Bay windows are incredibly desirable features in any property – perhaps they were what made you fall in love with your home in the first place. But deciding how to dress them can be tricky.
These beautiful windows are famed for letting lots of natural light into your home, though this can present its own challenges with light control and privacy.
Thankfully there are lots of fantastic practical and aesthetic options available to help you solve your décor dilemma.
We’ve pulled together some stunning window dressing ideas that will make the most of your space and turn your bay into a beautiful focal point.
1. Choose Full-Length Shutters for Full Coverage
Full-length shutters are the perfect partner to elegant bay windows, complementing any interior style. The aesthetic appeal of shutters is undeniable, but they are practical and versatile too.
Full-length shutters cover your whole windows and provide total privacy without completely darkening your room. You can enjoy excellent light control by tilting the slats and filtering light as needed throughout the day.
Shutters have fantastic insulating properties, helping to keep rooms warmer in winter and cooler in the summer.
You can also open your windows to let air in and keep the shutters closed – protecting your privacy without having to worry about blinds blowing and knocking against your window frames.
Because full-length shutters cover your windows, you don’t need to add curtains. For an ultra-sophisticated and contemporary space, pair white shutters with deep blue walls and brass accents. The bold contrast will allow your shutters to become a feature all on their own.
2. Create a Relaxed Vibe With Café-Style Shutters
Relaxed café-style shutters make the most of your space by providing privacy while also letting plenty of light in – and looking incredibly stylish too.
These shutters cover the lower half of your window only, leaving the light to flow through the top of your window all day long.
They are ideal if your windows are at street level or if you live on a busy road, as it means you can enjoy both natural light and privacy at the same time.
Café-style shutters are a great choice if you have ornate upper windows (such as stained glass or Georgian bars) as they allow the beautiful detailing to be seen.
They offer great flexibility, allowing you to enjoy the views outside without feeling like you are in a goldfish bowl. If you want to enjoy completely unobstructed views, you can fold your shutters neatly away to the sides.
Because café-style shutters don’t cover the entire window, you may want to add curtains in bedrooms to block out the early morning sun. But if your shutters are in living spaces, you might find curtains aren’t necessary.
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3. Enjoy Ultimate Flexibility With Tier-On-Tier Shutters
Tier-on-tier shutters offer the best of both worlds and ultimate flexibility. They feature two shutter panels, with one on top of the other, covering the full length of your window. You can open one or both panels to suit your needs.
It means you can enjoy the look of full-length shutters in your space while having the option to completely open the top half if you wish, creating a café-style effect and letting light flood in.
They are perfect for bedrooms and bathrooms, bringing maximum light control and providing privacy at the same time.
In living spaces, the flexibility of tier-on-tier shutters means you can enjoy the view while avoiding glare on your television screen. You can also let fresh air into your room by opening your windows, but keeping the shutters closed to block out the hot sunshine.
4. Create a Traditional Look With Wooden Venetian Blinds
Create a traditional look in your home with wooden Venetian blinds.
A more affordable alternative to shutters, they enhance wooden frames as, unlike shutters, they allow the window frames to be seen. Perfect if you have decorative timber frames you’re keen to show off.
They are incredibly strong and durable and will last for many years. Wood is also easy to keep clean – regular dusting is all that’s needed to help keep them looking as good as the day you installed them.
Wood is an excellent insulator – these blinds will help keep your room warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
But perhaps the greatest advantage of wooden Venetian blinds is their timeless appeal. The classic look of wooden slats complements a range of decorative styles – even if your tastes change over time.
5. Enjoy the Best of Both With Day and Night Roller Blinds
Made up of two moveable layers of fabric, day and night roller blinds are extremely flexible. One opaque and one sheer layer create a modern striped appearance.
They work in a similar way to louvred blinds allowing you to control levels of light and privacy.
They are an excellent choice for street-level windows or for rooms where you might be overlooked. The opaque-sheer position gently filters light and provides daytime privacy, and the opaque-opaque position blocks out light for complete privacy.
Thanks to the sheer fabric, they provide a soft, minimalist finish and texture for your windows. Perfect for contemporary spaces. And you can even install motorised options to make life that little bit easier.
For a versatile and timeless look, choose your day and night blinds in a neutral beige colour pallet and coordinate your curtains (if desired) to match. Opt for simple white walls and add pops of colour in throws and cushions for a chic yet inviting space.
6. Craft a Contemporary Space With PVC Venetian Blinds
PVC Venetian blinds have all the advantages of wooden Venetians and can look just as attractive, but they are made from durable plastic.
They are a good choice for kitchens and busy areas of your home as they are non-porous and don’t hold on to odours as much as other fabrics might. You can also order them in an array of colours and finishes.
Glossy white PVC Venetians are a cost-savvy way of achieving a contemporary and sleek look but without the heavy price tag of shutters. Pair them with neutral floor-length curtains for a softer edge, or hang them alone to create a clean and modern vibe in your room.
7. Add Warmth With Roman Blinds
Craft a beautifully soft look for your bay by hanging Roman blinds on each window. Roman blinds are some of the simplest window coverings, but they can completely transform a space while being practical too.
They bring timeless and versatile style – they go with anything, anywhere. The fabric can be patterned or plain, and they can be paired with curtains if desired.
Because they overlap the edges of the window, when closed there are no gaps to let light filter, offering complete coverage when you need it. And the nature of their fabric means they’re great for keeping heat in too.
Roman blinds don’t offer the same levels of light control as Venetians or shutters, but by having a blind at each window you can follow the sun and raise the blinds at different heights to let light in where needed and avoid glare on your screens.
And when it comes to colour selection, have you heard beige is the new beige? Choose a neutral colour for a timeless look that will extend the life of your Roman blinds.
Neutral Roman blinds will work whether your room is Scandi white, earthy green or Georgian blue.
8. Let Your Windows Steal Focus With Discreet Roller Blinds
Roller blinds are a great cost-effective solution to your bay window dressing dilemma. Depending on the shape and size of your windows, you may need to have them made to measure.
They are compact and discreet as they roll away at the top – ideal if you like having unobstructed views out of your bay window. You can also pair them with curtains for additional warmth and softness.
Like Roman blinds, roller blinds don’t offer the same level of flexibility as shutters or Venetians, but by having a blind at each window you can control the light where it’s needed.
There is a huge array of colours and fabrics to choose from. For maximum impact, opt for roller blinds with a statement pattern and team this with a plain curtain in a complementary colour at each side of the bay.
Or for an effortlessly sleek style, paint your walls and woodwork white and choose white roller blinds to match. The simplicity of the design will allow your bay to be a beautiful centrepiece.
9. Enjoy Luxury With One Large Pair of Curtains
For some, no bedroom or living space is complete without curtains. You can pair your curtains with blinds or shutters or simply hang them alone.
A luxurious lined pair of curtains can bring warmth and a cosy vibe to your space while adding that finishing touch to your bay. They also soften the acoustics of the room and help to retain heat when drawn.
If your bay is an awkward shape, you can buy flexible plastic curtain tracks that can be screwed into the ceiling or wall, and you can shape the curves to suit your bay. Alternatively, you can have bespoke curtain poles made to fit your window, but this will cost more.
Once you have the rail figured out, the biggest decision is your colour and fabric! Choose a neutral colour such as beige or dove grey for a pallet that transcends schemes, ensuring your curtains will outlast your wall colour.
For bedrooms, add a blackout layer for ultimate light control during those bright summer days.
10. Create Opulence With Two Pairs of Curtains
If you’re finding it tricky to track down curtains that are wide enough for your bay, you could hang two pairs.
For a three-window bay, hang one pair of curtains at the middle window, and one curtain at the left and right sides. This will draw focus to your beautiful bay and create a deliciously opulent look.
For the perfect finishing touch, invest in some coordinating tie-backs for your curtains and position the hooks high to create an elegant drape. You could even add a pelmet around the top of the window to create a seamless and sophisticated look.
11. Solid Shutters Are Perfect for Period Homes
It really is hard to beat the look of solid shutters for period homes. With their timeless style, they exude class and character.
With solid shutters, you don’t have as much light control as you would with their slatted sisters. But they are perfect for bedrooms, offering maximum light reduction, extra insulation, and noise reduction.
They are a fantastic alternative to blackout blinds or curtains, providing the same practical advantages but with the added bonus of a stunning aesthetic.
Another great advantage of solid shutters is the flexibility you have with colours – and don’t feel like you have to play it safe with white.
For a spectacularly dramatic look, colour drench your room, matching the colour of your shutters to your walls, ceiling roses, picture rails, and skirting boards.
It’s a daring and brilliantly bold technique that enhances the room you’ve got – creating something that’s inviting and spacious.
12. Hang Curtains Across the Front of the Bay
For a simple but practical solution, try hanging curtains across the front of your bay window. Depending on your walls or ceilings around the bay, position a curtain pole or track above the bay.
It’s an ingenious way of creating zones in your space too. Imagine a super cosy window seat hidden behind a curtain where you could curl up with a good book and watch the world go by.
Or if your bay is also home to a desk and computer, it’s a great way of closing that workspace off come the end of a long day.
Hang a heavy, lined pair of curtains across the bay and it’s a great way to retain some extra warmth in your room too.
Alternatively, hang sheer fabric across the bay for a more subtle look that still provides privacy during the day.
13. Choose Half-Window Roller Blinds for a Cost-Effective Solution
One of the drawbacks with roller blinds is, that it’s all or nothing when it comes to creating privacy – but not with half-window rollers!
If you have sash (or sash-effect) windows, hang your roller blinds on the top frames of the lower windows. This will provide you with much-needed privacy, while still allowing light to enter through the top half of the window.
Choose roller blinds in a colour that complements your walls to create a smooth flow and enhance the feeling of space in the room.
14. Combine Your Curtains With Shutters for Flexibility
Pair full-length curtains with café shutters for unrivalled flexibility. Café shutters allow you to enjoy light and privacy throughout the day while adding a beautiful pair of curtains can transform your room into a snug and homely space come the evening.
Aside from the stunning aesthetic, the other major advantage of pairing shutters with curtains is that you will enjoy double the insulation. Ideal if your home is on the chilly side.
15. Coordinate Your Window Seat
Make the most of the space you have by installing a window seat. It’s a great way to add extra seating to an under-used area while dressing your windows beautifully.
Use coordinating fabrics and colours in your room to pull the whole look together. This will draw your eye to your window and the view outside, creating a sense of space.
A cosy window seat is a lovely spot to sit and watch the world go by. You can even include hidden storage underneath the seating – perfect for families when you want to hide away toys and gadgets or store away blankets and throws.
16. Hang Sheer Curtains for Subtle Privacy
We know what you’re thinking – but we’re not talking about the net curtains of old you may be familiar with.
Hang simple, sheer fabric on a simple rail at your windows to gently filter light and provide subtle daytime privacy.
Choose fabric that is longer than you need to create an elegant gathered effect at the floor. The look you have is old Hollywood glamour at its finest.
You can also add heavier lined curtains to draw on an evening for total privacy and to help retain warmth in your room.
What’s the Best Way to Dress a Bay Window?
How to dress a bay window comes down to personal preference – the overall look you hope to create, as well as what is most important to you.
If you crave privacy during the day but don’t want to fully block your windows off, then you can’t go wrong with adjustable louvres. Shutters and Venetian blinds offer excellent light control and versatility – and they look incredibly stylish too.
On the other hand, if privacy during the day isn’t your primary concern and you prefer a cosier feel, curtains and fabric blinds can be a great option.
Good quality lined curtains can be an excellent investment, helping to retain heat in your room as well as providing a homely aesthetic and complete privacy when they are drawn.
Things to Consider When Choosing Bay Window Curtains:
1. Using a Track
If you have a bay window you might want to consider installing a curtain track rather than a pole.
One advantage tracks have over poles is that they allow the curtains to easily glide around each corner without any fabric catching or getting trapped. This makes tracks ideal for bay windows where you have angles to navigate on a daily basis.
Another benefit of using a track is that your fabric will stay more uniform – sets of pleats can be hooked directly onto the track at even points. This allows your curtains to hang elegantly however they are being used.
2. Choosing the Size of Your Curtains
Choosing the right length of curtain is crucial. If your bay area flows straight to the floor, select a full-length curtain drop – it will look fantastic while also retaining as much heat as possible.
If you have a radiator within the bay, you may want to opt for a shorter length so that the heat isn’t blocked.
When measuring the width of curtains, the general rule is to buy curtains at least twice as wide as the measurements of your track or pole. This will make sure your curtains have a lovely full gather.
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