Bay or Bow Windows: Which Is Right for Your Home?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Custom Window System Exterior HomeYou recently decided to replace the windows in your living room or kitchen. The room requires more light, which means that you need a larger and grander window. You also want your room to have more color and texture, so you need to add a feature that adds visual interest. To that end, you have elected to install either a bay or bow window.

Both window replacement types seem identical at first glance. Both protrude slightly into the yard and give your home an old-world feel. Both windows also give you extra shelf or sill space on the interior side. They also offer similar benefits, like a wider view and more sunlight.

Because these windows seem so similar, you may struggle to choose between them. We want to make this decision as easy as possible for you. Read below to find a basic purchasing guide for bay and bow windows.

Bay Vs. Bow Windows: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Upon closer inspection, you might notice that bay and bow windows actually have a few differences. We will outline the shape, size, and style of bay windows first.

Bay Windows

This window feature usually consists of three separate windows in different sizes. The window in the middle measures larger than the ones on either side of it. The side windows, called flankers, sit at an angle to the center window and give the entire feature a three-dimensional effect. The windows' angle can fall anywhere between 30 and 40 degrees.

Bay windows come with different installation types as well. You can make all three windows fixed, or you may let all three of them open. You may also choose to have only the side windows open and leave the center one fixed.

You get to decide which configuration best fits your needs. In any case, the large center window will give you a wide, unobstructed view of your backyard and the landscape beyond.

Bow Windows

Bow windows look similar to bay windows, but they have an entirely different aesthetic. For example, they consist of three to seven windows with a uniform size and spacing. They do not sit at angles either. Rather, they create a curved, bow-like shape that flares out into extra sill space. Bow windows also tend to protrude less than their bay counterparts, but you can change how much space your window requires based on your preference.

Additionally, most homeowners opt for fixed bow windows, but you can also ask your installer if you may have all or some of them open. Many homeowners like to have casement-style bow windows, which means the windows open out and up instead of sliding.

The Stylistic Differences of Bay Windows and Bow Windows

Bay and bow windows create different themes and styles in your living space. Therefore, if you want to create a certain atmosphere in your home, you need to choose the option that best enhances that style. We will outline the aesthetic that each of these windows creates below.

Bay Windows

As we mentioned previously, the bay option features fewer windows and more angles. As a result, it has sharp, simple, clean lines. It can help you accent a modern or minimalist style in your home. Additionally, if your house has a unique style that uses a lot of straight lines, bay windows give you the best solution that will integrate into your space.

Bow Windows

Because bow windows have a more curved shape, they suit a Victorian, medieval, or even floral style better than bay windows. If you want to create soft, sweeping shapes with your interior décor, choose the bow option.

With the information above, you can now choose between bay and bow windows when you schedule this project with your installer.

If you have any further questions about space requirements or care and maintenance, ask your windows expert for more information.

Alexandra 9/29/2015

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