Bay Window vs Bow Window

Lake Washington Windows & Doors offers Bay & Bow Window Installation to the greater Seattle area. We use top brands like Milgard and Andersen.

Basic Differences Between Bay & Bow Windows

The basic difference between bay windows & bow windows are how many sections each style of window has. Another difference is that bay windows consist of a picture window at the center with two different windows on both sides. A bow window uses the same style of window in each section, and the whole structure is rounded. You’ll see that bay windows have hard angled sections.

bay window

Bay Windows

What Is A Bay Window?

A bay window is a three sectioned window that bows outward. The center window is a picture window and on either side of the picture window is another style of window. The side windows are usually the same type of window. Bay windows are usually canted (angled/oblique line or surface particularly which cuts off a corner) at most commonly 45 or 90 degrees.

andersen wood bay window

When Is A Bay Window A Good Idea?

You can think of bay windows as an extension of your house. The way the bay window extends from the house adds extra area for you to utilize in various ways. 

Andersen bay window installation in seattle

What Can You Do With A Bay Window?

There are many design ideas to consider when installing bay windows. Here are a few things to immediate ideas:

  • Set up a nook. A bay window in your kitchen is an ideal spot for a breakfast nook.
  • Add long drapes. Create a vertical emphasis that makes the room look a little bigger.
  • Make the space a window seat. Use it as another seating area or place for pillows.
  • Create an alcove. Make a cozy reading space to curl up in with your favorite book.
  • Utilize accent chairs. A good alternative if you don’t have room for chairs as accents.
  • Add a Desk. The large amount of light they offer makes this area perfect for a desk.
  • Use it for activities. Place a table in front of the bay window for hobbies and crafts.

Bay Windows Are Great For Seattle Homes

Seattle is surrounded by water and has lots of hills. That makes Seattle an ideal location for homes with Bay Windows. If you have a room with a view and no bay window, then you are missing out on the type of addition that can enhance that view.

Pros And Cons Of Bay Windows

Bay windows can be expensive to install, take up room in the area outside of the window, be difficult to find treatments for, and can be too small for anything useful except pots and plants. You will need some space and budget to utilize a bay window.

However, bay windows increase square footage, add value to your house, increase natural light a lot, add ventilation, and can add various uses like a daybed, read nook, shelving, and more.


There are mixed opinions on whether bay windows are outdated or not, but we side with the group that understands their versatility. Bay windows can be made to match the style of the house, and nearly always look good as long as they’re designed well.


Normally windows allow light in from one angle. Because bay windows have three sides, there are three directions from which sunlight can enter your house. Illuminate your home naturally with a large bay window.


Bay windows can open and close like other windows, thus offering ventilation to your standards.


“How Much Do Bay Windows Cost? The average cost for a vinyl, medium sized, 3 panel replacement bay window installation is $4,000 to $7,000 depending on your location. 

If you don’t already have a bay window in your home, you should consider adding it to increase the value of your home, improve curb appeal, and bring overall enjoyment to you.

Energy Efficiency

As long as you install quality, multi-pane, energy efficient windows, then you will not reduce the efficiency of your home.

Things To Consider

Exterior space is reduced when bay windows are installed. They extend further than the rest of the wall and use space that may otherwise be used for something else.  However, you will increase the space in the room.

Resale Value

Bay windows increase the resale value of your home. They improve curb appeal, the interior look, the lighting, the square footage, and improve the view of your house.

Bow Windows

What Is A Bow Window?

A bow window is an arc-shape window structure with at least 4 windows that are usually casement windows. They have all of the benefits of bay windows – more space, lots of use possibilities, great lighting, better view, and increased home value.

andersen bow window 400 series

When Is A Bow Window A Good Idea?

Bow windows are a good idea when you want to increase space, improve your view, improve your natural lighting, add to the look of the house, or create a space to be used for a specific reason – seating, accent a room, storage.

Bow windows are a better idea than bay windows when you want more light, to make the room look larger than a bay window could, and have varying window pane sizes.

Great For Seattle Homes

Bow windows are superb for capturing a view and adding it to your home. That means they go hand-in-hand with Seattle homes.

Pros and Cons Of Bow Windows

Framing can be tricky with bow windows because they are not canted. The different pane sizes and amounts can make it expensive to install if you don’t not already have a bow window.


They look beautiful from the outside, especially on the second floor of your home. Get a bird’s eye view of the outside, and a stunning interior design inside.


There are many sections and panes in a bow window so get ready to brighten your room.


Bow windows use casement windows typically so they are able to open and close. That means they are good for ventilation.


Installation can be quite a process, but there are online instructionals. Hiring a professional bow window installation company will make the process faster and come with quality guarantees.


Bow window costs vary depending on many factors. However the average price to install a vinyl bow window can range from $5,000 to $8,000 depending on the size, type and location of the Bow window.

Energy Efficiency

As long as you are using energy efficient windows, you can maintain or improve the efficiency of your house. You can also qualify for tax credits and reimbursements.

How To Get Bay & Bow Windows

When searching for window installers, ask if they specialize in bay or bow window installation. Look at their reviews online, and the images they have available of past work.

Who sells bay and bow windows?

We do, Lake Washington Windows & Doors. We have hundreds of reviews and images online that can be considered our portfolio. You can also check out our showroom in Renton, and we can come to you.