Difference Between Bay Window vs Bow Window | Which One Is Best?

Bay Window vs Bow Window

Are you planning to build a new house for your family and stuck between the type of window to go with? If yes, then worry not. Here we are with an article on “Bay Window vs Bow window” that will clear all your doubts and you will be able to make out which window best suits your house.

“Bay Window vs Bow window” has always been an issue of debate since the 18th century. Although Bow windows can be considered as a type of the Bay window. But the architectural and the engineering aspect of the bow windows makes it all different. You can never say that one of them is the best. It depends on the requirements of the person such as ventilation and budget.

In this article on “Bay Window vs Bow window”, we will be comparing the Bay and the Bow window on the following aspects

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  1. Appearance
  2. Size
  3. Area of Installation
  4. Ventilation
  5. Light
  6. Cost 

Further in the article, you will come across all the points of comparison given above in detail. After that, you will yourself be able to make out which type of window will suit your house the best.

Bay Window vs Bow window

Before starting the comparison on Bay Window vs Bow window, let us have a look at What are Bay and Bow windows, their architecture, and their types.

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What Is a Bay Window?

Bay Window vs Bow Window
Source: Thompson Creek Window Company

Bay Window refers to the type of windows that are projected outwards from the building. Constructing these windows in the houses creates a Bay inside the room. So, these windows are called the Bay windows. If you talk about the shape of bay windows then they can be angular or curved but protruding outside. Mostly you will find bay windows to be in the angular shape that is the two corners projecting outside the building.

Types of Bay Windows

  • Isosceles Trapezoid: Well, these types of windows are made by connecting three windows in the angular format. The rear windows are of the same shape and size but the middle one can vary, they are often referred to as Canted Bay windows.
  • Polygon Windows: Well, these bay windows are similar to the ones described above, windows are connected at certain angles. But, the number of windows connected varies depending on the polygon shape. For example, a Hexa bay window will have six windows.
  • Curved bay Window: Well, as the name signifies the windows are circularly connected. These windows are often called Bow Windows (Explained in the next section).
  • Oriel Window: When the Bay windows are supported by the Angular supports or the Sculptures they are referred to as the Oriel Windows.
  • Rawashin: These are the type of traditional Oriel windows found in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

What Is Bow Window

Bay Window vs Bow Window
Source: Pinterest

A bow window is a compass window that protrudes outside the building like a Bow. A bow window can be called a type of Bay window. The only difference is that the windows are connected in a compass round manner rather than angular. 

Bow windows are often found in buildings that have good outside views like a garden or the street. Bow windows mostly combine four or more windows to form an arch.

If you talk about the first appearance of the bow windows then it can be traced back to the eighteenth century, in the United Kingdoms. These windows became famous in the United States in the federal period (1785-1815).

The most famous Bow window in the world can be found in London at St. James’s Street.

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Difference Between Bay Window vs Bow window

Bay Window vs Bow Window

Although Bow windows can be considered as a type of Bay Windows. But, there is always debate on Which one is better. So, now we will be comparing both the Bay and Bow windows on different bases.

Appearance And Size

Well, if we talk of the appearance of the windows then it depends on your choice. The carpenters have the windows design book. You can always look up into it to choose the one which you like. 

But, as far as size is concerned then you have to be specific. Talking about the bay windows first. Traditionally there are three windows attached, One fixed and two flanks. They require at least 40 inches of space on the exterior wall to fit.

Now, moving to the bow windows, there can be more than four windows attached, vented, or fixed, according to your wish. It requires at least 80 inches of space on the exterior wall to fit.


Style is the most common point of debate when it comes to the Bay vs Bow windows. As I said earlier, you can always choose the style of window you like. But, a fact cannot be denied that the Bow windows will always be in the arc. But, the Bay windows on the other hand provides a variety when it comes to shapes. 

Area Of Installation

Well, Bay windows will create a bay in your room or hall, hence creating more space inside. But Bow windows tend to be wider that makes them a perfect fit for the corners of the room. So, choose accordingly.


If you want proper ventilation through the windows and that too cost-effective. Then we would suggest you go with the Bay windows. Although opening bow windows can be installed. But they are expensive.


Moving to the installation cost of the windows. Bow windows require more fine engineering, so they cost more than the Bay windows.

Table of Comparison Bay and Bow Windows

Bay WindowsBow Windows
SizeThey require at least 40 inches of space on the exterior wall to fit.It requires at least 80 inches of space on the exterior wall to fit.
StyleBow windows will always be in the arc.Bay windows on the other hand provide a variety when it comes to shapes. 
LightLess natural light than bow windows but offers more privacyMore natural light and outdoor view
VentilationThe opening mechanism works just like other windowsopening bow windows can be installed but it is expensive.
CostCosts less than bow windowsBow windows require more fine engineering so, they cost more

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Bay Window vs Bow Window – The Conclusion

With this comparison table, we have reached the end of the  “Bay Window vs Bow Window” discussion. If you are planning to build any of the two windows in your house or building, we recommend you note down your requirements and needs such as availability of space, design, and budget. And then choose the type of Window. 

If you want our suggestion, then we would say, go with the Bay window as they are cost-effective and properly ventilated.

Featured Image Source: Comfort Windows

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