Hanging curtains in a bay window isn’t as daunting as you might think. Provided you measure your bay window properly, you shouldn’t have too many problems.
The first thing to do is measure your bay window for your curtain pole or track. We’ve covered how to do this in our bay window measuring guide, so we won’t go into the detail of how to do this here. You’ll also need to decide whether you want to use a curtain pole or a curtain track.
Curtain poles can make a statement, but they can be a bit trickier to fit than curtain tracks, which can be curved to fit any window.
However, if you do want to use a curtain pole, you do have options available. You can buy a custom-made pole, you can buy a bay window pole, which has slots cut into it for flexibility, you can buy regular curtain poles and connect them with angled joints, or you can buy a separate pole for each section of your bay.
Should I put curtains on a bay window?
There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the benefits of curtains in your bay window. Bay windows are a statement in themselves, so paired with the right curtains, they can create a wonderful centrepiece for your rooms. And, as mentioned above, you have a few options when it comes to choosing what you want them to look like.
What curtains should I use on a bay window?
As with any window, you have many options when it comes to choosing curtains. You can buy curtains to fit the full-width of the bay. You can conceal corner connectors by using separate panels. You can just hang a curtain straight across the front of the bay (ideal if there’s a window seat or a deep sill). Or you can use separate curtains for the individual windows.
And when it comes to choosing colours and fabrics, again the possibilities are endless! Deep colours can make a strong statement for curtains that fall to the floor. Sheer panels can look lovely covering the bottom half of each window. And wool and velvet curtains can add real warmth and cosiness.
Bear in mind that thicker fabrics will take up more space when pulled back, so this is something you may want to consider if you’re treating each window separately. Also, as bay windows have larger areas of glass, the potential for heat loss is greater, so thicker fabrics might be a good bet, particularly when it’s colder.
When it comes to the curtain drop, this will depend on whether you’ve got a radiator directly under the window (popular in many UK houses). You won’t want full-length curtains in this case as they’ll block the heat from your radiator from getting into your room. Aim for curtains that sit just above the sill in this case.
However, if there’s no obstacles under your window, go all out! Full-length curtains on a stunning bay window can make a really lovely feature in your room, and fit particularly well with the character of older houses.
How do you fix a curtain pole in a bay window?
To fix a curtain pole in a bay window, you use brackets, like you would with a regular window. If you have less than 15cm of space between the ceiling and where you want your curtain pole to sit, you’ll need to use ceiling brackets. If more, then you can use wall brackets or ceiling brackets. Your pole should ideally sit between 10-15cm above your window.
Brackets will obviously hinder the movement of your curtains. If you want just one set of curtains covering the whole bay, a special bay window pole or kit is the best option here. Bay window kits come with specially adapted curtain rings so that the rings can just slide smoothly over the brackets. Or use a track instead.
However, if you’re using separate curtains for each window, then there’s no problem, just fix the poles as you would for any other window.
To install the brackets, first mark out where you need them to be. Then, drill holes into the wall at these marks. Create added security for the screws by fitting rawl plugs or wall anchors into the holes, and then screw the brackets in place. Finally, place the pole into the brackets and check that it’s level.
Installing Curtain Tracks in Bay Windows
To fix a PVC curtain track in a bay window, fit the supplied brackets using the same method as for a pole. Bend your curtain track to fit the curve or angles of your bay (gently, so that you don’t create any kinks or cause the track to snap), and mount the track on the brackets. If you’re using more than one track, the method is the same - just work from the outside toward the middle.
With tracks, you don’t need to worry about the brackets so much, as the curtain hooks are part of the system and designed to glide past them. Just ensure that they are regularly spaced to support the weight of the track and curtains.
You can also buy flexible metal curtain tracks, however once bent, these are difficult to reshape so it’s best to create a cardboard template to follow.
Hanging Curtains in a Bay Window
Once you’ve fixed your curtain pole or tracks in place, that’s really the hard part over. The next bit’s the fun bit of actually dressing your bay window and making it look beautiful.
If using a pole, remove your curtain pole from the brackets and simply thread your curtains onto it. You may find it easier with pencil pleat or eyelet curtains to fold the curtain first and then thread the rings or eyelets onto the pole.
The above applies whether you’re using a single pole (or connected poles) designed for a bay, or separate poles for each window.
If you’re using a track, again, just feed your curtains onto it, and fix the ends into place so that they don’t slide off the track when you pull your curtains back.
Then all that’s left to do is grab a well-earned cuppa and enjoy your lovely new curtains.