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How to Buy Bay Window Treatments

Finding treatments for your bay windows that match the room's furniture and decor can be tough. Take time to consider the options for tying the room together.


  • Step 1: Install cafE curtains, setting top rods at center height, a bottom one keeping curtains in place, and matching topper above. This allows a peek outside without permitting people to gaze in. Hang the bottoms loose, if you desire, with a scalloped border or fringed details.
  • Step 2: Choose mini or narrow slat blinds, not just to block sun but to accentuate the room's color and decor. Easier to manage than curtains, vinyl minis are comparatively inexpensive, which allows you to spend more on other things.
  • Step 3: Lean toward the exotic, designing your bays with Roman shades, if the room's motif and furniture are formal. Select a more private room-darkening shade, or even a pleated shade, for the living room or bedroom bay. Use Roman shades with lighter materials or textures for more public rooms. Whatever your concept, be sure to select window treatments that reflect your style.
  • FACT: Around 5 million sets of Roman shades are sold in the U.S. every year.
  • TIP: Big bays, running ceiling to floor, may need bigger flourishes like swags, curtains, festoons, garlands, and bold treatments that would normally be too much for a regular sized room.
  • Step 4: Fit the windows with wood shutters or sheers to filter light and protect everything from sun damage. Creatively pair them with swags and drapes to the side for a more elegant, sophisticated appeal.
  • Step 5: Choose valences on each window to tie in the bays, even if their window treatments don't match any others in the room. Be creative and construct a fabric topper or cornice board to frame the bay and design a coherent look.
  • TIP: See that the valances begin at the very top of the wall -- just at the ceiling line -- to let in as much light as possible.
  • Step 6: Draw drapes over the otherwise uncovered bay windows when there's a window seat, which creates a cozy nook. Open the heavy panels to bracket the bright windows with dark color and dramatically showcase furniture or art.
  • Step 7: Buy window treatments according to a concept, and keep in mind various style options. If your priorities are light control and privacy, decorate the bay windows with fabric shades. Choose a roll-up shade that matches the colors or patterns in the rest of the room and creates a valence when rolled up.

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