Bay Windows vs Bow Windows

Would you know what the major differences are between a bay and a bow window?

Would you know what the major differences are between a bay and a bow window?

At first glance, they do look a lot alike and both have plenty of their own attributes. They’ll definitely do much to open up a room, letting in generous amounts of light, giving a welcoming appearance of space and airiness. And, in any setting, they’ll always add a touch of glamour.

Bay windows have actually been in existence since the medieval ages. They used to be regarded as ornamental, rather than an intrinsic part of a property.  It was during the Victorian era that they really started to grow in popularity.

On the other hand, with their rounded shape, bow windows evolved out of the original square-shaped bay window design.

Rightly or wrongly, the shape of a bay window with its angles and planes is regarded as more in keeping with modern homes, whereas the circular appearance of a bow window is perhaps more associated with older, traditional properties.    


It’s in their design where the major differences can be found and this can create different outcomes. Firstly, there are the openings. A bay window consists of three openings, in angled projections, with one picture window and typically two smaller windows on either side. In contrast, a bow window is curved and has four or five openings and can also be wrapped around the corner of a building, which has the advantage of allowing a double aspect view.

Space and Light

This is an area which is worth giving some consideration. Since bay windows protrude further externally, they do leave you more internal floor space. 

In contrast, the space advantage of a bay is countered by a bow window having more glass panes, which tends to let more light into the room. 


Not surprisingly, given their size and that they do require some specialist attention during installation, both bay and bow windows are almost certainly going to be more expensive than standard flat plane glazing.  Compared to a standard plane for the same size opening, you could be looking at around 2.5 times the cost. Also worth considering is that price will be influenced by the particular design you select for your bay or bow.  Will it involve a tiling surround or elaborate finishing? 

Whether your choice is bay or bow, make sure they are fitted by experts to ensure longevity and energy efficiency.

That said, both have the potential to really transform the appearance of a home, to add kerb appeal and, indeed, value to a property.

For further information, check out our windows here.

Back to Blog
Back to Top