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CT Windows: What is the Difference Between Bay and Bow Windows?

By Blue Corona Dev Jul 9, 2014

At first glance, bow and bay windows can look very similar: both bay and bow windows will do a lot to open up a room and let it “breathe,” giving the appearance of more space and letting in more light. Both styles are beautiful and provide elegant arches and angles, not to mention a wide view. Bow and bay windows ct certainly have an advantage over traditional flat windows in that they provide a larger viewing area to the outdoors than would otherwise be possible. The 180 degree arc design of bay and bow windows allow for the window to protrude from the wall, and grants the viewer a wider, more accessible and non-obstructed view. Both types of windows add a certain sense of “glamour” to any room.


Bow windows are usually wider and bay windows are usually deeper.  Bay windows typically have three adjacent faces at 30or 45angles.  Thecenter panel is usually a picture window, surrounded by a double hung or casement window on each side to let fresh air in. Bow windows are constructed of between three to six equally sized adjacent panels at shallower angles, usually around 10‘. Bow windows are wider than bay windows and let more natural light inside.  They can also wrap around a corner to provide a view from of multiple sides of your house.


Now as far as appearance, there is not that much of a difference between bow windows and bay windows. Yet, in the world of interior designing, even a slight difference in shape or function makes a world of a difference. Both, bay windows and bow windows add to the spaciousness of a room, and make it look larger. Not only do these windows add to the illusion of a larger room space, they also allow for increased light to enter a room. This makes them perfect for rooms that are placed in a manner that do not allow for sufficient natural light. Usually, they are strategically positioned to allow for a great external view, which is always better perceived from such larger windows.

A bay window is an angled window, that extrudes from the external surface of a building, and has a minimum of three window panes, thereby adding to the space in a room. On the other hand, a bow window is a semi-circular version of the bay window, but the purpose it provides is the same as the bay window. Both bay windows and bow windows are a culmination of Victorian architecture. In today’s day and time, they have been modernized to adapt to the changing trends and a lot of bay window designs can be created based on these lines.

Cost Difference

The cost of a bow window is approximately 2.5 times the cost of a similar flat window with the same size opening. Generally, bow windows are more expensive because they are not a single window; the bow is a custom-made hardwood shell that is then fitted with several custom windows. The installation of a bow window, as you might imagine, is more complex than the installation of a regular bay window. Bow window installations require a soffit tie-in or a new hip roof to properly seal out air and water.

The initial cost may seem high, but bay and bow windows will increase the value of a home, and certainly cost less than a sunroom addition! For the best value, we recommend sunrise windows.  Please refer to our guide for additional information on how to increase the value of your home with new CT windows:

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