Bay vs Bow Windows: A Complete Breakdown

bay windows

If you are thinking about your next home remodeling project or seeking to replace your windows, you may have encountered the terms “bow” and “bay” regarding windows.

Because of their design, these types of windows can enhance the curb appeal and aesthetics of your home while offering a myriad of sunlight and effectively sealing outside breezes. Most people often cite them as attractive, and they can also increase your overall floor space.

Somehow you may be wondering about these windows and their design. You’ll often ask yourself which window better suits your home. But, before jumping into a conclusion, you need to understand the nuances of each window.

Bay Windows

Bay window” is an obscure term that includes many diverse types of window designs. Unlike other types of windows, bay windows are not distinguished by the mechanism of action, type of glass, or even the number of panes, but as an architectural piece.

These are structures that project outward from the building, usually creating their own bay or room. You will often find them in angles of 90, 135, and 150 degrees, but many other types exist as well.

Distinctively, these windows are square. Although some are rectangular, hexagonal, or octagonal, and made up of only two windows.

Bay windows can be found in architectural constructions dating back many centuries and are located all over the world. The most complex ones are found in Arabic and medieval dwellings. Notably, they were found in churches during the Gothic period. Most people relate bay windows to colonial architecture.

Bow Windows

Bow windows are often confused for bay windows. However, they are different in that their curves are gentle and they are usually comprised of more individual windows. Bow windows create a more circular angle and are more elegant. Whereas bay windows create a separate sitting area in the house.

Bow windows are more focused on appearance than practicality. They usually project an illusion, making a room appear larger and more open than it is. However, if built correctly, this type of window can also create some extra storage room or sitting space.

Bow windows appeared much later than their bay counterparts. These windows are very common in 18th-century architecture, commonly spotted in the US and the UK.

What Is the Difference?

In the battle of bay vs bow windows, none can be regarded better than the other, but rather, it depends on the theme of your home. However, if you want to have a bay or a bow window constructed in your home, you must understand their fundamental differences. Here are the differences between bay and bow windows.

Bay windows usually have three openings created as angled projections, while bow windows have four, five, or even six segments.

The flat panes and angular lines of a modern-day bay window are often regarded as more suitable for modern homes. Meanwhile, the semi-circular external structure of a bow window is appropriate for any architectural design that seems Victorian. However, any of these is suitable for any style of a home.

Bow windows often allow more light into the room because they have more panes than bay windows.

The overall structure of a bay window is made up of the main picture window with two other windows that may be smaller on both sides. But the structure of a bow window is curved, projecting a rounded appearance on the outside of the home. These are often called four or five-lite bows.

Bay windows extend farther from the wall into the exterior space, and they add more floor space in the interior than bow windows do.

Bow windows can be set around the corner of a building, creating an exquisite nook on the inside and an unparalleled turret shape on the outside. This construction allows you to have a view from two sides of the house.

Since bay windows comprise three panels only, they are usually not as wide as bow windows.

Bay vs Bow Windows: Which One Is Better?

Both windows are similar in many aspects, but they differ in significant features. Bay windows are much more like the addition of a small extra room, while bow windows are more of a curved window building.

Both windows provide a multi-angle view of the exterior—which most windows don’t provide—and they allow plenty of sunlight into the home.

As a result, both types of windows offer aesthetics and large window glass panes. Everything depends on what kind of look you’re striving to get when you’re looking for new windows for your home.

Both bay and bow windows are an excellent choice for a home renovation project, and with a bit of consultation and an experienced contractor, your home will have an exquisite appearance.