<iframe title="Google Tag Manager" src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-WGSBCJ" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"></iframe>
Skip to Content

Bay or Bow Windows: Which Best Suits Your Traditional Style Home?


on August 24, 2021

Bay window near chair in living room

The Northeast is home to an abundance of traditional style homes. Whether you live in Greenfield, Massachusetts or South Burlington, Vermont, you don’t have to walk very far to find a Victorian-inspired home, Colonial revival or a farmhouse style home. Northeast homeowners looking to spruce up the curb appeal of their traditional style home will often look to add a bay or bow window. But which style of window is the right fit for your home?

Create Space with a Bay Window

Bay windows are a combination of three windows that angle out beyond the exterior wall. Typically, there are two operable windows flanking one fixed inoperable picture window in between them. Homeowners will commonly use either casement or double-hung windows as the two operable angled windows in their bay window. But the beauty of bay windows is their design flexibility. They have been around for more than 500 years and survived by adapting to the needs of homeowners, offering a wide variety of design options to fit your preferences.

Compared to bow windows, bay windows are more angular. For this reason, bay windows are more frequently incorporated into homes with a transitional or contemporary home style. But that doesn’t mean they won’t look right at home in a traditional style home. Classic cottage and vintage Victorian style homes, for example, are also suited for a bay window.

Why add a bay window? It can serve a number of purposes, both in terms of style and function. Bay windows are especially effective at creating additional seating if you need to conserve space and don’t have room to add chairs. You can use it to create a breakfast nook in your kitchen or a window seat in your living room where you can curl up with a good book. Bay windows can also create the illusion of a bigger space by adding a vertical emphasis to a space.

Open Up Your Home with a Bow Window

Whereas bay windows consist of three windows, bow windows are made up of four or more window windows of the same size and shape. Bow windows also feature more of a subtle curve, as opposed to the angular lines of bay windows. The primary appeal of these arc-shaped windows is the additional space, improved natural lighting and increased curb appeal.

Bow windows also have multiple design options and are often referred to by the number of windows in the bow (e.g. four-lite bow, five-lite bow, etc.). Because they are larger than bay windows, bow windows are best suited in rooms where you have more than 80 inches of wall space with which to work. But they look stunning on any home, whether you are standing inside or out. They offer more natural light than a bay window and provide good ventilation, with casement windows frequently used for the operable window panels.

Much like bay windows, bow windows can complement a variety of architectural styles. They are an elegant and eye-catching architectural addition to any number of homes, whether you own a Victorian style, Mid-century modern or modern style home.

Make the Choice: Bay or Bow Window?

Bay and bow windows have been used in a variety of architectural styles over the years, dating as far back as the 15th century. The key to their versatility and enduring popularity has been their ability to accent the existing features of any home while also providing the homeowners with an open space to sit and absorb the beautiful outdoors. They are a distinctive addition to any home that can add style and functionality to both the inside and outside of a room. Understanding what separates them, it’s up to you to decide which one works best for you.

Ready to make your choice? Visit your nearest showroom and our team will help you find the bay or bow window that is going to enhance the look and feel of your home.

Schedule a free consultation to find windows and doors for your home.