Add beauty and value at the same time with a Bow Window

If you want to add beauty to your home and increase its value as well, then there is no faster way to do this than installing Bow Windows.

These types of windows provide you with a panoramic view of your surroundings and increase the ventilation of a room as well.

Big Beautiful Window - BowMany who live on beaches and in rural areas prefer these types of windows as they bring the outdoors closer and it seems that you can almost reach out and touch what you are seeing.

Today we are going to go into some depth about Bow Windows, the differences between them and the more typical Bay Windows, which no doubt you are familiar with.

We will also look at pricing, installation, and a bit on Bay Windows replacement and renovation. We will also share with you some practical information about the classic, as well as the more innovative decorating ideas that are becoming something of a phenomenon in the home remodeling and construction industry.

When you have finished reading this article, you will be in a better position to decide if these windows are right for your home and where and what to know about getting started in beautifying, providing more light and bringing a feeling of the outdoors into your home.

Let us start off first with letting you know what exactly a Bow Window is. Then we will compare it with the Bay Window, which is a close cousin.

What is a Bow Window?

As the name suggests, this is a bow or an arc-shaped window that expands a room and gives you a feeling of more space.

Because of the rounded nature of the window, more panes of glass are required than a Bay or other types of windows.

The rounded shape also lends it to various decorative ideas one of which is putting one at the corner of the room. These styles of windows give a room a rounded appearance and with the proper roof can resemble the turrets of a medieval castle. Though if you like much more imaginative designs are possible as well.

By changing the style, from a rounded shape that gives an Art Nouveau organic feel to your home. With a more angular approach, you get a more modernistic look of Art Deco and the Machine Age styling that many want for their home and reflects their unique lifestyle.

This look also is seen in homes that affect a gothic as well as Neo-Victorian architecture seen in the south.

So you see, adding a bow window can change the entire character of your house and make  it match with the personal image you want to project to the world.

Bay vs. Bow Windows

The most striking difference between bay and bow windows is the number of panes of glass used in their construction. A Bay Window is made up of 3 panes. A large centerpiece and two smaller panes on either side called “Flankers.”

This gives the window a decidedly angular look. You can find many homes in New England that use this style of window. Especially along the seaports in Connecticut and Massachusetts that were home to fishermen and their families during the heyday of Whaling in 1846-1852. Some say the origin of the Bay Window comes from the homes that faced the famous New Bedford seaside that you see in oil paintings of the time that allowed the folks waiting for their loved ones return and to see the ships as they left and returned to port.window-bay-huge

However, the most accepted view is that they evolved from the Oriel Window, and The Bay Window was popular in Victorian England.

Chicago took The bay window to new heights as this style of window was used in not only two story windows the graced the homes of the Well-To-Do but covered entire roofs as well to let in more light during the Industrial Revolution.

The Bay Window is canted at 90, 150, even an odd angle of 135 degrees. In the famous horror story written in HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos Frank Belknap Long wrote the classic, “Hounds of Tindalos”, which as to do with angles. One may surmise he got the idea from looking out a sharply canted Bay Window that served as his inspiration.

Bow Windows, on the other hand, are not restricted to only three panes of glass though they can be made up of only 3. However, 5 – 8 panes are more common which allows for more innovative designs and styles.

The angles are not set in stone, as are those for the Bay Window. The pane sizes can also vary far more than those of a Bay Window can as well.

This leads to larger expanses of glass and conversely more area a room appears to have along with greater natural light as well. Some Bay windows can even approach 360 degrees, and this is perfect for that new room on the top floor of your home to give you a bird’s eye view of your surroundings.

The framing of such windows can be a challenge though and consult with a pro before you attempt to DIY. Your local Home Depot has not only the people who will help you, but they also have books, video, and all the materials you need to get your Bow Window project off the ground right and looking they way you envision it to be.


Here we get into the Nitty Gritty of Windows. Pricing is one of the major concerns in the minds of those looking to install Bow windows for either initial construction of their home or as a replacement for the normally flat windows, most of us grew up within the city.

The first thing you need to look at when pricing your window needs is whether you are going with single Hung or Double Hung windows. There actually are a number of good points for either choice.

Let’s look at Single Hung windows first as they are the most commonly used after the solid pane or non-open able window.

Single Hung windows are between 10% and 20% cheaper than the same style window that is Double Hung. Remember: Single Hung windows only allow opening the lower portion or pane of a window.

Double Hung, on the other hand, allow both panes to tilt inward. This offers many advantages. Primarily in airflow, With Double Hung windows you can open both panes, and you get more air moving in and out of a room. For lower stories and basements this is an advantage as it helps rid you of unwanted moister in the air, which promotes mold, mildew, and odors.

The second benefit is that they are far easier to clean. With Single Hung or solid windows for an upper story you might need a ladder or hire a professional cleaning service to do the work. This negates the cost advantage that going with Single Hung windows bought you in the first place.

Nowadays with energy savings and tax credits from the government, you actually can save money if you go with energy saving Double Hung windows that keep the heat and AC from raising your carbon footprint. By going “Green”, you may actually be able to pay for you windows in the energy savings in 1 or more years.

The other cost factor is the framing. Going with aluminum is an old time favorite in the construction trades. However, PVC is making inroads in a market that once held Aluminum in such high regard.

PVC framing can save you 30 to 50% on the costs associated with installing new or replacement windows. So, with an average price to install of $1,500 to $3,000 depending on how large a Bow window you want. The materials it is framed with can play a significant role in your decision. In addition, adding on the price of enlarging the window area if you want a larger view also factors into pricing.

You can save here by choosing the same sizes for your Bow windows that match you existing windows. This or slightly smaller then makes the work of installation move into the DIY range of skill and price. If however you are looking to tear out a wall of altering the basic structure of your home then hiring a contractor might be the route you choose to follow.


Once you get the angles you want down, installation is relatively simple if you aren’t planning on the major demolition of an existing wall. As mentioned earlier, Home Depot has all the materials (including kits) that can make it really easy for you to install the window effortlessly.

On the web, there are many videos available and YouTube videos are out there to help you see how to do it right. For example:

But, this is only the tip of the iceberg as you can find complete instruction guides from many of the major Bow window makers as well. Some companies offer entire libraries of documentation that covers everything you need.

So, it behooves you to do a little homework up front before you undertake the installation or replacement of your existing window. Of course, the easy way out is to outsource the work, and you can start a bidding war to get you the best price by contacting some home construction firms to have them compete for you installation or remodeling work.


Having said the above you can see how easy it is to have an existing Bow Window replaced with one that is more energy efficient and perhaps have a larger one installed to give a particular room, even more, depth and beauty after you’ve finished a landscaping project or you just want more light and air.

Various kits are available, and you only have to go to your local homeowner’s supply store such as those Mega Chan stores and purchase the equipment that suits your needs.

Remember too that you also need drapes and curtain rods in the sizes that fit your new window’s various panes.

Protective coatings and films are available that replace traditional curtains and 3M has a complete line of them that lets you see out but prevents others from seeing in. This can be useful in the south and southwest where temperatures can be blistering.

So if you decide to replace via a kit, customized it yourself, and perhaps have it outsourced. You need to remember some of the tips we’ve mentioned in this article.


Bow Window


Final Thoughts

You have seen today Bow Windows have had a long history and like their brethren, the Bay Window offer you the ability to make a room appear larger, increase airflow, and let more light in. However, their main selling point is the fact, that you now have a view of the property around you that reminds you why you bought your house where you did in the first place.

You can DIY and build your window from a kit. Make one from materials you get from Home Depot as well as get detailed instructions on how to do the job right the first time from whomever, you’ve bought the materials from.

In addition, the internet provides you with a plethora of sources of not only the Bow Windows themselves but complete and painstakingly detailed instructions on how to do it that lead you step by step from beginning to end.

In this way, your home is made more beautiful, you have a house that is more energy efficient, and you have a more spectacular view of the world around you.

You also can increase the value of your home and property, save on your energy cost by getting tax credits and energy savings for “Going Green” in this way you win on many fronts and you may even find that your new window(s) pay for themselves after only a short period as well.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the tour we’ve provided through this fascinating new world of windows.