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Article: Furnishing Bay Windows – Your Essential Guide

Furnishing Bay Windows – Your Essential Guide

Bay windows, originally ornate additions to properties to add more space, let more light in and increase views, have become a favourite architectural feature and are still commonplace in today’s architecture. When faced with furnishing a bay window the ‘one size fits all’ approach unfortunately doesn’t work. So, where do we start when addressing the need for privacy or room darkening and how do we decide upon a suitable furnishing solution? Our guide will outline the options available and key considerations when furnishing your bay window.

Bay Window Curtains

Curtains are a popular choice, they block out light and draughts and soften the look of a room, plus add decoration. Curtains can be fully functional, drawing around the bay and covering the entire window. This can be achieved with one pair of curtains or multiple curtain panels, depending on the curtain hardware. Dress curtains which remain open all the time are also a popular choice. In this scenario blinds provide the functional aspect of the window dressing.

curtains for bay windows

Bay window curtain pole fixings may restrict how far around the bay the curtains are able to draw. Additional curtain panels can be hung within the bay to draw across each individual window panel. A bay pole with passing rings and brackets, or a bendable curtain track, is ideal if one pair of curtains is required to draw around the entire bay unobstructed. This is often the most effective solution.

If the installation of a curtain track or pole within the bay isn’t an option, curtains can be mounted outside the bay window and drawn straight across the front of the bay. However, this will lose the additional space the bay offers when the curtains are closed as it will effectively cut the bay off from the rest of the room.

Dress curtains can enable the window to look furnished, with the addition of blinds at each window panel to provide the more functional aspects such as privacy, room darkening and insulation. It is important to ensure that the dress curtains are full enough so they look in proportion to the size of the window and not obviously faux.

Blinds for Bay Windows

Roman blinds in bay window

Blinds are a great way to furnish bay windows. They are simple, neat, and effective and work equally well as a standalone window treatment or combined with curtains. Roman blinds are a good option but can be the costliest as they are labour intense and tend to be handsewn, however, they require minimal fabric compared to curtains. It should be noted that there can be considerable light bleed when using Roman blinds in a bay window as there is often a gap where the blinds butt up which is to allow for the folds when the blinds are raised.

Roller blinds are a good choice for giving privacy and are available with the option of blackout, UV / heat repellent and can also be reverse rolled to prevent the backing fabric from showing on the roller mechanism. Roller blinds can provide a seamless and simple furnishing solution and are straightforward to install.

roller blinds for bay windows

Other types of blinds available in standard sizes and made to measure are Venetians (slatted blinds) and day night blinds. Both offer little in the way of decoration and can be quite harsh but are very effective for providing privacy whilst retaining visibility.  

Bay Window Curtain Poles and Tracks

Opting for a bay window curtain pole can make a real design statement, showcasing the window and coordinating with other interior fittings. Such curtain poles are available in numerous colours, pole diameters, materials and with different finial styles, so there is something to suit every interior scheme.

Generally, metal bay poles are available in kit form or made to measure. The bay curtain pole kits contain various pole lengths, flexible corner joints which connect and angle the poles, plus passing ‘C’ rings and passing brackets. These kits tend to be available in limited styles though, the quality can be inferior, and the finished result may not function as smoothly as a made to measure bay window curtain pole. This is reflected in the price though, with bay pole kits being the cheapest method of achieving an angled curtain pole within a bay window.

bay curtain pole kit swish

Having a bay window curtain pole bent to fit your bay window dimensions can achieve a very satisfactory look and will enable one pair of curtains to draw smoothly around the entire bay. Such made to measure bay poles don’t necessarily require professional measuring and installation. With the aid of a checklist and bay window measuring guide, it is possible to take the appropriate measurements so a specialist curtain pole manufacturer can calculate the angles and bend the pole accordingly.

A professional curtain pole fitter can be employed to make the installation process easier but for someone who is competent at DIY and confident with a drill, the installation of a made to measure bay window curtain pole would be within their capability. Having a bespoke curtain pole made does have a higher cost implication but this is reflected in the quality of the product and the level of functionality, there is also a greater choice of design options.

Wooden bay window curtain poles are more niche, and we recommend hiring a specialist for the surveying and installation of this type of curtain hardware. Wooden poles are available with mitred corners to shape the pole into the bay. However, passing rings and passing brackets are not available with a wooden pole and so multiple curtain panels would be required to hang within the bay as they would not draw beyond the pole supports.

Hunter and Hyland wooden bay window curtain poleTracked wooden curtain poles can be custom made and installed. These would have all the benefits of a curtain track but with the appearance of a wooden curtain pole, therefore great for making a bold statement as wooden poles are available in thicker diameters and a lot of different finishes. A costly but very impressive furnishing solution.

Using a bay window curtain track may be a last resort for some. Preconceptions of cheap white plastic tracks or thinking a track wouldn’t create such visual impact should be a thing of the past. The furnishing world is constantly evolving, and the humble curtain track has undergone a revamp. Not only do curtain tracks offer all the functionality required, they can now also have the appearance of a curtain pole.

Bay window curtain tracks come in numerous colours, including the new stylish black metal curtain tracks, there’s also the option of decorative finials. What’s more these tracks are bendable, super strong and available in connectable lengths, thus fitting the bay window perfectly and allowing one pair of heavy curtains to draw smoothly around an entire bay window without being obstructed by supports. So, what’s not to love about the new style bay window curtain tracks?

bay window curtain track by cameron fuller

Furnishing Bow Windows

Options for furnishing bow windows may appear slightly more limited unless custom curved. Standard curtain poles will not work with this type of window unless mounted across the front of the bow window, thus cutting it off from the room when the curtains are drawn. As well custom curved curtain poles other solutions include pelmet boards with a concealed curtain track and tracked curtain poles.

Bay window curtain tracks which can be bent at the time of installation and would be a good option for a bow window as a continuous curve can be achieved without any professional assistance. These tracks can be wall or ceiling fixed. It should be noted though that curtain tracks are not compatible with eyelet headed curtains.

We hope this article has helped you establish possible furnishing solutions for your bay window. If there’s further information you require about any bay window tracks, poles or blinds please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can specify suitable products from dimensions and photos you are able to provide of your bay window. We also have other solutions available which are not yet listed on our website.


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