Bay windows maximise light and space in a home, while adding visual interest to the outside of the building. They’re a popular addition to living spaces, bedrooms and dining areas, but they do present something of a challenge when it comes to dressing them.
Given that bay windows are not just one window, but several windows joined together, it can be tricky to get a curtain rail to stretch across its entirety.
Given that Roman blinds unfold vertically, they’re ideal for bay window coverings. If you’re looking for something a little heavier, they may in fact be the only obvious choice.
Fit a blackout lining and you’ll be able to enjoy a long lie-in (or, indeed, a film) with minimal light intrusion. You will, however, need to leave a little space towards the top of the window for the blind to gather when it’s open. As such, Roman blinds tend to make a poor match for smaller windows.
Roller blinds offer many of the same advantages as Roman blinds, except they’re much thinner. They can therefore be rolled up into a much smaller space. Being formed from thin, generally non-porous fabric, roller blinds tend to make a good match for kitchens and bathrooms, as they won’t retain moisture in the same way a heavy set of Roman blinds might (though it’s rare for a bathroom to have bay windows).
If you’re dressing a box-bay window, where the panels are fixed at ninety-degree angles to one another, the benefits of roller blinds become even more apparent. It means that the gap at the edge of each panel can be dramatically reduced; when the material has no depth, each set of blinds can be positioned right against the next. This allows for total coverage where other blind types would require a slight gap.
One of the most pressing problems with bay windows concerns the angle in the corner where sets of blinds meet. Given that the blinds themselves must be offset slightly within the bay, they need to join up at the edges. If the bay window is a ‘box’ design, this is even more difficult.
This makes venetian blinds tricky to fit. They have an inherent depth while open, which disappears when they close, to leave a gap in each corner. If you’re shopping for aluminium blinds, this is less of a problem; they’re formed from tightly-packed, narrow slats, and so can be made slightly wider.
Wooden blinds, on the other hand, tend to be a lot deeper. This means that the gap in the corners needs to be a little bigger to prevent the blinds from knocking against one another as they open and close.
If you’ve got chunky window frames, then a gap of a few inches or so might not be so noticeable. If you’ve got thin frames, however, then it might well be. As such, we’d advise against fitting venetian blinds in bay windows with aluminium frames – or in ‘box’ designs.
If you’re going to be dressing a bow window (that is, a bay window that consists of many panes arranged in a long, continuous arc) then vertical blinds are probably going to be your only option (short of dressing every individual panel with a single blind). Given that opening and closing seven, eight or even nine blinds individually is going to wear thin pretty quickly, vertical blinds make a lot of sense.
To fit vertical blinds to your bow window, you’ll need a long, flexible track that adheres to the contour of the window. Alternatively, you might look for something custom made – but given how lightweight this sort of blind is, there’s really no reason to.
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you fitting vertical blinds into a simple box or bay window. They look neat and tidy, and are easily slanted so you can control the level of light in your room. If you decide to go for vertical blinds, be sure to pick a fabric that’s appropriate for the setting. In a kitchen or bathroom, you’ll want something that repels moisture. You’ll have more choice in bedrooms and living rooms, where moisture is less of a concern.
There are no hard-and-fast rules here. If you decide that you can live with a slight gap around the edge of your blinds, there’s no reason not to fit box windows with venetian blinds.
When making your decision, we’d suggest thinking not only about your personal preferences, but about how convenient it’s going to be to open and close your blinds. If you know that after a few months you’ll be tired of going around opening multiple sets of blinds, it’s probably going to be better to pre-empt the frustration this will cause and choose your blinds accordingly.
Ready to shop for blinds?