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8 Perfect Ideas for Bay Window Curtains

Buying Guide for Choosing Curtains for your Bay Windows with Tips & Ideas

By Blake Lockwood | Curated by Blake Lockwood | Reviewed by Blake Lockwood

Blake Lockwood, the seasoned interior designer behind Decor Snob, has made a name for himself with over 30 years of industry experience. As a member of esteemed associations such as the NCIDQ, CIDA, NAAB, and CCIDC, he upholds high standards in his work.  His content is always people-first, reliable, and engaging.

Does your bay window need curtains? There are so many fabric and decorating options to choose from. It can be difficult to decide which window treatment is just right for your bay windows. So I put together this Helpful Buying Guide with Tips, Ideas, and Advice for choosing the best curtains and curtain rods for your bay windows.

To help you decide what window treatments are right for your bay windows, you should first decide what you want to use your bay window for.

Think About How You Use Your Bay Window

bay window curtain ideas

Is it a Decorative Space?

If your bay windows are mainly decorative, hanging a bay window curtain is a great option. The curtain will be able to close in front of the display, allowing you to have privacy whenever you like while also allowing your display to be seen from the outside.

A Lounging Space?

Perhaps you use the window as a nice place to sit and read. If so, panel curtains would suit you best. The panels can be lowered to any length you like. They are also easy to adjust to suit your needs, making them the perfect option for a lounge area.

A Storage Space?

If you are going to use your bay window for storage, consider fitted curtains that wrap around your bay windows. This will give your bay windows a comfortable feeling while making it easy for you to open and close the storage area when needed.

Imagine the Look You Want

bay window curtain treatment ideas

Do you want a Cozy Look?

To get a cozy look for your living room or bedroom, use a combination of both normal and panel curtains. The normal curtains go on either side of the bay window as decoration and the panel curtains cover each individual window for privacy and to block sunlight. This combination allows you to have fun with colors and designs and also control how much light gets into the room.

A Bold Look?

To give your bay windows a bold look, use a decorative print for the curtains and a solid color for the panel curtains. Reverse this idea to give a fun and creative vibe to the room. Another way to achieve this look is to mix and match the materials of the curtains. Using bamboo panel curtains and canvas hanging curtains gives a room a wild look and a laid-back vibe.

An Unobstructed View?

If you aim to impress and you want an unobstructed view of the ocean or to a panoramic view of the city, and let in lots of light, choose white curtains or treatments that frame your windows. There are many bay window treatments that provide this look, such as large drapes, window valances, or floor to ceiling curtain panels.

Determine the Best Curtains to Use

curtain ideas for bay windows,

Drapery Panels

Drapery panels are mounted along the return walls of the window, extending from the ceiling to the floor in long flowing lengths. These should be able to close efficiently when needed. They should frame the bay windows and allow you an unobstructed view.

Soft Silk Panels

Soft silk panels are great for shading bay windows. They update the appearance of any height or width of your bay windows. Make your windows more dramatic and contemporary looking by using fabric tape or a braid to gather the curtains halfway down. Your bay windows will have a classic style and provide a view of the scenery outside without revealing the inside.


Mounting a formal valance is easy to do and provides a beautiful upper frame for bay windows. This goes well with tall or short areas and are be perfect for windows with shutters. Tie the room together by choosing color-coordinated fabrics with other design elements in the room like pillowcases, rugs, and bedding if you are dressing up your bay window space.

Flat Roman Shades

Hang flat roman shades to frame the window and at the same time provide privacy. Roman shades are also easy to install and easy to clean. You can also find roman shades in many different colors, textures, and lengths, which will fit any size or length of a bay window in any room of the house.

Considerations When Picking Out Curtains for Bay Windows

Curtains for Bay Windows

Color Coordination

You can match your curtain colors with the rest of the fabric in the room to create a unified effect. One method is to match pillowcase and rug colors with your window curtains or match with the wall color. Remember that window treatments this large can make a huge impact in your room and so they should complement other items inside the room as well.

How Can They Be Cleaned?

When you choose bay window treatments, think about how easy or difficult they are to clean. Curtains made of cotton or polyester can go in the washing machine and are easy to clean. Shades such as roman shades are a little harder to clean, but you can simply use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and have them professionally cleaned once a month.

Choose a Type of Bay Window Curtain Rods

bay window curtain rods

Adjustable or Custom?

After you choose your curtains, decide if you want to buy an adjustable curtain rod or if you want to have a rod made specifically for your bay window. While purchasing curtain rods that are specifically made for your bay windows, they are usually more expensive. Your custom curtain rods will have an elegant and clean look, and they will be much sturdier and work better than an adjustable curtain rod.

Coordinating Materials

Both adjustable and custom-made curtain rods are made out of all sorts of materials. Wood creates a warm and homey feeling, while chrome and steel curtain rods go well with a modern and contemporary look.

Add Curtain Rod Ends

Also consider the ends of the curtain rods, as these are a great way to add a hint of style and flair to your room. You can find hundreds of decorative metal ends for your curtain rods that fit any décor and any household.

Learn How to Hang Curtains on your Bay Window and what tools and mounting brackets to use for the rod you choose.

How Do You Buy Curtains for Bay Windows?

bay window curtain treatments

There are no easy solutions to solving your bay window treatment needs. For a perfect fit, you will need the services of an expert tailor to design and sew curtains, drapes, or shades for you. Bay windows differ in size, shape, and depth so they usually need to be custom made.

Only an expert tailor will be able to create the most suitable window treatment solution that will maximize the size and the length of the bay windows that you have.

The Design Process

A tailor will usually come to your home and take some measurements. They will also consult with you if you have any particular curtain designs in mind. A tailor will help you find the ideal material to use for your windows, and this material should fit the other fabric inside the room.

It should also be easy to care for and clean. A tailor will also help tie the room together by using fabrics of complimenting colors, shapes, and designs.

Bay Window Treatments

Alternatives to Using a Tailor

If you can’t afford to hire a tailor, there are other options. There are many premade curtains and shades available, but you may find that none of these options are an exact fit for the size and shape of your window, especially if the window is a unique size.

For example, you may not be able to buy drapes that hang perfectly between the curtain rod and the floor; there might be a gap, or they could be too long. It is very important to get the exact measurements of your windows before you shop for premade curtains and shades so that you can ensure the closest fit possible.

With all the options and ideas for bay windows, curtains, shades, and curtain rods, you can now make the perfect choice for your windows with just a little research. Take all these tips into consideration when picking out your curtains and you’ll be sure to find something that suits your windows and your home.

Photo: Paul Craig Photography
Photo: Marcye Philbrook
Photo: Andres Perea-Garzon at The Corcoran Group
Photo: Lisette Voute Designs
Photo: BostonHaus
Photo: WN Interiors.
Photo: Sigmar

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One Response

  1. Until now we went for the no-curtains look and it worked well, I love all the light. Recently someone moved in the house across the street that’s been on the market for years so curtains it is I need my privacy, right? I was thinking of going for something grey or off-white – the walls are white – but I can’t seem to find the right fabric for this, they’re too sheer.

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