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Window treatments for bay windows include Relaxed Roman Shades made of Andes in Fountain in a coastal-style nook
January 17, 2024

Window Treatments for Bay Windows

Bay windows are beautiful architectural features designed to bring more light into your home. These unique windows require the right window treatments to enhance their design while also providing better privacy and light control. Window treatments for bay windows come in a wide variety of styles and designs from Drapery to Shades and Blinds, but how do you choose the right option for your bay window?

First, make sure you understand what a bay window is and the different styles of bay windows to identify your particular window design. Then, learn about all your options for bay window treatments, including style options, customizations and more, plus, get inspiring ideas from curated examples of window treatments for bay windows.  

What Is a Bay Window?

A bay window typically has three angled windows that include a larger window in the center and two smaller windows angled towards it on either side. However, there are a few different styles of bay windows with variations on the same theme. The most common include three-sided bay windows, box bay windows, and oriel bay windows.

Window treatments for bay windows include Flat Roman Shades made of C.O.M. in a sitting area with a dark grey color scheme

Three-Sided Bay Window

A three-sided bay window is the classic shape most recognized when thinking of a bay window: Three angled windows of the same size in a semi-hexagonal design, or one larger window in the center of two smaller windows.

Pictured: Flat Roman Shades, Holland & Sherry, C.O.M., design by Kelly Hohla, photography by Douglas Friedman for the 2020 San Fransico Design Show Showhouse

Window treatments for bay windows include Relaxed Roman Shades made of Emerson in Shea in a farmhouse-style nook

Box Bay Window

Box bay windows feature a rectangular shape, typically with one large picture window in the center and two smaller windows on the side that meet the front window at a 90-degree angle, creating a box-like shape.

Pictured: Relaxed Roman Shades, Holland & Sherry, Emerson in Shea

Window treatments for bay windows include Relaxed Roman Shades made of Sheer Wool Blend in Cloud in an old-style oriel window

Oriel Bay Window

Oriel bay windows are typically found on older buildings. They protrude from the exterior and don’t touch the ground but are supported by a cantilever or corbels. They usually feature three windows in a semi-hexagonal design.

Pictured: Relaxed Roman Shades, Sheer Wool Blend in Cloud, design by Brownstone Voyeur, photography by Bernadett Pava

Window treatments for bay windows also work for bow windows including Tailored Pleat Drapery made of C.O.M material

what is a bow windodw?

A bow window is similar in structure to a bay window, but instead of angles, it’s curved and has four or five windows, all of which are usually the same size.

Even though this is a different style of window, the same window treatments for bay windows will also work for a bow window.

Pictured: Tailored Pleat Drapery, C.O.M., Lana in Ivory with Madison Track Hardware in Stainless Steel, design by Natasha Baradaran, photography by John Bessler for the 2022 Kips Bay Dallas Showhouse

Why Go with Custom Window Treatments for Bay Windows?

Bay windows feature a unique design with their angles, and premade window treatments may not be well-suited to the window sizes or the angles. Ill-fitting window treatments for bay windows will not only look unsightly but may not function correctly if the window treatment does not properly suit the application. That’s why it’s best to go with custom window treatments. Custom window treatments are made to measure and can be customized to suit your specific design preferences. They ensure a seamless and polished look that will enhance the beauty of your bay windows. Plus, they’re designed to function perfectly for the right privacy and light control.

Window Treatments for Bay Windows

When it comes to window treatments for bay windows, you have several types to choose from, including Shades, Blinds and Drapery. Plus, when you choose custom window treatments, you also have several other choices to make in terms of fabric, control type, lining and so much more.  

Learn more about your options for bay window treatments, as well as customization possibilities, plus, get ideas with inspiring examples of each type of window treatment.

Drapery for a Bay Window

Window treatments for bay windows include Pinch Pleat Drapery made of Silk Dupioni in Leaf for an inviting bright green color
Pictured: Pinch Pleat Drapery, Silk Dupioni in Leaf, designed for the 2019 Kips Bay NYC Showhouse

Drapery is an excellent choice as window treatments for bay windows, adding elegance and sophistication to your space. Drapery features long panels of fabric that can be made of a wide variety of fabrics, including cotton, velvet, silk, and linen. Find out more about the customizations for Drapery, how to hang drapes in a bay window and get inspiration for your own space.

Customizations for Drapery

  • Pleat stylePleat style refers to how the drapery is fashioned at the top of the panel. Options range from sleek, modern Ripple Fold Drapery to classic, traditional Pinch Pleat Drapery to elegant, dramatic Goblet Drapery and more, so you can find the right look for your room.
  • Fabric – Fabric for drapery ranges from luxurious silk to beautiful linen to performance synthetics like Sunbrella and so much more. Choosing the right fabric will depend on your aesthetic preferences as well as functionality, as some fabrics, like silk curtains, may need more maintenance than others like synthetics.
  • LiningLining can be added to your drapery panels to affect your light and privacy levels. Options include:
    • Privacy lining – offers excellent privacy but lets some light through.
    • Blackout lining – offers a room darkening effect and excellent privacy.
    • Interlining – A cotton flannel that can be added to either privacy or blackout lining for improved insulation.
  • Hardware Hardware is available as traditional rod and ring sets as well as modern track systems. Choosing the right one will depend on what pleat style you choose as well as your aesthetic and functional preferences.

Learn More About Drapery Customizations

Discover more about pleat styles, fabric options, lining additions and hardware to make your selections for bay window treatments.

How to Hang Curtains on a Bay Window

There are two main ways to hang curtains on a bay window, which include:

An illustration shows how drapery can be hung in each of the angles of a bay window so there are panels to cover each window

Inside the Alcove

Hanging your curtains inside the alcove means the curtain rod follows the shape of the angled windows. This method will require drapery hardware that can be angled or bent in a curve to follow the shape.

An illustration shows how drapery can be hung in front of the alcove of a bay window so the panels block it off when closed

Outside the Alcove

Hanging your curtains outside the alcove means installing the rod or track system on the wall or ceiling above the alcove. This means the alcove will be completely hidden when your drapery is closed.

How you decide to hang your drapery will also affect how you measure the length and width for ordering.

A professional window treatment installer measures a bay window before installing window treatments for bay windows

How to Measure for Drapery

For hanging curtains in the alcove of a bay window, you’ll need to measure the width from one end of your bay window, through the angles, to the other end. Be sure to keep the measuring tape within each angle to get an accurate width measurement.

If you’re hanging curtains outside the alcove, measure the width of the alcove opening, plus 12 inches on each side. This will ensure you can pull your curtains totally off the opening to expose the full bay window alcove.

For length, curtains should typically float just above the floor, or you can add a couple more inches, so they break or puddle on the floor.


Discover inspiring examples of bay window treatments featuring Drapery to determine if this option is right for you.

Shades & Blinds for a Bay window

Shades and Blinds are both excellent options for bay window treatments. Both can often be installed inside the window frame of each window, for a clean, tailored appearance. Plus, these window treatments for bay windows come in a wide range of options that will suit your aesthetic style as well as your light and privacy control needs.

Types of Window Shades

Explore types of shades for bay windows to get a sense of the styles available. All of these shades are suitable as window treatments for bay windows, so making your selection will depend primarily on your own preferences for aesthetics and functionality.

Types of Blinds

Blinds are another great option as window treatments for bay windows. Blinds come in two main categories: Wood Blinds and Metal Blinds. These Blinds feature tiltable horizontal slats that allow you to control your light and privacy with ease.

Window treatments for bay windows include Wood Blinds made of 2-inch Exotic in Zebrano which has lots of grain variation

wood blinds

Wood Blinds are made from sustainable American Basswood and deliver warm wood tones that add an inviting natural element to your space. Choose with a wide range of finishes, from simple painted wood design to complex exotic grains.

metal blinds

Metal Blinds are made from light, durable aluminum and offer modern, sleek look in several metallic finishes. These types of blinds are excellent as industrial-inspired window treatments for bay windows in a modern home.

Window treatments for bay windows include Metal Blinds made of 2-inch Metal in Champagne for a soft golden sheen

How to Hang Shades & Blinds on a Bay Window

Blinds and Shades can either be installed in an inside- or outside-mount application on your bay window. Regardless of mount type, you’ll typically have one shade or set of blinds to cover each window.

Window treatments for bay windows include a Waterfall Woven Wood Shade made of Bayshore in Parchment inside-mounted

inside mount

Inside-mount Blinds and Shades are installed inside the window box or window frame. This type of installation requires the window treatment to be secured to the top of the frame. Inside mounting is only possible if your window frame is deep enough to support your chosen type of Shades or Blinds in a secure mount. Typically, the depth requirement is ¾” for a secure mount but will be more for a flush inside mount.

A bay window features Waterfall Woven Wood Shades made of Cove in Beige, layered over Solar Shades in a family room

outside mount

Outside mount Blinds and Shades are those that are installed outside of the window box or window frame on either the wall or the ceiling above the window trim. This type of installation does not have a depth requirement and so is more flexible. However, for bay window treatments, be aware of the angles of your windows. Smaller angles may make it difficult to fit headrails next to each other without touching.

How to Measure for Blinds & Shades

Measuring for Blinds and Shades will vary depending on whether you choose an inside- or outside-mount application.

An illustration shows how to measure for inside-mounted window treatments by measuring three times for length and width

inside mount

For an inside mount, you typically want to take three measurements on each window for your width (top, middle, bottom) and length (left, middle, right). The largest number for your length will be your ordering length. The smallest number for width will be your ordering width. 

An illustration shows how to measure for outside-mounted window treatments by measuring once for length and width

outside mount

For an outside mount, you need to measure the area you want to cover. For width, measure the same distance on each side of the frame so your Shade or Blinds are centered on each window. For length, start at the point above your frame where you want the headrail to be installed and measure down just past the window frame. 


See curated bay windows with Shades and Blinds to get ideas for your own bay window treatments.

With all the insight into product options, measuring best practices and inspiring ideas, you may be wondering if you can also handle the installation yourself. Learn the basic best practices for installing window treatments for bay windows to get a sense of whether or not you’re comfortable DIY-ing the job.

Installing Window Treatments on a Bay Window

Installing window treatments for bay windows is very similar to any window treatment installation. As always, be sure to read the install instructions for your chosen window treatment before installation.

To give you a sense of the installation process for bay window treatments, follow these general best practices:

  • Step 1: Gather tools. You’ll typically need a stepladder, pencil, tape measure, level, drill and screwdriver, but check your window treatment’s specific install instructions for an exact list. 
  • Step 2: Measure and mark where your mounting brackets will go.  
  • Step 3: Install the brackets in the right place with the appropriate tools and indicated in the installation guide for your chosen window treatment. Attach the headrail to the brackets for Blinds and Shades, and for Drapery, hang the curtain rod or track system as well as your drapery panels. 

Ensure the Perfect Fit with Our Pros

When you choose window treatments for bay window from The Shade Store, you can count on our team of professionals to do the measuring and installation for you. Get started by scheduling a free measurement.

Make Your Selections for Bay Window Treatments

With all the insight you need regarding window treatments for bay windows, including product options, customizations and inspiration, you’re ready to make your final selections. Visit your local showroom to experience interactive product displays and all your material options in person. Plus, our expert Design Consultants will be ready to assist you with answering all your questions and guiding you toward the right choice for your home.

A round white table with cream chairs sits in a custom window treatment showroom with drapery, shades and blinds displayed.


Visit your local showroom for interactive displays of all our products, 1,200+ premium material swatches and helpful Design Consultants ready to assist you.