You buy a house with a great looking bay window. You think of all the great ways you can dress it. Then you think of curtains or shades, next you start to shop around looking and pricing up. Then it hits you the reality of dressing this beautiful window.
Ready made curtains just won’t cut it!
You can’t just go and buy ready made curtains or shades. You will have to have them custom made, and how much is that going to cost. A lot I can tell you, that is if you don’t do your homework.
Decision time curtains or shades
So the first decision is will it be curtains or shades. Bay windows can look really good with custom made roman shades. They look smart and work really well when there is furniture to both sides of the window leaving little or no room to hang curtains. Maybe there is a window seat fitted. If this is the case then roman shades are a really good way to dress your bay window. If your bay is nice and clear all around then curtains are a good way to go. Especially long to the floor curtains. Long curtains really dress a window and give a touch of luxury. They also make the room feel warmer in the winter.
Measuring for shades
You need to take a lot of care when measuring shades to fit a bay window. If you get it wrong then the shades will go straight in to the bin. Very often they cannot be altered. Especially if they are to narrow or short.
If you are measuring for roman shades then remember to leave a gap of around an inch between the shades. This is to allow for the binds becoming more bulky as they are pulled up. They will start to bump into each other.
A little tip I find useful is to add an extra half inch to the drop (length) measurement. This is because and don’t ask me why. The shade once made and hung seems to shrink a little. So adding it on now means it’s more likely to fit spot on once made.
Measuring for curtains in a bay window
This is a tricky one so pay attention for I will only say it once. Well maybe twice as I ramble on a bit sometimes 🙂
The fashion recently has been to fit decorative bay window rods. Especially here in the U.K. My advice is simple DON’T even the really good ones are real pain in the backside. They are far from easy to fit right. Then the curtains struggle to open and close using the special passing rings. So what do I recommend, well glad you asked. My favorite way of dressing a bay is to fit top boards. These are simply 6 inch by 1 inch timber boards. You fit them over your window on brackets just like fitting a shelf.
Then hang curtains from the underside of the boards on a curtain track. Then finally cover the top board with a fabric covered pelmet or as you Americans say Cornice. They can be made in all shapes and sizes and look ultra modern or traditional.
So the steps to fitting curtains in a bay window are:
1. Cut and fit the top boards in the bay over the windows.
2. Then measure the width and take the drop (length) measurement from the track to the floor.
3. Then measure the leading edges of the top boards for making a pelmet/ cornice.
So you now have all the sizes you need for making the curtains and top treatment. The next step would
be to choose your fabric and get them made.