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Jazz Fuschia Roller Blinds and Harlow Turquoise Curtain in living room

How to dress bay windows with curtains

avatar of Emily Booth

by Emily Booth

In-home Advice Expert

Published: 06/10/2017

Updated: 05/12/2019

If you want to fit curtains into your bay window but are stuck for ideas, we can help you pick the perfect styles for your home. Our expert guide will talk you through the options and give you some top tips to help you get the look you want.

Get the right length curtains for your bay window

If your bay window doesn’t have a sill, we always recommend full length curtains. Top interior designers fit curtains that are slightly over-long as this gives a full and luxurious effect.

Aurora Moonlight curtains in living room
However if your bay window has a sill, you have more flexibility. You can fit made to measure curtains within the recess, following the curve of the window to the length of the window sill, or you can fit full length curtains onto a pole outside the recess. If you choose to fit curtains outside of the recess, it’s worth doubling up with blinds on the windows themselves. This will give you extra privacy and control over sunlight when your curtains are open.  

Consider what type of curtain rail you need

A metal curtain pole with stylish finials can be a lovely feature in itself and creates an elegant and sophisticated finish. For a curved bay, a curtain track is more practical, as it has the flexibility to bend around the curve. if you don't want the track to be seen, you can position your curtain header so that it obscures the view of the track.

Bailey taffy curtains and delizia blush Romans in bedroom

Think about how you want your curtains to drape

Different pleat types affect the way a curtain drapes at the window. The most traditional type is a pencil pleat curtain. This creates regular gathers for a uniform appearance. A pencil pleat curtain is a good option for a curved bay as it helps achieve a smooth finish around the curve. For more formal styling, try a pinch pleat curtain. This gathers the curtain into a structured fold for a smart, tailored look.

Forenza Sterling curtains Clarence Mauve Romans in living room

Play with fabric types to create different moods

Think about the mood you want to create in your room when you’re selecting fabrics. A heavy brocade fabric will look and feel sumptuous at the window. These fabrics are traditionally used in country houses with impressively large windows, but can translate well into any home where you want to create a luxurious and decadent feel.

Muse Pearl curtains and Daze Silver romans in the dining room

A sheer voile curtain creates the illusion of light and space so is a good choice for small rooms which don’t get a lot of light. Voiles can also be used as a layering fabric over a blind or in combination with a heavier curtain to create texture and interest at the window. Cotton and linen curtains are crisp and fresh, and are ideal for people who love a natural look and feel. And of course velvet curtains are the most luxurious of all. They have a gorgeous texture which adds a level of sophistication to any interior scheme.

A pink 70s style living room with green curtains

Match your curtains with blinds

Make a real feature of your bay window by mixing and matching curtains and blinds. You can successfully combine curtains with all types of blinds to create different looks and styles. To maximise light, try combining curtains with wooden or metal venetian blinds. These slatted blinds allow light to filter through while also helping to maintain privacy. Roman blinds add an extra layer of luxury and cosiness, as well as giving you flexibility to combine plain and patterned fabrics to suit your interior style.

Aurella claret curtains lunaire faux wood blinds in living room


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