of a bending profile (it can be metal or plastic) consist of several parts and are mounted on special brackets usually included in the kit. Among the advantages of flexible curtain rods are the adaptation to bay windows of various shapes and reliable fixation of any fabrics – from a weightless transparent to a dense and rather heavy tapestry.
  • Corner. Corner curtain rods are rather complex designs in which various nodes can be used – hubs, brackets, or rings. The rungs of such curtain rods are usually completed with elements for hanging curtain fabrics, which make up a single harmonious ensemble. Today, corner structures are considered relevant design solutions that can add originality to the interior.
  • Profile. A budget option, in demand on balconies and loggias with several windows. They are quite convenient to use, easy to install, inexpensive, but not always withstand operation for more than two seasons.

Stylish bay window treatment ideas

All these rules for covering the bay windows with curtains are not as strict as you might think. Today, designers allow much more eclecticism and imagination, which means that you can implement very bright and creative ideas. We will give examples of unusual designs below – perhaps they will inspire you to even more impressive ideas.

Contrasting frames

Sometimes you don’t need to use too many curtains to make your bay window look stylish. If you are a dedicated fan of minimalism, all you need to do is paint the frames in a dark glossy color and cover the bay windows with light roller blinds. Maximum elegance at minimum cost – impossible to resist!

More color

If the palette in which the room is decorated turned out to be too calm and neutral for you, feel free to hang floor-length curtains with a bright floral pattern on the bay windows. In this area, they will create an incredibly harmonious and expressive accent, but at the same time, they will not seem overly catchy thanks to the daylight penetrating through the fabric.

Start from the middle

The curtains on the bay windows are hung on the curtain rods located in the ceiling area – and this seems natural and the only possible option. However, designers propose to think broader – and try to place short panels from the middle of the windows. Thus, you kill two birds with one stone: allow daylight to enter the room unhindered and provide yourself with the important privacy. In addition, in this case, it will not work to mount a single curtain rod for three windows – each will need its crossbar.

Combine the design

The bay window curtains do not have to be plain color at all. Drawings, patterns, ornaments – all this is not only permissible but also quite welcome. However, suppose you manage to choose the pattern on the curtains precisely in the tone of other textiles present in the room. In that case, bedspreads, blankets, rugs, or tablecloths – the complete harmony of your interior will only be envied.

Use natural materials

Rattan curtains are an expressive accent for an interior that presupposes trendy environmental friendliness. Bay windows decorated in this way look cozy and authentic, turning into a specific reference to ethnicity. If you manage to combine the texture with the material of carpet or furniture, you can be sure that your interior is worthy of the spreads of the most famous design magazines.

Exactly in tone

If you are used to looking for the original in the simple, you can take the risk – and choose the bay window curtains exactly to match the color of the walls. Such a technique is stunning not only with its obviousness, but also with a variety of effects: firstly, a bay window with such curtains seems incommensurably larger; secondly, the interior looks holistic; and thirdly, you create a unique atmosphere of comfort, which is mainly in demand and relevant even in for children.

A little life hack: when choosing light curtains to match the walls, give preference to fabrics with the “blackout” effect – this way, you can feel comfortable in the evening, as well as in cases where you need exceptional privacy.

Spectacular bundles

Curtains gathered with curtain hooks have become one of the most popular solutions for bay window treatment. Usually, they are used symmetrically on both sides of the bay window, as well as in the space between windows, interspersed with light sheer fabrics. This solution preserves and emphasizes the attractiveness of the architectural element while providing comfort and classic elegance.

Panels and window valances

If you think it is impossible to implement such decor in a bay window, it’s time to expand your horizons! In fact, the window valances and panels on the tall bay windows give the interior an exclusive and majestic look and blend perfectly with classic furniture. However, as you probably understand, you will have to order them individually since there are hardly any such elements of textile decor on sale.

If you are the happy owner of a room with a bay window, then you can only envy your extensive design possibilities – both for windows and the room as a whole. If you find it challenging to navigate in the endless sea of draperies, blinds, and window valances, do not hesitate to consult with the designers. One way or another, the bay window treatment determines the mood of the entire interior!

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