What Is a Bay Window: Should You Install One?

Your home right now has windows, but none of them provide a cozy area with natural light for your enjoyment.

A bay window can provide that for you. Bay windows are used for cozy reading nooks, breakfast dens, study areas, kitchens, and more.

Bay windows have three sections that make a semi-circular shape that stick out from your home. It has 2 hard angles and 3 glass panels.

They add square footage to your home by adding that extra area to sit in or store things.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about bay windows before adding one to your home. For a full guide on bay windows types, read this.

Bay Windows: The Basics

Appearance

One of the appeals of a bay window is how it looks. It adds a unique architectural appeal to your home.

Bay windows have three sections to them. Each section has its own window. Usually, the middle window is a picture window. The two sides are either double-hung or casement windows.

This is what it would look like from a top-down viewpoint.

top down aerial view graphic of a bay window

Optionally, the middle section can include more windows. Some bay windows have 3 picture windows in the middle for the straight section for more light.

There are other options for the window type too. This is the most common configuration.

Bay windows are a beautiful addition to your home.

Cost

Cost is a large factor when considering adding a bay window. It requires a lot of labor and professional expertise to properly install a bay window.

Bay window replacements cost the same as replacing windows separately in your house. It depends on the size, type, and function of each window. Getting three picture windows will end up being cheaper than getting more functional windows.

If you want to install a new bay window into your home, costs can range between $1000 and $7000 for a new bay window.

Factors that affect the cost include:

  • Window size
  • Bay window type
  • Ease of installation
  • Structural supports
  • Structural engineer consult
  • Number of windows

According to Modernize, a bay window with medium-sized vinyl windows average about $2551.

Bay windows may be expensive, but they add square footage to your home and curb appeal. Your home will look more unique and original than the rest of the neighborhood.

Installation

A bay window can add a lot to your home, but the cost of it can be difficult to take in. It’s possible to do a DIY installation of a bay window. However, it’s recommended to go with a professional to put your anxiety at ease. Professionals come with experience and warranties.

It’s possible to add a bay window into any part of your home. There are many sizes and shapes to pick from. It’s even possible to add a bay window in your bathroom above the bath tube.

If you are still interested in doing it yourself, here is a great step-by-step tutorial.

Here are the basic steps:

  • Plan what your bay window area will look like. Is there a window there already? What size do you want it to be? How many windows?
  • Hire a window manufacturer to measure the window opening that you want to convert into a bay window. Getting a professional manufacturer will make sure your new window fits properly.
  • Order the bay windows from the manufacturer. Make sure to ask your window manufacturer for different options and price points.
  • Wait for your windows to arrive.
  • Build the roof for your bay window area. Having a bay window with no roof looks strange. Your HOA probably wants the bay window to look like it’s seamless with your home.

Also keep in mind that when you install a bay window, the space outside of that window will be smaller. If it’s a walkway, a bay window will reduce that space more.

It’s also possible to hire a professional installer after you have purchased the window yourself. This saves you the cost for the materials. You’ll be paying for labor.

Function

Installing a bay window is expensive, but it adds a lot of function in your home.

Bay windows add extra space in your home. It’s up to you what to do with this space, but here are some ideas.

  • Add a built-in study desk. Bay windows offer a lot of natural light for a work area or a drawing area.
  • Create a cozy sitting area. You can use this area for reading, journaling, listening to music, or anything relaxing.
  • Create a space for talking. Set up two comfy chairs next to each other with a small table between to encourage conversion.
  • Add a built-in shelf. Usually bay windows have built in sills, but if it doesn’t, you can add on. Decorate it with houseplants, books, or other knick knacks.
  • Create a breakfast nook. The natural light goes perfectly with waking up in the morning and drinking coffee.
  • Make a window-facing sitting area. The openness of your bay windows and natural light make this a perfect way to enjoy the view.
  • Start an herb garden. If your bay window is above your kitchen sink, this is a great place for plants to get sunlight.

If interior design and decor is your thing, bay windows give you the opportunity to express yourself.

Use long drapes, small pillows, different seating arrangements, and more to accent the space.

The options are limitless.

Ventilation

A bay window is more than just a beautiful area inside of your home. It also offers better ventilation for that space as well.

It depends on where your bay window is, of course. If your bay window is above the kitchen sink, opening the sides up when cooking lets you release moisture and smells.

Bay windows have better ventilation because there are two windows that can open and close. If you choose, even the ones in the middle can be functional.

Compared to having 3 windows in the same space, there isn’t much of a difference though.

Security

At first glance, a bay window may look like the perfect entry way for a burglar because of its large size.

If you’re paying so much for bay windows, you don’t want them to be vulnerable to break-ins.

Bay windows can be just as secure as other windows, depending on the options you pick.

Double-pane and triple-pane windows are more secure than single-pane windows.

Using your window locks also improves security. If you’re choosing casement windows, those windows are almost impossible to open from the outside.

Your home’s security depends on more than just your windows. Make sure you also:

  • Trim your hedges so that no intruder can hide behind them.
  • Properly light your home at night.
  • Use your window locks when you’re not at home.
  • Install security sensors or alarms.

If a burglar is motivated enough, they’ll go through anything to break in. You’re doing your best to make your home harder to break into.

Sizes

Bay windows come in many shapes and sizes. You can choose a small one just above the kitchen sink.

Or you can add one that’s the size of half a wall. There are so many options.

The standard sizes of bay windows ran from 3 feet to more than 10 feet in width.

Window manufacturers will measure your opening to create a custom bay window for you.

A quick Google image search shows you a ton of inspiration for differently sized bay windows.

Should You Get a Bay Window?

Bay windows add a lot to your home. Square footage, curb appeal, cozy nooks, more natural light, etc.

They may cost a lot, but there is so much you can do with one.

If you are interested in installing a bay window into your home, contact your local window manufacturers and installers for more choices and estimates.

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