Windows are the eyes of the home: They illuminate open spaces and dark corners with natural light, and they are major influence on crafting the mood or atmosphere of a home. As you explore window options for your new home, consider the bay window.
Bay windows are a beautiful addition to any home, as they add an expanse of natural light and give the illusion of a much larger room. Having a larger window, like a bay window, glows up even the smallest design touches: textures, textiles, colors and surfaces. This window type also does double duty on the exterior by showcasing a home’s aesthetic from the outside in. So if you’re looking for a way to create a bigger design impact without changing the size of a room, a bay window is a proven way to flip any space’s perception.
Like many window offerings on the market, bay windows come in a variety of styles and options. Whether you’re commissioning a builder or searching on your own, we rounded up the best tips and tricks for incorporating a bay window into your new home.
Before You Begin
What should you know before you begin this process? It’s essential to consider these key factors with your builder or contractor before buying any materials or supplies:
- Size and shape of the bay window
- Bay window styles
- Materials and supplies needed
- Budget for the window
You can review these points with your builder to get the clearest and most accurate pricing for a specific bay window for your home.
Bay Window Versus Bow Window
Bay and bow windows are similar natural light sources that can amplify your home. They are classic window structures that extend beyond the exterior wall to create a design feature that will elevate any home for years to come. Essentially, they’re great investments but with a few notable differences.
Bay windows are traditionally composed of one large fixed window, flanked by a smaller angled window on each side. This window works well in exterior walls of 40 inches or more. Bay windows are typically featured in classic shapes: square, rectangular or hexagonal.
Bow windows are a bit larger, which include four (or more) windows that work best in corners or exterior walls of 80 inches or bigger. Bow window shapes are wider but similar to bay windows, and are a popular choice for corner window units. These windows also can have the ability to open or shut, and either window style can be configured as double-hung or single-hung, meaning double or single windows.
Here are some common window shapes for both bay and bow windows so discuss with your builder which one would work best with the architecture and size of your home:
- Box — Contains a flat front window and side windows at a 90-degree angle, similar in shape and style to canted. Box styles commonly also feature window seats or storage.
- Bow — Curving window panes that settle into a bow shape.
- Bungalow-style — A typical bay window, such as canted or box, but constructed for a bungalow home.
- Canted — A popular shape most commonly found in bay windows. The center, focal window is flat-facing with angled side windows.
- Circle — A large, rounded window style with additional window panes compared to the canted style.
- Oriel — This style is typically featured on the upper level of the side of a house and supported by corbels or brackets.
The bottom line depends on the materials used and size of the window. A bay or bow window can start at a few thousand dollars, but pricing can reach upward of $10,000 to $15,000. Bow windows, due to their larger size, tend to be more expensive.
Bay Window Seating Options
One of the sweetest bay window features? It offers one of the best seats in the house! There are three classic window seat options to consider for your bay window. Decide which one fits best with your new home and lifestyle:
- Box — Similar to box-style windows, this seat is a completely enclosed box that can also offer hidden storage with a hinged top. Box seating can be topped with custom cushions and pillows for extra coziness.
- Cabinetry — If you’re all about customization, cabinetry is your speed. Almost like a bookcase, cabinetry offers modular pieces to mix and match seating and storage options around the bay window. These pieces can be permanently installed by your builder as well.
- Shelf — This is a no-fuss shelf bench constructed under the window. The bench does not have trunk-style storage but leaves ample room for bins and boxes.
Windows operate best and stand the test of time when they’re sealed properly. No matter the style you go for, make sure that all precautions are taken so the window can withstand any seasonal or weather changes. And look for Energy Star windows to help keep cooling and heating bills budget-friendly over the long haul.
Stephanie Valente is a Content Director and Editor in Brooklyn, NY. She’s previously held writing and social media positions at Barkbox, Men’s Journal, and currently works at a full-service advertising agency. She’s a self-confessed home and design enthusiast. Stephanie is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. When she’s offline, you can find her taking a yoga class, running, hanging out with her rescue dog Pepper. Find her on stephanievalente.com.