Split image showing a bay window, on the left, and a bow window, on the right
Bay windows vs. bow windows: Although they look similar, these types of windows are installed differently and could have an impact on your home’s curb appeal.

Bay Windows Vs. Bow Windows

Many folks wonder about the difference between bay and bow windows and which is right for their home.

That’s the case for Erica from Huntington, Calif. She’s wanting to remodel a large flat picture window in her living room into either a bay window or a bow window. Erica asks, “Do you know any reason why we should choose one over the other?”

We’ll break down the differences in this week’s Podcast Question of the Week.  

Bay window, seen from the inside of a home
Bay windows typically extend down to the home’s floor level.

Bay Windows

A bay window is a combination of three windows that angle out beyond a home’s exterior wall. These windows, if on the first floor, also have walls beneath them that extend to your home’s floor surface. Bay windows often function as an extension of the home, providing additional space for various uses like breakfast nooks, storage spaces, and accent areas.

The angle at which the windows are installed will determine how far out they protrude. With a 30-degree angle, the window will typically extend about 13-14 inches. If the windows are at a 45-degree angle, they could extend about 20 inches.

If you have a walkway in front of your house, that might protrude too far out and obstruct it. Carefully consider these things before choosing a bay window.

Bow window, seen from the outside of a downtown apartment complex
Bow windows are sometimes called pocket windows.

Bow Windows

Similar to bay windows, bow windows usually have more window panels than bays and have a curved design. They also typically don’t have walls that extend down to the home’s floor level. These pocket windows sometimes have seating within them. 

Bow windows come in different sizes and can protrude beyond your home’s exterior by as little as four inches. With a small bow window, you may not have so much of an obstruction outside your house as with a bay window.

Bow windows are excellent for expanding space, improving your view, boosting natural lighting, enhancing the appearance of your home, or creating a space for a particular use. Homeowners seeking more natural light, visual expanse, and different pane sizes often favor bow windows over bay windows.

Other Considerations

Whatever window you choose, consider your roof before installing it. You might be extending the window beyond your roof overhang, which means you will have to do some roof work.

Then, you’re affecting the aesthetics of your home exterior. Consider having a drawing made by an architect to see how the window will look from the outside.

No matter which window you choose, it will make a difference in the room. The added window area will make the room feel larger by flooding it with natural light

Installing bow and bay windows is not a DIY project, so you should check with some remodeling contractors before installing either one. The average cost of a bow window, with materials and installation, is $3,600, according to HomeAdvisor. A bay window costs an average of $2,110.

Skip to [skipto time=18:52][18:52][/skipto] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.

Also on this episode:

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Simple Solutions

Fast Fix for Sagging Gutter — If you notice that a section of rain gutter is sagging, chances are the spike that holds the gutter in place has pulled free from the fascia board. The solution is to use pliers to pull out the spike, and then replace it with a long structural screw. And, if possible, always drive the screw through the fascia and into the end of a rafter tail. 

Watch: How to Repair Sagging Gutters

Paint Color Reminder — This home-decorating tip was submitted by a listener, Betty Dodson. Whenever you paint a room, save two or three extra paint chips of that color, and put them in your wallet, purse or car’s glove compartment. Then, when shopping for new curtains, towels, rugs, or other room accessories, you can pull out the paint chips to help you select accessories that best complement the room paint. 

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Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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