Have you ever dreamt of owning a home with a bay window seat? What about a statement-making bow window to show off your Christmas tree?

Don’t worry, you don’t need to look for a new home to get your dream window. All you need is a renovation. In fact, 90% of homeowners in the U.S. plan on renovating their homes at some point.

The trouble is, how do you know which window type is right for your home?

Luckily, there are some clear differences between bay vs bow windows. Read on to decide which type is right for your home.

Bay vs Bow Windows: What’s the Difference?

Bay & Bow Window ConfigurationsBay windows and bow windows are both architectural features that jut out from the wall of a house or building. But, one window type is angled while the other is curved.

A bay window is usually made up of three windows with a large picture window in the center and a smaller window on either side. The windows angle away from the house which creates a bay or a small nook.

A bow window is typically made up of four to six windows that curve outward. Each individual window is a similar size, which is what creates the gentle curve.

Design Aesthetics

Provia Bay and Bow WindowsWhen you’re choosing between a bow vs bay window, you need to think about your home’s design.

Bay windows look great in modern homes because of their angled shape. You’ll also notice them in medieval buildings, which means they’ve been popular around the world for hundreds of years. Colonial homes are also known for having bay windows.

Bow windows are part of a newer design movement. The curved design is typically found in Victorian homes.

Bay windows are the most versatile choice, since they look great in modern, colonial, and traditional homes. If you have a Victorian or a traditional style home, a bow window would fit right in.

The Cost

Bay and bow windows are both more expensive than regular window replacements. You are adding an architectural feature, after all.

But, bow windows are typically much more expensive than bay windows. Bow windows are usually twice as large as bay windows, which raises the price. Plus, bow installation is usually more complicated.

The exact pricing will depend on your location and the difficulty of the installation, so it’s a good idea to ask for a free estimate. Knowing the cost for both types will help you make a decision.

Natural Light

Not only does it help you save money on your electric bills, natural light also has a lot of health benefits. Natural light helps you sleep better, prevents Seasonal Affective Disorder, and raises your vitamin D levels.

Bay and bow windows both provide more natural light than flat windows. But between the two, bow windows let in more natural light. This is because they have more window panels and are generally wider than bay windows.

Bay windows don’t let in as much natural light, but they do offer a bit more privacy.

Added Space

Of the two options, a bay window will add the most square footage. You can turn the extra space into bench seating or use it for storage. You could also use the ledge to display knick-knacks or plants.

While a bay window adds interior space, it also takes up outdoor space. You need to make sure you have enough exterior room for a bay window. Bay windows can take up as much as two feet, which can be an issue if your home sits very close to the street or sidewalk.

Bow windows usually have a small ledge, but they don’t add square footage. Usually, they only take up a few inches of exterior space.

If you don’t have a lot of exterior space to work with, a bow window is a better choice. But, they do take up a lot of wall space so keep that in mind as you’re weighing your options.

Options for Air Flow

To make the choice between a bay vs bow window, you need to think about air flow. Do you want to be able to open the windows? Do you like the option of letting in fresh air?

Bay windows feature one large picture window in the center and two narrower windows on either side. Picture windows don’t open because they’re made from a fixed pane of glass. But, you can choose either fixed or vented side windows.

With bow windows, you have the option to make every window operable. Just keep in mind that this can raise the price by a considerable amount. It can also interfere with the aesthetics of the window.

If you want the option to open every window pane, you might find more flexibility in a bow window. If you want a window that’s more affordable and provides good airflow, you can’t go wrong with a bay window.

Outdoor Views

While both types of windows provide great views of the outdoors, bay windows offer a slightly clearer view. The large picture window provides an uninterrupted view of the outdoors.

Because they’re wider, bow windows offer a more panoramic view. You’ll get a more expansive view of your surroundings.

If you’d like a clear view of a specific outdoor area, a bay window is the perfect choice. If you want a wider view, a bow window would be better.

Upgrade Your Replacement Windows Today

When you’re comparing bay vs bow windows, you need to think about your home’s design, your ideal views, and your budget. But, no matter which window you choose, you’ll get natural light and an eye-catching design.

If you’re planning a window replacement and you live in the St. Louis area, STL Windows and Doors can help. Request a free onsite estimate today.

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