Friday, February 23, 2018

Window treatments for Bay Windows…What you need to know before you buy

Open type bay. Wall above, below and several inches of wall between the frames.

I have seen a lot of good information on the Internet offering suggestions based on needs and style for window treatments for bay windows. It is pointed out that window treatments for bay windows in the front of your house looking out into a street may be different than the rear overlooking a yard or mountain range. But what I have not found any where is the problems encountered with window treatments for bay windows that are not realized until after everything is bought and paid for. 

Box type bay. No wall space above or below and very little room between windows.

“There are two types of bay windows I mostly find. One is what I call the open type (see picture at right “open type bay”). Thats where you have a foot or so of wall space above and below the windows and several inches of wall space between the frames. The second type is what I referred to as the box type (see picture at right “box type bay”). This is usually enclosed with no wall space above or below and very little space between the frames.”

What you have to be careful about is how much space there is between the windows. Rule of thumb is the bigger the headrail (top part of the window treatment), the bigger the gap between the treatments.

Sheer shades on bay. Bigger the headrail the bigger the gap between them

So lets say you want sheer shades or silhouettes. This type of treatment has almost a 3 inch headrail ( see picture at right “sheer shades on bay”). If these were regular windows side by side the gap would be about and inch. But because there are on an angle the gap increases. This allows more light to come through and you will have less privacy, “If you can see someone outside with your shades down then they can also see you”.

A treatment with a smaller headrail closes up this gap. Wood blinds are good and cellular shades are even better because their headrail is smaller.

Another issue with window treatments for bay windows are on the two outer ends, how much privacy they offer. Some folks don’t have privacy issues but some do especially if the bay window is in your bedroom. In the picture above (box bay type) notice the left end. You can see the glass behind the treatment which means someone can see in. It’s not much in this case because this is a cellular shades and sits close to the glass. If this were a sheer shade or sihoulette that space on the left end would be much bigger.

The more your treatment overlaps your window the more privacy your get and the more light will be blocked out. But because of the limitations of a box bay window you cannot overlap very much otherwise your headrail will be poking out into your room making for an unsightly look. Look at the pic above again (box bay type) if we made the left or right shades any wider, they would start to extend past the bay opening and into your room. I havn’t come across a customer yet who didn’t mind the shade extending into her room. So were are kinda of limited on how much we can overlap to maintain privacy, but we can make up for it by choosing a treatment that sit close to your glass. Treatments such as woven woods, romans and cellular shades are all good choices.

Best thing to do on a bay window is to have them professionally measured and ask the installer how big of gap will there be between the treatments and how much privacy will they offer you from the sides without the headrail protruding into my room. I suggest sticking with treatments that have smaller headrails.

I find these treatments are the best for bay windows…click on the names below for more information;

woven woods (bamboo shades) 

Cellular shades ( honeycomb shades

Roman shades

mini blinds




Have Questions Then ASK THE EXPERT

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One Response to “Window treatments for Bay Windows…What you need to know before you buy”
  1. Jalu Sakti says:

    Wow, there is so much about bay blinds that I didn’t know before reading this article. I like your rule of thumb about the headrail and the gap in between windows — that really helped me understand more of what you were talking about. My favorite part of this article, though, is when you just recommended having a professional measure for you and let you know which option is best. I understand all of the measuring tips you were talking about, but I just don’t think I trust myself enough to apply it on my own! We are actually building a new home, right now, and bay blinds are an option we want to use for our front room. Hopefully, the design will work out for what we are wanting.

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