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Ideas for Covering Bay Windows with Fabric

I'm working on a master bedroom and one of the things we have left to do is window coverings for a large bay window. This is a tricky one and something that many people struggle with. In fact, several years ago, I wrote a post about options for privacy treatments for bay windows and this has by far been my most highly trafficked post. In the original post, the windows I was trying to cover faced the front of the house and were completely bare - no blinds, no nothin' so privacy was the number one concern. However, for this current master bedroom that I'm working on, the room faces the back of the house and already has blinds. So, in this instance the issue is purely decorative. I thought I'd address covering bay windows again but this time from a decorative standpoint.

I'll focus this post on using fabric as an option to cover the windows. Fabric offers a great way to inject pattern, texture, color and softness into the hard lines of a bay window. There are practically endless options for how to address curtains on bay windows but I've picked four of my favorites to narrow down the options.

1. Single Straight Rod in Front of Bay Window

Single rod on outside of window to cover bay window

I love the simplicity of this look however this option is only going to work if you have enough wall space on either side of the window to attach the rod to. The nice this about this option is you don't have to do a lot of measuring and hanging multiple rods - you just have to find one long enough to accommodate your window. But this is a purely decorative option because if you use standard sized drapes and you have a wide window, the curtains won't cover it when they are closed.

Here's another example of the single rod in front of the window:

single rod for curtains to cover bay window

2. Multiple Smaller Rods

idea for covering bay window using two small rods for curtains


Just as I mentioned before, the ability to do this is going to depend on the amount of wall space you have between the windows. It also depends on the angle of the wall.

You have options for how you hang the actual curtain panels on the rods. A couple of examples:

a. As pictured above. Install two rods on the outer window and leave the center one open. Here again, no privacy from this option. You get the softness and potentially pattern and texture from the drapes but you'd never really close them. They're just there to look pretty.

multiple drapery panels to cover bay window


b. Have one drapery panel on each of the outside rods and then two panels on the middle rod. This will allow for an even number of drapes and will help the look feel finished. From a practical standpoint, if you do intend to close the drapes either to help darken the room or for additional privacy, this is the way to do it (provided the curtain panels that are on their own rod are long enough to stretch across the width of the window.

3. Single Rod that follows the shape of the window

custom rod for draperies to cover bay window

For this option you could go squared off (as shown above) or curved (see below).

curved rod for curtains for bay window

via Pinterest

Just like with the multiple rods, you have options on where to place the individual panels. Here is one where two large panels flank the entire large bay window and in the first image in this category, you can see where four curtain panels were used.

ideas for covering a bay window with draperies

via Pinterest

4. Fabric Shades

fabric shades to cover a bay window

These are in fact shades and not curtains or drapes but since they are made from fabric, I'm including them in this post.

The fabric shades option allows you the softness, color, and pattern from full length curtain panels but they install at the top of each window. This is a great option if you have a built in seat (as shown) installed in the space or furniture where full length curtains would be in the way. And not only is this pretty - it is practical as well as these would cover the windows for darkening or privacy needs.

fabric shades to cover a bay window

Those are my top four. I will keep you posted on which direction we go with the current master bedroom that I'm working on.



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