Bow Window Buying Guide

Add Style to Your Home With Bow Windows

Buying Guides
Home » Buying Guides » Bow Window Buying Guide

Your home’s curb appeal is important. It shows your neighbors and visitors to your community how much you care for your home, and it can increase its overall value, which is a big bonus if you’re looking to sell your home in the near future. 

If you want to add curb appeal to your home, replacing old, dated windows with bow windows can go a long way in enhancing its beauty. These stylish windows can also help the interior of your home feel more open. While this type of window was most commonly seen on Victorian-style homes in the past, bow windows are becoming a popular addition to modern homes

In this buying guide, we discuss everything you need to know about selecting bow windows for your home and explain the differences between bow windows and other common styles.

What Is a Bow Window?

Bow windows, also known sometimes as compass windows, feature four or more windows placed side-by-side to create a large curve that extends outside of a home’s footprint. They’re designed to create extra space inside by pushing an exterior wall outward with a wide window to the outside world.

A bow window can provide a better, wider view of yards, gardens and other surroundings. On top of that, this window type creates a classic, stately look that enhances the appearance of your home, regardless of its age or style.

Bay Window vs. Bow Window

There are a couple of differences between bay and bow windows. Most notably, bow windows are curved while bay windows feature angles between each pane. The design of both bay and bow windows provides substantial natural light and can add more airflow and floor space to the inside of a home. However, a bow window has the added benefit of giving a wider panoramic view of the outdoors. Additionally, bay windows typically feature three panes of glass while bow windows often have four or five panes.

How Does a Bow Window Work?

Bow windows can be installed as fixed, non-opening windows or as windows with opening mechanisms. However, it’s important to note that bow window replacement costs increase and designs become considerably more complicated when opening mechanisms are involved, primarily because the panes need to be placed closely together, which interferes with the ability to install effective supports and opening mechanisms. Because of this, it’s most common to select fixed windows for bow window installations.

Benefits of Bow Windows

Because bow window prices are often higher than other styles, they’re not the most common selection among homeowners. However, these unique windows make a great addition to nearly any property thanks to the variety of benefits they offer.

Improved Airflow

When hinged casement windows are chosen over fixed windows, bow windows can dramatically improve the airflow indoors. The curvature of a bow window can enable a refreshing cross breeze when windows on either side of the curve are left open. And because bow windows are typically made of casement windows, they can be opened wider than other styles. However, those who prefer can opt for double-hung windows when selecting options for their bow window, which still offer ventilation but don’t open as wide as casement windows.

Unique Design

Adding a bow window to your home can dramatically enhance its aesthetic. It increases curb appeal when viewed from the outside and also creates additional airspace indoors, adding an open and airy feeling to your space. This unique design can let you add more seating to a room by placing a window bench beneath your bow window. Or you could gain additional square footage if you choose to leave the space inside the window open.

Adding a bow window as a design enhancement to your home may increase its overall value thanks to the improved look of your home’s exterior and the extra space it adds indoors.

Exceptional Views

A bow window lets you take in a full 180-degree view of your property and the world around it. This window style is great for parents who want a better view of children playing in the yard and for homeowners with lush landscaping they want to enjoy while indoors. 

If you’re fortunate enough to live somewhere with waterfront views or other natural landscapes, adding a bow window to your home can provide you with exceptional views of the outdoors, helping you to further enjoy the nature surrounding your home.

Where Should You Use a Bow Window? 

Bow windows make a stunning addition to nearly any room in a home, especially those where you desire a more open-feeling space. However, their ability to provide a wider view does make them a more obvious choice in certain areas throughout the home.

Kitchen Bow Windows

If you love a bright, beautiful kitchen, a bow window can help you make strides when it comes to achieving that look. Kitchen bow windows are an exceptional source of natural light. In homes that have a backyard-facing kitchen, the addition of a bow window can provide a panoramic view of pets or children playing outdoors while a parent prepares meals or tackles chores.

Dining Room Bow Windows

Because a bow window can add extra floor space to a room, it’s an ideal choice in dining rooms and kitchen nooks where it’s nice to have a little extra room to navigate around tables and chairs. Instead of leaving the space in front of a bow window open, you can add a bench seat to provide space around the table for extra guests.

Living Room Bow Windows

As the primary gathering place in most homes, the living room is often where energizing natural light and open space are most desirable. Adding a bow window to the living room can produce both of these effects simultaneously.

Bow Window Sizes

Bow windows can typically be customized to fit a variety of spaces; however, they work best when there’s a minimum of 80 inches of wall space where they’re being installed. One important consideration is how far you want the bow window to protrude from the house. While it’s possible to minimize the distance the window measures out from the house to as little as just a few inches, those that are 80 inches or above will protrude 10 inches or more from the house. 

Thompson Creek bow windows come in 4 and 5 lite and range from small to very large.

How to Measure for a Bow Window

Measuring a bow window can be far more complicated than measuring a standard casement or double-hung window. The good news is that finding the measurements for this window type doesn’t require any measurement of curved areas. Instead, you need the width, measured from the outermost corner of the window base to the outermost corner on the opposing side. Additionally, you need to measure the height from the top of the window frame to its base.

Of course, while the process sounds simple enough, it’s always best to have any window measured by a professional to ensure accuracy.

Bow Window Treatments

Selecting a treatment for your bow window can be tricky because of its curved shape. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. There are several options to consider when looking for a bow window treatment. These include: 

  • Curtains and drapes: Use a curved or bendable rod that matches the curvature of your bow window to hang curtains. Alternatively, a straight rod hanging from one outer edge to the other can be placed a minimum of 6 inches above the curve of your window if you prefer to hide the area. 
  • Bifold shutters: You can place shutters over each individual window that makes up your bow window. They’re a great way to filter light when you prefer to keep the room dark.
  • Shades: Mounting shades over each individual window can create a cohesive look for your bow window, and a variety of styles can work in this situation. Select from flat-fold Roman shades, cellular shades, or woven shades to achieve the look you want.

Bow Window Replacements

The process of installing or replacing a bow window can be extremely complicated. In most cases, the original window needs to be torn out completely, and cables need to be run from the window opening to the joist or truss of your home. That means hiring a professional to handle the process is crucial to prevent damaging the home’s structure. This is true whether you choose to replace a bow window with a bay window or other window style or you install new bow windows in place of your home’s original windows.

While the installation and bow window replacement process is complicated, it can be carried out relatively quickly when done by experienced professionals. When you hire Thompson Creek to handle your window installation, you can select every element, from the frame color to the type of glass used, to create a modern bow window design that truly suits your home and your style. 

For more information about Thompson Creek windows or to book a consultation, contact us to schedule a free estimate today.

Kitchen Window Ideas

Kitchen Window Ideas

Whether you're in the process of a full remodel or just looking to update your kitchen windows, our kitchen window ideas can...

Read More
Type of Bay Windows

Type of Bay Windows

What are the different types of bay windows? If you want to learn more about bay windows, read the following guide on the most...

Read More
Mixing Window Styles

Mixing Window Styles

Can you mix window styles in your home? Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of mismatched window styles here...

Read More

Request a price estimate

Start your home remodeling project today by filling out the form or calling us at (301) 328-1100 for your free, no-obligation price estimate.

Enter your zip code to begin your request