Maximize the view from your bay window with operable drapery treatments.

Bay Window Drapery Treatments

by D Ann Kross

Drapery treatments for a bay window are often custom-made, since the exact angle and size can vary from window to window. Bay windows offer panoramic views and are easy to spot as a focal point in any room. Include drapery treatments that keep you in control of light, temperature and privacy concerns, and which are designed to enhance the view.

1. Types of Bay Windows

A bay window often consists of one large window that is flanked by two smaller ones on either side. Some bays match three or more windows of equal size that adapt well to one unifying drapery treatment, such as a mitered-cut, board-mounted balloon valance installed above the window grouping. Bay windows may be separated by independent moldings and frames, but can also be one unit with only a metal casing to define inside corners. Connected bay windows have sharper angles and adapt well to outside-mounted treatments, such as scalloped-top curtains installed on decorative rods with sew-on or clip-on rings. Use lightweight fabrics to avoid bunching in corners, and distribute panels evenly at inside and outside bay window corners to frame individual windows.

2. Bay Bare Facts

Study the details of your bay window to decide how much of the view you want to cover. Unify individual window coverings with a mitered cornice or board-mounted valance installed across the top of the bay window to maintain the view. Add inside-mounted cellular shades with slim head rails inside individual windows for extra light control. Opt for gathered headings that can be adjusted if the corners are tight, especially when there is no molding separation between the windows. Bay windows that feature individual frames have less-severe angles and adapt well to most types of window treatments, including box-pleated valances over stationary drapery panels.

3. Hardware for the Bay

Drapery hardware is a key element beneath your bay window treatment. Bay windows require preplanned cuts and specialty hardware for smooth function and visual flow at angled corners, such as a custom bent traverse rod with operable pleated draperies. Opt for specialty rods that are designed to handle bay window angles and include connecting hardware that conforms to inside corners, angles and drapery projections. For example, install a rod-pocket valance across the top of the opening with an adjustable bay curtain rod kit that includes connecting hardware and brackets, rather than modifying a regular curtain rod. Opt for a double bay window rod set to include a second layer of drapery, such as pleated sheer panels that open in the center beneath a fixed valance.

4. Out of the Box

Ready-made draperies, blinds and shades are an option for bay windows, but can be difficult to install unless there is sufficient space between windows at the inside corners for bracket projections. Ensure that each window is framed independently of the others and there is enough clearance for mounting hardware. Otherwise, consult a professional and opt for custom-made treatments. If uncertain about your bay window clearance restrictions, hold a pair of brackets in position at their mounting location to determine the required clearance for proper fit and function. Or use a bay window measuring template to reveal the exact angle of your bay, which determines the allowances necessary for a successful installation.

About the Author

As an allied ASID member, D'Ann Kross co-owned and managed an Interior design business serving the greater New Orleans area for 20 years, and has been the lead designer for a major home furnishings franchise. She has published several articles as a contributing editor for "Gulf Coast Woman Magazine."

Photo Credits

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