Classic or Craze: Bay Windows

Is it a classic or is it a craze?

By Melissa Mauzy
Photography by Anne Matheis


For our May Architectural issue, we are asking local design professionals if bay windows are a design element of the past or here to stay.

“I believe that bay windows are a classic element of design. Whether used in an architecturally traditional design with casement windows or in an architecturally contemporary design with simple glass panels. Both also add an expanded space for extra seating if desired.” Tom Manche, Tom Manche Interiors LLC.

“Bay windows are classic, especially in traditional homes. What is becoming popular is to turn these areas into banquette seating with a table. Hanging a chandelier in a bay window makes it a cozy nook.” Dana King, Next Project Studio.

“A classic, from 18th century piano bays and turrets to today's dining and master bedroom room bays. They make rooms feel luxurious and spacious.” CJ Knapp, Yours by Design.

“I think cozy little nooks will always be in style. A place to sit and read a book, look out the windows, have a cup of tea, is a plus in my book, besides the fact they add architectural interest to the building. Maybe the '90s bay windows will make way for a new and cooler-looking more modern version. You don't see them as much on new construction nowadays, but I think they are a classic.” Dottie Eaton, Design Style

“Bay windows are great and here to stay. Any old boring room will look better with a bay window; they allow more natural light to enter the room as well as more seating space.  They are easy to dress with a window seat, woven blinds, or drapery. A bay window also looks great on the exterior of a home, plus it works well with many different architectural styles. The reasons are endless but bay windows are here to stay.” Barbara Collins, Barbara Collins Interior Design.

“Bay windows are definitely a classic. They are always an inviting space, with the windows bringing the natural light in and also a view of outdoors. They add character to a room and they create a cozy conversation area for many applications, such as dining, lounging, visiting or curled up with a book. Bay windows are here to stay.” Pamela Calvert, Pamela Calvert Interiors.

“We can all agree that bay windows went through a period of being overused, popping up on every home in every subdivision. Sometimes three or more bays in one home, which is quite the window treatment challenge. That said, the advantages of the appropriate use of well-designed bay windows make them a classic. They can make a small(ish) dining room accommodate that large table you always wanted for your growing family. Northern facing rooms do not get direct sunlight, but a bay will allow the warmth of morning and afternoon sunlight into your room. It will also greatly expand your angle of view with the added security of being able to see someone at an exterior door. A box bay window can do all the above and play a contemporary role. For a real classic bay window add transom windows, quality trim and limit the bay window to only one unique area of the home.” Jane Ganz, Directions In Design Inc.

“Classic! Bay windows add extra square footage to a room as well as additional light, always a plus! Bay window designs have evolved over the years and have the ability to be used in both traditional and contemporary designs. They also add a nice architectural element both inside and outside the home. Bay windows can be versatile if well planned, and remain a classic design element." Gigi Lombrano, Gigi Lombrano Interiors.

“Classic. The bay window is an exceptional device for adding additional space to a room or a building. Bay windows add variety and visual interest both inside and out. A bay window can be detailed to harmonize with any style or period of architecture, from classical to modernist and anywhere between.” Kim Hany, FORNEY + architecture, LLC.

“CLASSIC! Historically, bay windows became very popular in the architecture of the Baroque area, due to its opulent lighting, as well as the lavish ornamentation and artistic additions. Today we use them to add additional space in a room. Create a cozy reading nook with a colorful cushion and throw pillows. Add a hinged top for additional storage. Bring more natural light into the room. What about curb appeal — another dimension to a home's exterior, using possibly a different color or texture (exterior stone).” M. Joyce Mathis, MJM Design Company.