What is a Bow Window?

Bow WindowA bow window is one way to make a room feel larger and more open than it really is. Because they have several variations, they can be added to almost any room. Quite often, they are confused with bay windows which are similar, but have some key distinctions.

Bow Windows vs Bay Windows

While bay windows always have three angled windows, bow windows have more than three windows. Four or five windows is common. The openings of a bay window are different sizes, the most common being a large, center opening with two smaller ones angled on each side. Bow windows have equal openings across the entire structure.


Since bow windows have more glass, they are almost always larger than a bay window. It is even possible to have a bow window on the corner of a house so that one can see out on both sides. This creates a rounded shape that is similar to the turret of a castle.


Depending on the style of the building, bow windows have several variations that can be used to make it match the building, according to Stanek Windows. The angles of the openings for the bow window greatly effect its style. Sharp angles make it look modern, while a smooth, round look gives the impression of an older, almost Victorian, era.

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Understanding the size and style of bow windows will help one choose the best option available. Bow windows greatly enhance the light and space of any room.