Bow Windows

What you need to know about bow windows

When building a new home or purchasing replacement windows, a simple way to heighten the beauty of your living room is to add bow windows.

Bow windows are nothing more than curved bay windows, usually made by connecting several angled casement windows. Bow windows that actually use curved glass are far more expensive than their angled counterparts. These windows provide a broader view of the outdoors while adding architectural drama to a house. From the interior, a bow window provides a beautiful niche, perfect for a breakfast nook or window seat.

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Most window companies make bow windows, so you will have lots of options in terms of style and pricing. For example, Andersen bow windows come in many sizes and finishes, so you won't have any problem finding the perfect window for your home.


Bow windows have some unique problems, the most common being a leaky bow window roof. The small roof above the window must be very carefully installed and maintained, particularly the roof flashings, which are pieces of sheet metal installed breaks in the flat roofline.

Another curious problem is frosting. Because the outward curvature of a bow window does not allow interior heat to flow up next to it, a bow window will often frost while windows which are flush with the walls won't.

Also, note that if you're using a bow window as a replacement window for a single, large window, extra structural supports will probably be necessary, which may be costly.


Bow window treatments can be tricky. Many people opt to hang a valance and long drapes flat against the wall out of which the window juts. This effectively blocks out light by blocking out the whole curved space.

You can look for a large bow window curtain, but it will require a special bow window curtain rod, which is curved to fit the entire window area snugly – keep in mind, though, due to sizing issues, it may have to be custom-made.

Another option is to hang long drapes over each of the individual windows in the bow, then tie the drapes together in each small corner, thereby accenting the bow. Bow window blinds, which usually take the form of smaller blinds over each individual pane, offer excellent control over the exact amount of light and privacy you have.