Bay Window Blinds: The A-Z Buying Guide
A Buying Guide for Bay Window Blinds
When designing a home, it's always pleasant to accentuate certain areas of the house with a stand-out feature. One of the most unique and elegant ways to do this is with a bay window; they're the perfect way to let in natural light and make a living room or bedroom feel bright and airy.
Because bay windows are so open to natural light, however, it's essential to have the right window treatment to filter the light and give you privacy when needed. In this buying guide, we'll show you everything you need to know about choosing the perfect set of bay window blinds for your home.
Design of Bay Window Blinds
Bay windows are an interesting architectural feature in that they are essentially made up of multiple windows joined together to form a semi-circle. Because of this, architects are painstakingly careful about measuring the dimensions of each window before blinds are installed.
There are a few different design options available for bay window blinds:
- One cohesive treatment. If your bay window area is quite rounded, it's not unusual to have one continuous curtain attached to the ceiling that circles around the entire space. This look is very sleek and elegant, but it can be difficult to find a pre-made option that fits your dimensions perfectly.
- Multiple shades or blinds. It's most common with bay windows to have multiple shades or blinds installed, as this gives you the most control over light filtration and privacy. You can have all the blinds open to let in lots of natural light, or close them individually to create a more intimate space.
- In-built blinds. Many bay windows have thick aluminium or plastic shutters that are built into the window frame itself, preventing issues like tangled cords, blinds interfering with each other, or children playing with the cords and harming themselves.
- A combination. For a more eloquent look, some people choose to put individual shades on each window and then have a curtain rod running over the top. This is more for the aesthetic than it is for function, but it can look very beautiful when done correctly.
Design Specifics and Measurements
When designing your bay window blinds, you can choose between three setup options: inside, outside, or partial. This will determine how the window coverings sit against the window, and how you will measure dimensions.
Inside blinds are so named because they sit fully within the window frame. To measure for inside blinds, you will need to take the width and height of each window at the narrowest point. This is important because you don't want your blinds to be too big or too small; they should fit snugly within the frame for a neat and tidy look.
Alternatively, you can choose outside blinds, which sit on the outside of the window frame. To measure for these, take the width and height of each window at the widest point. It's important to leave enough space around the edges so that the blinds don't obstruct any part of the window when opened or closed.
Partial blinds are a mix of the two; they sit partially within the frame and partially outside. The way you measure this will depend entirely on the treatment and windows you're working with; a Roman shade might be mounted on the outside of the frame, but keep a width inside the frame so as not to push against the adjacent shades.
Features Of Bay window Blinds
As with any style of window treatment, there are a few key features that make this type of product ideal for a certain space. When shopping for your bay window blinds, be on the lookout for the following features and customisation.
Faux wood blinds are a type of window treatment that is designed to look like real wood, but without the high price tag. They're made of composite materials that are resistant to warping and fading, making them ideal for rooms with large windows or exposure to direct sunlight.
Although faux wood blinds get a bad rap for being "fake," there are actually many benefits to choosing this material over real wood. In addition to being more affordable, faux wood is also easier to clean and maintain.
Another great feature to look for in your bay window blinds is blackout lining. Since bay windows let in an enormous amount of light, you'll need something to offset that if you want to sleep in on the weekends or watch a movie without squinting. Blackout lining will block out all light, making it perfect for bedrooms and media rooms.
Motorisation is a feature that is becoming increasingly popular in window treatments. This allows you to open and close your blinds with the push of a button, rather than having to physically adjust them every time. Motorisation is great for large windows or hard-to-reach places.
A valance is a decorative piece that can be added to the top of your window treatment. Valances come in a variety of styles and can be made from different materials, including fabric, wood, or metal. They're a great way to add some extra style to your window treatments and tie the three windows together.
These are just a few features to look for when shopping for bay window blinds. Be sure to take your time and find something that fits both your style and needs.
Uses of bay window blinds
Bay windows are known and loved for their ability to brighten up any room. Like a skylight for your wall, a bank of three windows can make even the darkest space feel open and airy. But all that extra light comes with a price: glare on your TV screen, hot sun beaming in, and prying eyes from outside.
That’s where bay window blinds come in. Not only do they provide privacy, but they can also help control the light and temperature in your room. Here are a few ways to use bay window blinds:
- Keep the sun out. If you have west- or south-facing bay windows, chances are good that the afternoon sun shines right in. Install blackout shades or blinds to keep the heat and light out, and your energy bills down.
- Create a cosy nook. Bay windows are perfect for reading, napping, or just relaxing. Install light-filtering or blackout shades to make your space more private, and add some throw pillows for extra comfort.
- Make a statement. Bay windows are already a focal point in any room, so make them work for you by choosing eye-catching window treatments. Consider a bold colour or pattern, or go for something extra-luxe like motorised shades.
Bay window blinds are a versatile way to control the light and temperature in your home. With so many styles and materials to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect option for your space.
What are the pros and cons of bay window blinds?
All window treatments come with their various up sides and down sides, and bay window blinds are no different. Consider the pros and cons before making your decision:
- Can provide privacy and light control in one product
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Available in a range of colours, materials, and styles
- Can be motorised for convenience
- Can be expensive, depending on the style and material
- May be difficult to clean, depending on the material
- May need to be custom-made, depending on the size and shape of your bay windows
In all, bay window blinds are a great way to improve the look of your home while gaining some much-needed privacy and light control. Weigh the pros and cons to decide if they’re right for you.
Types of bay window blinds
Just as there are different types of bay windows, there are also different types of bay window blinds to choose from. Here are some of the most popular options.
Faux Wood Blinds
As mentioned earlier, faux wood blinds are teased for their false material. But don’t be fooled – these blinds are just as durable and high-quality as the real thing. They're also more affordable and easier to maintain, so you won't get two years down the track and find yourself needing to replace them.
Real Wood Blinds
As you might expect, wood blinds are made from actual tree wood. They provide a classic look that can complement any décor style, from traditional to contemporary. The main downside is that they can be more expensive than some of the other options, and they do tend to wear out quickly.
Got pets or young children to protect? Then you might want to consider cordless blinds for your bay windows. Instead of cords, they have a spring-loaded mechanism that allows you to raise and lower them with ease. They can be a bit more expensive – but for the safety of your family, they’re definitely worth the investment.
Roman Shades and Roman Blinds
Roman blinds for bay windows offer a timeless look that can add a touch of elegance to any room. They’re available in a variety of colours, patterns, and materials, and you can make them as simple or as extravagant as you'd like.
Roller Shades and Roller Blinds
A more modern take on window treatments, roller shades match bay windows perfectly. They’re sleek, stylish, and easy to operate – perfect for busy families who don’t have time to fiddle with complicated cords or mechanisms.
Shutters are a classic choice for both indoor and outdoor bay windows, offering excellent durability. They’re made from high-quality wood or synthetic materials and can be custom-fit to your windows. Plus, they provide total light control and privacy.
Cellular Shades and Honeycomb Shades
Cellular shades or honeycomb shades are a great light filtering option if you’re looking for energy-efficient window treatments. They’re made up of multiple layers of fabric that hang from the headrail and trap air, making them great for insulating your home in the winter and summer, and they're easy to wipe down and keep clean.
Unlike regular blinds, which are horizontal, vertical blinds hang down from the top of your window. They’re perfect for bay windows if you want one continuous look, and cleaning is a simple wipe-down of each slat. Vertical blinds aren't best for blocking out all light, however, so keep that in mind if light control is a top priority.
Venetian blinds are a type of horizontal blind that gets their name from the Italian city of Venice. They have slats that can be tilted to adjust the amount of light coming in, and they come in a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and plastic. To clean them, simply dust or vacuum the slats and wipe down the blinds with a damp cloth.
For a neat, sophisticated look, pleated shades are a great option. They’re made from a single piece of fabric or paper that’s been accordion-folded and attached to a frame, and they can be raised or lowered with cords or a spring-loaded mechanism. Maintenance is easy – just vacuum or dust them as needed, and spot-clean any stains.
Bay Window Treatments
Once you've chosen a type of blind or shade for your bay windows, it's time to start thinking about the treatment you'd like to have. There are options to suit every style of home.
Blackout or Room darkening
Bay windows are perfect for letting in light, but sometimes, you may want to keep the light out. Blackout and room-darkening treatments are available for most types of blinds and shades; they're usually made with an extra layer of material that blocks out light completely.
Mini blinds are a good choice if you want sleek, modern bay window blinds. They're made with smaller slats than regular blinds, and they can be raised and lowered with a cord or chain. Keep in mind that mini blinds don't offer as much privacy as some other options.
If you're looking for a treatment that offers privacy and light control, top-down bottom-up is a unique and innovative option. It allows you to lower the shade from the top, so you can let in light while still maintaining privacy.
Why Bay Window Blinds Are a Reliable Investment
Bay windows can be very expensive to install, so it can be difficult to justify spending money on window treatments. Keep in mind, however, that bay window blinds have several distinct benefits that make them a wise investment.
Without blinds on your bay windows, anyone walking or driving by can see into your home. If you have large windows or live in a busy area, this can be a major concern. Bay window blinds give you the privacy you need to feel comfortable in your own home.
Bay window blinds come in a wide range of colours, materials, and styles. No matter what your décor, you can find a treatment that will complement it perfectly. You can go regal and extravagant or minimal and sophisticated, and anything in-between.
Money and Energy Savings
By regulating the temperature in your home, bay window blinds can help you reduce your energy bills. In the summer, blinds can keep your home cool by blocking out the sun's rays. In the winter, they can prevent heat from escaping through the windows. Treatments like cellular shades are especially effective at insulating your home.
Easy to Install
Finally, it's easy to install bay window blinds if you know the simple steps. Most treatments can be installed in under an hour, and some don't require any tools at all.
The basic steps are:
- Choose your window treatment and gather the necessary materials.
- Measure the windows and cut the blinds or shades to size, if necessary.
- Install brackets according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Hang the blinds or shades on the brackets and adjust as needed.
With a little bit of effort, you can have beautiful, functional blinds that will last for years to come.
Measuring Blinds to Fit Inside Bay Windows
You’ll need to be meticulous and highly detailed when you install bay window blinds. The slightest miscalculation can cause the windows to be uneven and unbalanced. As mentioned earlier in the article, there are three ways you can measure the blinds: inside, outside, or partial.
Measuring Inside Blinds
To measure your blinds for an inside placement, you will need to take three different measurements. The first is the width, and you will need to measure the distance between the two inside edges of the bay window at the top, middle and bottom. Record these numbers and use the narrowest width when ordering your blinds.
The second measurement is for drop, which is how long you want the blind to be. For an inside installation, you will need to take this measurement from the top of the window frame to where you want the bottom of the blinds to fall.
Keep in mind that you don’t want the blinds to hang too low and block out any part of the view. You also don’t want the blinds to be too high and leave a gap at the bottom that allows light and prying eyes in.
The third measurement is for the depth or projection of the window. This is how far out from the wall the bay window sticks, and you will need to measure this at the top, middle and bottom of the window. Record these numbers and use the longest projection when ordering your blinds.
You will also need to take into account whether you want a single or double cell when measuring for inside blinds. Single cells are best for small windows, while double cells are better for larger windows.
Measuring Outside Blinds
To measure your blinds for an outside placement, you will need to take the width measurement from the outside edges of the window at the top, middle and bottom. Record these numbers and use the narrowest width when ordering your blinds.
For the drop measurement, you will need to take it from the top of the window frame to where you want the bottom of the blinds to fall. Again, you don’t want the blinds to hang too low and block out any part of the view.
The projection measurement is taken from the wall to the outside edge of the window at the top, middle and bottom. Record these numbers and use the longest projection when ordering your blinds.
Measuring Partial Blinds
Partial blinds are a little more difficult to measure, as you will need to take into account both the inside and outside measurements. For the width, you will need to take three separate measurements:
- From the outside edge of the window to the inside edge of the frame at the top, middle and bottom.
- From the inside edge of the frame to the outside edge of the window at the top, middle and bottom.
- The distance between the two inside edges of the frame at the top, middle and bottom.
Record these numbers and use the narrowest width when ordering your blinds. You will need to drop measurement as well.
If any of this sounds confusing, don't worry – your manufacturer or blinds retailer will be able to help you out, and you can also hire professional assistance to measure and install your blinds.
Bay Window FAQ
What are the best blinds for bay windows?
There are a few different types of blinds that can be used for bay windows, but the most popular type is the Roman shade for its simple and elegant look. Other options include roller shades, cellular shades, and plantation shutters.
What looks good on bay windows?
Often, Venetian blinds look good on bay windows due to the gentle appearance and ability to let in a lot of light. Roman shades are also popular for their sleek and classic look.
Are curtains or blinds better for bay windows?
This depends on whether you install three separate treatments or a single continuous one. For the former, it's best to hang blinds, as they will be easier to operate than curtains. For the latter, it's a matter of personal preference, but curtains can be mounted to a curved headrail that runs across all three windows.
How do you measure for bay window blinds?
To measure for bay window blinds, you first need to decide how the blinds will be mounted. If they will be mounted inside the window frame, then you will need to measure the width of each window at the top, middle, and bottom. If they will be mounted outside the window frame, then you only need to measure the width of the windows at the top.