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How to dress Bay windows

Let’s begin with a very brief history of the bay window

The word ‘bay’ comes from the French word ‘baee’, meaning opening. The first bay windows date back to the English Renaissance period, between the late 15th and early 17th centuries, and were typically found in grand houses and mansions, often at the end of great halls where Lords would receive guests.

During the Gothic era, bays were frequently found in chapels and churches to allow people to take private worship.

By the Victorian era homes commonly featured bay windows on both lower and upper storeys, and bays have been a popular architectural feature ever since.

But why have bay windows in the first place?

While one of the original purposes of bays was to extend your interior space, let more light into the room, and increase the area of your view, they do create an awkward shape to dress. To take advantage of the extra light they’ll let in, you’ll have to make some compromises if you want some privacy.

Then there’s the potential heat loss factor. Bigger windows mean more potential draughts and more heat loss through the glazing itself.

The fact is, however you decide to dress your bay, the shapes and angles could be a problem. Considering all of the many types of bay window, the safest option is to go for a bespoke window covering that will both look and fit better. So now let’s take a look at a few of the most popular options on offer.

Roller Blinds

One of the simplest solutions for bays are roller blinds, these can also be one of the least expensive ways to cover your bays, but they come with downsides: they’re not draughtproof, don’t offer any privacy when open, and on their own can leave the room with a cold and spartan look, especially in winter.

Roman Blinds

Roman blinds are made out of fabric that gradually folds up in a concertina style as the blind is opened. Unlike simple roller blinds, these are a softer, more friendly and homely option. But made to measure, they will be more expensive to achieve a perfect fit. And as with roller blinds, you’ll probably still want curtains to complete the look.

Full Shutters

Full shutters give a contemporary look, if that’s your style. But again, as with rollers, if you want to really let the light in, you need to open up the frames all the way. One way to use shutters is to hang them at the bottom half of the bay window, allowing light through the top half, but also creating privacy – especially important in a bedroom.

Venetian Blinds

Venetian blinds have horizontal slats of either wood, plastic or metal, and they’re versatile in that you can have them pulled all the way up, closed, or angled for privacy and sunlight control. What’s more the slatted wooden variety can lend a rustic, bohemian feel to an otherwise ordinary bay window. 


Most people will probably opt for curtain for their bay. They’re certainly the best choice for keeping the heat in, especially if you have them lined, and will not only absorb noise and add most privacy, they’ll be a decorative feature of the whole room. With readymade tracks or poles, curtains will fit the angles of your bay perfectly. It’s probably an investment worth making.

Window Film

This is a contemporary, practical and stylish glass covering option that can act as a frosted window film for privacy, to reduce heat and glare as sun control, or simply as a decorative feature. It’s also very easy to install, either to the whole window, or just the lower half, allowing plenty of light in still offering you privacy.

Extra inside space. More light. A wider view. Who wouldn’t want the advantages a bay window can provide, often accompanied by an internal feature sill for your indoor potted plants, or even a cushioned window seat.

Choose from the Residence Collection of replacement bay windows and you’ll have all the advantages of market leading technology that uses virtually maintenance free materials, is thermally and acoustically brilliant, and features the latest security, maintenance and performance innovations, whilst appearing traditional.

Start your Residence Journey today! Download one of our brochures or find your local Residence Collection installer using our handy search tool



At Residence Collection, we have a range of colours available and can offer everything from timeless classics like Grained White to modern favourites such as Eclectic Grey. Don’t forget, we also offer a dual finish that allows you to find windows and doors that look as good from the inside as they do outside.