Projection Window Panache

The Benefits of Bay and Bow Windows in Your Home

A beautiful bay or bow (projection) window can be the perfect complement to any home, adding dimension to an exterior façade and creating a lovely sunlit alcove indoors. 

Bay- and bow-window styling is quite versatile, so you may find it difficult to choose which type of window you’d like (and then how best to accessorize it)—but we are here to help! 

This month, atHome explores the differences between bay and bow windows…and be sure to tune in next month when we examine room-by-room décor examples for these two popular window styles!

What is a Projection Window?

Bay and bow windows are both projection windows—that means instead of being flush to the wall, they have an arced design made up of three or more panels that results in the window projecting from the wall on the exterior of the home, granting the viewer a wider, more unobstructed view.

With the right placement, a projection window can greatly change the look and feel of your living space. They offer valuable benefits that other windows cannot match, from functionality to form and make a dramatic statement.

Some of the common benefits of both bay and bow projection windows include:

Enhanced natural light and ventilation

Because of their extra glass area, bay and bow windows invite more light into your room. If you choose a configuration that has operable sashes, such as a picture window flanked by two casements, you get the extra light AND the benefit of ventilation.

Some homeowners are concerned that a window projecting out into the elements might be cold and drafty—but nothing is further from the truth with Renewal by Andersen® projection windows. Our windows frame exterior features TyVek™ Weatherization, flashing, tape, and paper. Vented soffit panels are installed on the bottom surface, providing air circulation to the exterior frame components. These components are designed to provide the maximum level of weather-tight performance. Pair that with our High-Performance™ Low-E4® SmartSun™ glass option and our sleek and strong Fibrex ® composite material frames, and you have a showpiece that gives you the brilliance of natural light while maintaining the comfort you need, no matter what the weather is like outdoors.

Expanded views

There’s only so much you can see from a flat vantage point—so why not expand your view? The way bay and bow windows overlook a yard or other scenery, providing a larger viewing area from which to take in spectacular outdoor landscapes, is one of the most popular aspects of this style. In fact, depending on the design, projection windows can add up to double the field of vision over a standard picture window.

Not only do bay and bow windows grant the viewer a wider, more unobstructed view, they also look good doing it, and contribute greatly to the curb appeal and architectural interest of your home.

Additional functional space

Bay and bow windows expand the usable space in your room—without changing the footprint of your home. Use it as a study or work area by creating a built-in desk into the window. Add a window seat with storage—you’ll have extra seating for guests or a cozy place to curl up with a book, and a place to store linens, pillows, dishes/tableware, or toys and games. 

Bay versus Bow: What’s the Difference?

As we saw, bow and bay windows have many similarities. Both can open up a room and let it breathe, provide additional space, and let in more light all while adding a distinctive style element to any room.

Now that we’ve learned a bit about the two types of projection windows, let’s look at the key differences. 

Bay window key features

A bay window has three openings available in angled projections. Typically, it is comprised of a larger, flat center panel flanked by two smaller windows—most often, casements or double-hungs. Renewal by Andersen offers bay windows in three-, four-, and five-window combinations. In the three-lite window (three-window combination), there is a single center picture window; in the four- and five-lite versions, the center panel is made up of two or three windows, respectively. 

Additionally, there are also box bay and bump-out bay windows. In both of those, the sides are at a right angle with the center window. A box bay is a three-lite window; a bump-out is a one-lite, and does not have windows on the sides, only in the center.

For homeowners looking to maximize usable space, a box bay is the perfect solution. The right-angle corners provide maximum square footage, making this window one step short of adding a small sunroom to the side of the house. 

Whether limited by location or by home design, some houses are not a good fit for a traditional bay window. For homeowners who still want the cozy reading nook, perfect perch for greenery, supplemental storage, or added architectural flourish, bump-outs are an ideal compromise. 

Bow window key features

A bow window has three to six equal-sized openings that sweep out from the wall in a graceful arc, as opposed to the sharper angles of a bow. 

Because it has a curve instead of corners, a bow window typically has more glass, more viewing area, and is larger than a bay. In addition, where a bay has a fixed panel and the option to have two venting flankers, a bow window can have all sections operable.

A bow window’s curved nature means it can wrap around corners, allowing from viewing on two sides of a room.

Additional Points of Comparison

A few other points to consider if you are trying to decide between a bay or a bow window.

Size: Because bay windows only have three panels that are set at angles, and the center is fixed, they have a smaller minimum-size requirement—a little over three feet is often sufficient. A bow window, with its arcing design and multiple lites (all of which can be operable), fits best into openings that are substantially larger (twice that of a bay). 

Placement: Both bay and bow go on a flat wall; only bow windows can curve around corners—making a unique feature. Also, consider the area you have to work with. If your building façade sits close to a street or sidewalk, or if there is a porch or deck underneath, a bow window may be a better option, as bay windows project further out from the house. 

Inside the home, the depth and width of the window also matters. If you have a relatively narrow space, a bay window makes a good choice as it can add to the usable space in the room. 

Style:The angles and flat planes of a bay window are often considered more appropriate for modern or contemporary homes, while the graceful curve of the semi-circular outer structure of a bow window is a typical hallmark of a Victorian. 

But of course, one of the highlights of a projection window is its versatility and either type can be crafted to suit most home styles. When you work with a design consultant at Renewal by Andersen, we will help you create a window unique to your home and your preferences.

Cost: Bow windows are larger, have more glass, and often more hardware. They can also require additional engineering in certain cases. All of this means that, in general, bow windows tend to be higher priced option of the pair.

Your Home; Your Style!

Projection windows are a great way to enhance a home’s functionality, curb appeal, energy efficiency, and beauty—all while allowing you to incorporate and express your own style and character. 

Renewal by Andersen offer a variety of window styles, colors and finishes, hardware, and grille options to make sure your replacement window complements the architectural style of your home. What’s more, with a projection window project, you will also be able to pick such touches as roof style and material, window seat and headboard material/fabrics/finishes, and more. 

Many people don’t know that bay or bow windows can actually be used as a replacement in most large window openings. If you have an old window that is due for a replacement and are looking for something new, we encourage you to talk with our experts! 

Download our projection window brochure, then visit a showroom or request a consultation. Our design consultants are happy to meet with you in your home at your convenience to listen to your needs and provide you with options and pricing information.

In This Issue

Join The Conversation

consult button