If you’re lucky enough to have a bay window, you’ve already got a brilliant unique feature to style. Bay windows were made popular in the Victorian era, but these days it’s not uncommon to see them used in new build designs too. It’s not hard to spot original Victorian bay windows and their curved shape, which often use almost floor-to-ceiling sash windows. Whether yours are an original feature or a modern replica, this guide’s all about how to style this area of your home - from cosy reading nooks to statement colours. Get inspired and transform your bay window space with our top 10 ideas.
1. Maximise natural light
Image: Swyft, Pinterest
It’s pretty universally agreed that the best thing about having a bay window is the amount of light it gives a room. However you decide to decorate with any of the ideas in this post, try to be mindful of not blocking out any of the natural light. Use sheer curtains or blinds to allow morning sun to come through whilst still giving you privacy, and keep curtains held back and away from the window during the daytime.
2. Create a dining space
Image: My Scandinavian Home, Pinterest
Convert your bay window into a dining space to enjoy dinner with a view year-round. If your bay window is curved, follow the natural shape and add a circular dining table with chairs that tuck under neatly. Use this newly created space for a sunny morning coffee, or at night, hang a pendant light above the bay for a cosy restaurant feel. Don’t forget to measure up your bay window space, making sure there’s plenty of room to pull out chairs comfortably.
3. Make a reading area
Image: Swyft Model 01
When you think of reading nooks, corners of rooms usually come to mind first. Create yourself an equally cosy reading area by placing your sofa, an armchair or a chaise in your bay window. Add comfortable cushions, a soft throw and somewhere to store your latest reads. If evening reading’s your thing, make sure the space is well lit with an overhead floor lamp or nearby table lamp.
4. Layer up with houseplants
Bay windows are great at bringing that sense of the outdoors in. Go one step further by transforming yours into a mini indoor jungle with house plants. Windows like these get a lot of direct sunlight, so it’s important to choose plants that can handle the heat. Play around with heights and layering - whether that means hanging a trailing plant from the ceiling or creating a statement with multiple large floor plants.
5. Build storage seating
If space-saving is high on your agenda, consider a window seat for your bay window. Save even more square footage and stow away your stuff by adding clever hidden storage into a bay window bench - ideal for books, shoes, bags and more. Use built-in drawers for deeper bay windows, or try a storage ottoman that slots in the space with ease.
6. Curate an art collection
Image: 204 Park, Pinterest
This tip’s all about getting creative with your bay window decor. Place artwork on opposite or parallel walls to your bay window and let the light that floods into the room highlight your favourite frames. In the bay window itself, frame prints and lean them up against cabinets and windowsills. Experiment with different colours, textures and sizes for a laidback look that doesn’t take too much effort to curate.
7. Add floating shelves
Bay windows are typically pretty tall, with some styles reaching the full height of the room itself. To create a real impact, try installing floating shelves across the width of your bay window and display your favourite home decor pieces. The combinations are pretty endless here - use your shelf for books, sculptures, candles or any other curated items that show off your personal style. Choose items in the room’s colour palette for a cohesive look that anchors down the bay window as its own feature.
8. Make a statement with curtains
Bay windows became popular in the Victorian era as a symbol of status, often with dramatic and stand-out window dressings. Lean into this and make an equally bold statement with yours by choosing your curtains carefully. Hang curtains from the ceiling above your bay window, and make sure they’re touching the floor. Consider heavyweight fabrics like velvet, or go for a lighter sophisticated look with silk. Draw attention to your bay window with floor-length curtains in a contrasting shade to the walls.
9. Try a window seat
Image: The Nord Room, Pinterest
Add an extra layer of comfort to your living room with cushioned window seats. To create the illusion of more depth, layer up your window seat cushions - start with the biggest at the back. Colour schemes are important to consider here, and you should think about adding cushions that complement the rest of the room. For traditional and mid-century spaces, try velvet cushions. For a laidback contemporary space, linen cushions are a fail-safe option.
10. Make a workspace
Image: The Everygirl, Pinterest
Getting enough light during the day is great for your internal body clock and productivity. Maximise bay window areas by transforming them into a functional workspace with a view. Create a light-filled WFH space by using desks that follow the natural shape of the window instead of working against it. Add sheer panel curtains to your bay window workspace that can be moved during the day - this helps reduce screen glare and adds interest to the overall look.
What is a bay window?
In architecture, a bay window is any window that curves outwards from the building. Bay windows are most commonly associated with period homes and are usually made up of 3 separate window panes.
Can you put a sofa in a bay window?
Yes - you can put a sofa in a bay window. The extra space that a bay window area gives is a great place for sofas, armchairs and chaise longue seating, especially if the room is smaller in size overall. Putting a sofa in your bay window makes a great reading spot and the additional light from the window helps to create a strong feature out of the furniture you choose to put there.