Should You Get Bay or Bow Windows?

When planning the interior design of your home, one of the things you need to decide is how to make certain rooms — such as the family room, master bedroom or even a music room — as special as possible. A bay or bow window fills the room with gorgeous views of the landscape and provides more interior space, enhancing both the indoor and outdoor experiences of the residents. For you to determine which style you prefer, custom windows contractor Renewal by Andersen® of Knoxville discusses the differences between bay and bow windows.

Bay or Bow Windows

What Are Bay Windows?

One of the most evident differences between a bay and a bow window is the number of sections each style features. A bay window consists of three windows that angle outward. In the center is a picture window and on each side is another style of window. A bay window is typically canted at 45 or 90 degrees.

What Can You Do With Bay Windows?

Many homeowners consider bay windows as a means of extending a room as it adds an extra area that can be utilized in various ways. Here are some things you can do with the space provided by a bay window:

  • Set up a breakfast nook. Installing a bay window in the kitchen creates a perfect spot for eating breakfast during sun-filled mornings.
  • Create a reading alcove. In addition to setting up a breakfast nook, a sliding windows specialist recommends creating a cozy corner where you can read a favorite novel.
  • Make a window seat. You can use a bay window as an additional seating area. Decorate it with a soft cushion and a few throw pillows.
  • Consider an accent chair. A bay window is a creative alternative if you do not have space for accent chairs in the room.
  • Use for activities. If you need a dedicated area for your crafts and hobbies, such as crocheting or painting, place a table in front of the bay window.
  • Add drapes. If you want to make the room appear bigger, consider creating a vertical emphasis and adding long drapes to the bay window.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Bay Windows?

While bay windows can be relatively expensive to install, challenging to find treatments for and consume substantial room in the area outside of the window, this style of window definitely offers a greater number of advantages, such as these:

  • Appearance. Some homeowners choose to steer away from bay windows because they get the impression that this style of window is outdated, having originated from the stone cathedrals of the Gothic era. However, these windows can be customized with small frames and large expanses of glass to match the architectural style of a modern-day home. 
  • Light. A conventional window allows daylight to flow into the home from one angle. A bay window, on the other hand, has three panels, which means sunlight can enter the room from three different angles and naturally illuminate your home.
  • Ventilation. Since the windows on both sides of a bay window are either double-hung or casements, this style of window is great for ventilation. When placed at opposite angles, operable windows catch the cool breeze flowing in different directions.
  • Energy Efficiency. As long as the bay windows you install are sturdy, insulating, multipane and equipped with energy-efficient features like low-E coatings, they can dramatically increase the energy efficiency of your home.

What Are Bow Windows?

A bow window is an arc-shaped structure with four or more windows that are usually casements. It is primarily designed to create space by protruding beyond the exterior wall. It also provides a wider view of the garden outside. The angular lines and flat panes of bay windows are often considered more suitable for modern structures, while the curved or semicircular appearance of bow windows is ideal for structures that are reminiscent of the Victorian era. Of course, either type is acceptable for any home when designed and installed appropriately.

When Are Bow Windows a Good Idea?

Like bay windows, you can use bow windows for different purposes, such as setting up a breakfast or reading nook, making a window seat or for an accent chair and more. These windows also enhance the overall look and feel of the home as well as improve the outdoor view and natural light that flows into the room. Generally, bow windows are a better choice than bay windows if you prefer more sunlight, want to make the room look more spacious or have varying sizes of window panes. Bow windows can also wrap around a corner of your home, forming an attractive alcove on the inside and a distinctive turret shape on the outside. This unique option also allows for an enticing view from two sides of your home.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Bow Windows?

The framing on bow custom windows can be quite a challenge because they cannot be canted like bay windows with flat fronts and angled sides. The varying pane sizes can also make it expensive to install, especially if your home does not have an opening for bow windows.

  • Appearance. A bow window looks stunning from the outside, but its visual interest can be taken up a notch if installed on the second floor of the home. It is usually wider than a bay window.
  • Light. Bow windows allow more natural light into the room as they typically consist of more glass panes than bay windows.
  • Ventilation. Although the series of windows on a bow window can either be fixed or operable, this type of window typically comes with casement windows, making them excellent for promoting healthy airflow within the room.
  • Energy Efficiency. Like bay windows, bow windows can be incredibly energy-efficient as long as they are designed with energy-saving features like insulating frames, low-E coatings, multiple panes of glass, gas fills and weatherstripping. Of course, they should be properly installed by a certified installer so you can make the most of your investment.

Get a Window Replacement Quote Today

Renewal by Andersen of Knoxville specializes in the installation of different styles of replacement windows, including bay windows, bow windows and sliding windows. You can count on our skilled team to deliver the comfort and energy efficiency you and your family deserve. Give us a call at (865) 221-7970 or fill out our online form to schedule a free in-home consultation or get a free estimate. We serve customers in Oak Ridge, TN, and other areas in Tennessee.

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