Bay Windows Vs Bow Windows

Bay windows vs bow windows, which are better? There are many reasons to consider upgrading your home to include a new set of projection windows or replacement bay windows. Perhaps you are looking to expand your view or let in extra sunlight. Maybe you are simply looking to increase your room’s living space.

Regardless of your reasoning, projection windows — such as bow windows or bay windows — can be an elegant addition to any home. Not only do they help connect you to nature by blending indoor and outdoor spaces, but they also brighten your home with natural light and boost its overall curb appeal.

When shopping for projection windows or replacement bay windows, there are a number of different styles to consider. So, if you’re just beginning to research your options, you will probably have some questions.

For starters, the two most popular styles of projection windows are bow windows and bay windows. Naturally, the two share a few similarities (such as protruding from the wall to open up space). However, understanding the difference between them will help you make a more informed decision.

So, keep reading to learn the differences between bay windows vs bow windows!

Bay Windows

A bay window is a combination of three or more panels set at angles, so the centerpiece is always the widest. Usually, this centerpiece is a picture window, so it’s stationary and only exists to offer an elegant view.

Bay windows also include casement or double hung windows on their sides. Unlike picture windows, double hung windows include two operating sashes that can slide up and down. This allows bay windows to open, providing ventilation and airflow to the home.

Unlike other projection styles, replacement bay windows can be fully operational. This in mind, they are a great choice for those looking for projection windows that can maximize airflow and ventilation.

Bow Windows

On the other hand, bow windows are wider and more intricate. Usually made up of four to six panels set side by side, they curve to create a rounded appearance from the outside.

Like bay windows, bow windows also protrude from the home to open up living space. However, they are usually wider and more angled, making this protrusion less steep. You should still be able to design an elegant nook and relax by the window. But if you’re looking to maximize space at the window, replacement bow windows are not the best choice.

On the bright side (literally), the wider panels featured in bow windows open up more space for natural light. This leads to a broader view and a deeper connection to nature, but also lessens the possibilities for increased living space within the home.

Finally, unlike bay windows, most bow windows are not operational. This means they cannot be opened or closed to allow fresh air into the home. This in mind, bow windows are not a great choice for those looking to open their windows or increase ventilation.


So, what is the final verdict? Bay windows vs bow windows, which is better? Who is the winner?

Truthfully, the right projection window for any home depends on its homeowners’ priorities. Though replacement bay windows and replacement bow windows share a few similarities (such as protruding from the wall and opening up space within your home), they can also deliver distinctly different perks to your home. 

Bay windows are a great choice for those looking to open their windows and increase airflow in the home. On the other hand, bow windows are a solid choice for those looking to maximize their windows’ expansive view.

It is important to understand these differences before making a decision. To help simplify these features, we’ve included a brief summary below.

Bay Windows:

  • 3 panels
  • Angled curve
  • Can be operational
  • More protruded than Bow Windows

Bow Windows:

  • 4-6 panels
  • Rounded curve
  • Non-operational
  • Wide, expansive view
  • Less protruded than Bay Windows