How to furnish a bay window

Bay windows can be a beautiful feature in any room, but when it comes to furnishing and decorating them, you might find yourself a bit stumped. Should you leave yours empty - to accentuate the extra square footage... Or turn it into an intimate cosy reading space? Would a bold colour scheme work, or should you stick to something neutral and understated?

To help you answer these questions and more, here’s a brief guide to help make the most of your bay.

How to decorate a bay window in the living room

Living room with a bay window that’s dressed with cushions Bay Window Decorating Tips

No living room bay window is complete without some stunning curtains or blinds. Finding curtain poles that fit around the bend and match the exact dimensions of your bay can be tricky - not to mention expensive. A great way around this is to fit a separate pole or runner for each window. If you go for curtains, hang a pair in the middle window and then frame each side with another curtain. Another tip is to fit tie-back hooks high up to gather your curtains in and make sure they hang perfectly.

While some people like to leave their bays furniture-free, a few pieces of carefully chosen furniture can really bring these features to life. For example, you might want to create a cosy sitting area with a couch that fills the entire bay, complete with sumptuous cushions and throws. Bays can also make ideal dining areas. Simply pick out a table and chairs set that fits neatly into the space. You could choose an extendable table to give you more room when you’re eating. For added drama and to create more of a sense of separation between your dining area and the rest of your lounge, you could fit a low-hanging chandelier above your table.

If you’re in need of shelves for your reading material, why not create a small library with built-in bookshelves running underneath your bay? Complete the look by accessorising the top of the units with decorative additions such as photo frames and candle holders. Another option is to frame the sides of your bay with floor-to-ceiling shelves. This will create an impressive focal point for the room.

When it comes to your colour scheme, consider going for light, bright hues to help maximise the sense of openness and space that your bay brings to your living room. You could then add bold accents by choosing strong colours for your window dressings, cushions, ornaments or other accessories.

How to decorate a bay window in the kitchen

When it comes to window dressings for a kitchen bay, you could go for the bare approach if privacy isn’t a concern. This can make your windows look as big as possible, and ensure you get maximum natural light into the space. Roman blinds or roller blinds are also perfect in these rooms.

Alternatively, you could decorate your bay with an assortment of potted plants. This will add a touch of life and vibrancy to the room. Why not include a basket of fragrant herbs too? These plants should thrive thanks to all the sunlight, and of course you can use them in your cooking.

Another way to style a kitchen bay is to fit a window seat with built-in storage. This can be a great place to read or generally relax, and the extra storage it provides can be used to house anything from cookbooks to pots and pans. Make sure you stack your window seat with plenty of cushions to get that luxe look. When it's time to choose the colours for these accessories, to create a seamless look, you can go for tones that mirror the rest of the décor in your kitchen. Or, if you’d prefer to make a feature out of this part of the room, select a contrasting colour scheme.

How to dress a bay window with voile

Whether your bay window is in your lounge, kitchen or elsewhere in your home, dressing it with voile curtains will give it a beautiful, dreamy vibe. This thin, sheer fabric lets lots of light through and will soften the look and feel of the whole room. You can use these curtains as standalone window dressings, or if you want more control over light levels and privacy, team them up with blinds.

You could go for the simple elegance of plain white or off-white voile, or if you want something a bit different, go for a fabric with subtle embroidered detailing for a frosted effect. For a contemporary take on these window dressings, layer a flat pelmet over the top and team this up with coordinating tie-backs. This will give a neat finish and hide your curtain poles and other fixings.

With the right furniture and accessories, and some carefully chosen colours, your bay window will be the crowning glory of your design scheme.

Fern xx

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