Planning For Your Bay Window Treatments

Discover why bay window treatments are not really that different from window treatments for straight flat windows.

I know that sounds like really odd thing to say. You must be thinking they have to be different. After all the windows are completely different shapes.

It's not the curtains that are different it is really the kind of window curtain hardware you use to hang them with that is different.

Having said that there are a couple of exceptions to the rule of the "curtains being the same". These exceptions only relate to a couple of styles of top treatments that you may want to use. I discuss these exceptions a little later.

I will show you examples and take you step by step from start to finish.

Many people worry about fitting bay window treatments, but there really is no need.

The curtains and top treatments such as window treatments valences are usually made the same as for straight flat windows. Then hung from bay window treatment hardware.

To start with you will need a Flexible, Bendable Curtain Track Kit. This will allow you to hang one pair of curtains that cover all the sides of the bay (as in the window treatment picture just below).

The exceptions being for a fabric covered cornice window treatment (as in the window treatment photo below). They obviously have to bend in just the right places to fit the shape of the bay window.

The other exception is if you are planning on hanging tailored swags. That is because swags can't bend around corners. So each swag width has to be made to fit each side of your bay exactly.

So Why Can't You Use Ready Made Drapes
For Bay Window Treatments ?

You will have to get custom made window treatments to fit your bay windows properly.

Unless you hang ready made curtains (not recommended), and you don't mind them looking like a complete "dogs dinner".

"So what's the problem... well since you asked so nicely I'll tell you :-"

Ready made draperies are simply not made wide enough to fit most bay windows. You just can't buy ready made curtain panels wide enough to fit as a single pair. You would need to hang two or even three pairs to give you enough gather in the fabric when closed to look right.

Even fairly small bays are around 10ft wide. So ready made draperies even at 100 inches wide each curtain panel will when gathered still only fit an 8ft wide window. This is allowing double for gather in your curtains.

Another problem is that they are also never the right length, either too short or too long.

As a rule of thumb your custom curtains ungathered straight out of the bag should be at least twice the width of your window. So on a 10 ft window your pair of curtains should measure 20ft wide. Most ready made curtain panels are only made up to 100 inches wide. Meaning that we are still 20 inches too narrow on each of our pair of ready made curtains.

So What's The Answer To Your Bay Window Treatment problem ?

That's simple have them made (I can hear you groaning).

Yes it will cost a lot more than ready made curtains. However they will fit the window perfectly.

You also get to choose exactly the window treatment styles you want and get exactly the drapery fabric you want.

Also you get to choose whether to have them made as lined drapes or not (I strongly recommend you do) and what kind of curtain linings. Such as thermal lined drapes, black out drapes or interlined curtains.

Another big plus about custom made window treatments is the quality of the drapery fabrics and the quality of making drapes in a workroom rather than a large factory. Ready made drapes are made by the thousands to keep the prices low. However the quality is nowhere as good. The sizes are also only approximate and not exact as with custom made window treatments.

You have to look at these bay window treatments as an investment in your home. You will be keeping them for many years, I have customers who have had their custom curtains hanging on their windows for 30 years in some cases.

I think 10 years is a very reasonable minimum life span for these kind of window treatments.

They will still be looking good but will have more than payed for themselves. So when you divide the cost by the number of years you will have your curtains hanging. Then the yearly cost is minimal, it's like buying a new piece of quality furniture such as a dining room set.

How Do You Measure For Drapes To Fit
A Bay Window Treatment Properly ?

I seriously recommend you fit your window curtain hardware FIRST.

Then measure for your new curtains using the new curtain rods as your guide.

The bay window curtain rod and other window treatment hardware you use will determine the sizes of your new custom curtains. So install you curtain rod first, then measure second. Take a look here to find out how to find out how to measure for drapes properly

Do You Want Valance Window Treatments
Or A Window Treatment Cornice ?

If you just want to hang a pair of curtains. Then you will need Flexible, Bendable Curtain Track Kit to hang curtains from.

If you want to have window toppers such valance window treatments or a window treatment cornice. Then you will need to fit some cornice boards first. Then fit your flexible curtain rod to the underside of this.

Curved Bay Window Treatment

This bay window treatment is all hung from the cornice boards and curved curtain rods in the photos just above. Velcro (hook and loop) tape stapled to the leading edge of the boards sticks to the velcro tape stapled to the back of the fabric covered cornice window treatment.

Curved bay window treatments like this one above are a little bit more work when fitting a new curtain rod or curtain track. The good news is hanging your curtains is just the same as a regular window. But it's still not very difficult to fit your own bay window rods and curtains for yourself.

3 Sided bay window treatment

As above this bay window treatment is hung from timber cornice boards in this 3 Sided bay window installed with wall brackets rather than fixing to the ceiling. Very simple to install and the fabric covered window-treatment-cornice is fixed using velcro tape. These curtains have a double pleat buckram header. Even though you don't see it under the top treatment it makes the curtains fall naturally into nice neat pleats with no effort.

Make Your Own Fabric Covered Curtain Rod

In this photo above I have covered the curtain rod with a strip of the same fabric as the curtains. I used self adhesive 1" white velcro tape to make this stick in place. This only works for curtain rod and curtain rail where the gliders are in a groove on the bottom or back of the curtain track. You can't have the gliders running over the fabric. This is a great way to fit a bay window treatment without a top treatment.

How do you make bay window treatment cornice ?

One of my personal favourites to make and fit is a bay window treatment cornice. They can also suit most rooms. Just cover with a modern fabric for a contemporary look. Or cover with a traditional fabric for a more cosy look.

Why I Don't Recommend Bay Window Curtain Poles!

These curtain in the photo above have been hung from a custom bent bay window curtain pole. The only trouble is for working curtains I am yet to find one that works efficiently. They have special curtain rings called "passing rings". These rings have gaps in the back to allow them to pass over the curtain pole brackets.

No matter how much money you spend on these bay poles, the curtains struggle to open and close. The rings still get stuck trying to pass the brackets. So most people I have fitted these for have been disappointed with the way they perform. The so called "better ones" still don't work well and cost a small fortune.

How To Hang Bay Window Curtains ?

Why not learn how to install and hang your own bay window treatments. It's not as hard as it may seem. You just need to follow my simple guide. So don't pay someone else learn how to how to hang drapes even for bay window treatments for yourself.

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