A bay window is a central window or group of windows flanked by additional windows that jut out from a building’s walls and create a “bay” inside a room. Curved bay windows are called bow windows.

Bay windows add scene-stealing character to any room as well as a luxurious amount of natural light. A hallmark of Victorian architecture, they also add interest to a building’s exterior. Bay windows make a statement and often serve as a natural centerpiece in a room, often by highlighting a pretty view. But they can also take on a supporting role depending on a room’s decor and function and create a backdrop for everything from a reading nook to a dining area.

The oversized bay windows in the spacious breakfast nook of the eat-in kitchen above, designed by Seattle-based OreStudios, allows natural light to flood the space and shows off a spectacular view. The wrap-around banquette and generous proportions create a comfortable seating area while a simple white Danish-style pendant light anchors the space without blocking sightlines.

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    Reading Nook Bay Window

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    The bay windows in this light and airy San Francisco Victorian bedroom are a backdrop for a cozy plant-filled reading nook decorated with hanging and floor plants and a comfy armchair.


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    Bay Window Bubble Chair Installation

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    In the high-spirited London flat of interior designer Sarah Vanrenen, white floors and walls are livened up with mustard, gold, and pink accents and a hanging bubble chair designed by Eero Aarnio in 1968 adds a note of fun and a place to chill. The bubble chair’s transparent appearance allows light to pass through; wrap-around white drapes allow curtains to be drawn for privacy at night but blend into the white of the walls and floor when pulled open.


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    Gauzy Curtains

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    In this quietly luxurious bedroom, a spacious bay window seat next to the bed creates a place to drink coffee or wine, read or relax. Gauzy white curtains allow light to pass through while preserving intimacy and privacy. Simple white upholstery creates a comfortable place to sit without looking busy.


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    Bay View

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    These bay windows provide an idyllic view of the Kennebunk, Maine seashore. To enhance the already storybook setting, a small model sailboat perches in the central bay window, mimicking the real sailboats on the water. An antique wood table is placed at the same height as the bottom window ledge so as not to interfere with the view. Antique chairs and a warm lamp create a cozy picture within the picturesque view.


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    Hang a Hammock

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    Bay windows are beautiful on their own, but decorating and placing furniture around them takes finesse. In this clever use of space, a generous bay window becomes a dedicated sun-soaked spot for an indoor hammock perfect for napping no matter the season.


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    Grand Bay

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    The tall bay windows in this spacious dining room create an air of grandeur that do a lot of the interior decorating work on their own, but a saturated peacock blue accent wall, a vintage rug, a large warm wood table, and plenty of books and plants ensure it feels like an inviting spot to gather for a meal.


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    Contemporary Twist

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    This contemporary variation on a bay window creates a spacious window seat for reading or quiet contemplation and a view of the outdoors. The window mimics the traditional shape of a bay window but panes in varying sizes create interest and update the classic form.


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    Bathtub Nook

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    This spacious country bathroom has hardwood floors, a giant antique French chandelier, and a claw-foot tub that’s found its home nestled beneath a large bay window. Here, the bay window is fitted with white, semi-opaque half-curtains for privacy while allowing light to pour in and a view of the outdoors from the room or the tub.


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    Bay Window Seat

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    The bay window seat in this traditional eat-in kitchen/dining room provides extra seating, a place for morning coffee, and a source of natural light during the daytime. The large dining room table mirrors the proportions of the windows to create structure in the dining area.


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    Banquette Seating

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    These large-scale bay windows provide a gorgeous view of neighboring woods, while a built-in banquette upholstered in cheerful yellow fabric and a trunk repurposed as a coffee table create an appealing space to gather.