What are Bow Windows?

What are Bow Windows?

There's something undeniably elegant about bow windows. Their curved design with multiple panes creates an expansive view, and allows natural light to flood into your home. 

Like bay windows, bow windows extend outward from the wall they are installed in. They truly open up the living space in a way that few windows can, but they are also one of the few window designs that actually changes the exterior profile of your home as well as the interior space. Keep reading to learn more about this style and window options.

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What are Bow Windows?

Bow windows are often confused with bay windows, but these two window styles are actually quite unique despite their similarities. The difference lies in their overall shape, as well as the number of sections each window has. 

  • Bay windows are three-sectioned windows, with each section attached at a firm angle (usually either 30, 45 or 60 degrees). They project outward in the shape that looks like a half-hexagon. In most cases, bay windows have a picture window in the center, with two windows of another kind on either side.
  • Bow windows differ from bay windows in that they consist of four or more windows, and each window is the same type or style. The overall profile of a bow window is rounded, as opposed to the hard angles of a bay window. 

Bow windows gained popularity in England during the 18th century. They are compatible with a wide range of architectural styles, and are typically used in kitchens, dining rooms or living rooms, often overlooking a backyard, patio or garden. 

Pros and Cons of Bow Windows

As with any new addition or change to your home, it's important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of bow windows. These windows do have some unique advantages, but also a few potential drawbacks. 

Pro: Great Lighting and View

Bow windows offer a splendid view, and can vastly improve the natural lighting in your home. This is good news for your house plants, but can also lift your mood and make your whole house feel more open and inviting. 

Pro: Improved Curb Appeal

Bow windows add a new dimension to the exterior of your home as well as the interior. They create an elegant character, and can boost your curb appeal and potentially make your home easier to sell, should you ever choose to do so.

Pro: Open Up Your Space

Bow windows don't just make your home feel more open; they literally add space to it. In large bow windows that space can be used as a cozy nook or seating area. It can also include a window seat or an extended shelf-like windowsill for pictures, plants and other décor.

Con: Challenging to Install

Because bow windows are more complex that traditional single-hung or double-hung windows, they can be tricky to install (and often more expensive). To avoid the potential for future structural issues, it is recommended that bow windows only be installed by a professional.

Con: Not Always Functional

Because the individual windows in a bow window are set so close together, they are often fixed windows that do not open. If you're looking for an elegant window that opens to provide ventilation, consider a bay window instead. 

Who Sells Bow Windows?

Start your search for bow window options with the brands listed below:

Can't decide between a bay window and a bow window for your home? Talk to a pro to figure out which style makes the most sense for your project.


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