Bow Window vs. Bay Window – Which Is Best For You?

Kitchen bay window with plants

There might be several reasons you’re considering replacement windows for your home. Maybe it’s to let in more natural light. Perhaps you want to save on heating and cooling costs and are looking for energy-efficient windows. You might be looking for home improvement projects that are quick and easy yet make an impact on the aesthetics and resale value of your home.

If any of this resonates, bay or bow windows could be the ideal options for your home window upgrade. New Jersey Siding & Windows, Inc. is a family-owned and operated business, serving clients in northern New Jersey with all their window, door, and siding needs. Here, we compare and contrast bow and bay windows and discuss the features and advantages of each.

What Are Bow Windows and Bay Windows?

A bow window is an arced structure that consists of at least four equally sized connected windowpanes. The arc extends past the wall and bows out toward the exterior. They are commonly casement windows, meaning the panes have a hinge on one side and open outward. The panes can be sheer, decorated with wood or metal squares, or outfitted with other designs.

A bay window has only three sections and is more angled in contrast to the bow’s subtle curves. The center windowpane is the largest and is a picture window. It is complemented on each side by two matching windowpanes that are narrower than the middle. The entire structure extends outward, further than a bow window.

Differences Between Bow and Bay Windows

Though both project to the exterior, the bay’s extension is greater and allows you to place different objects or decorations on the window platform, such as books, ceramics, or plants. Please note, seats in bays and bows shouldn’t be sat on.

In contrast, a bow window doesn’t create as much interior space. Other differences between bay and bow windows can help you decide which one is the ideal option. These include:


Because of their size, bow windows require at least 80 inches of space on an exterior wall, making them suitable for large front or side walls in living and dining rooms. These versatile windows can even be placed in a building’s corner. A bay window, on the other hand, can fit into a 40-inch space on an exterior wall.


Because of its sharper angles, the bay window is generally recommended for contemporary or modern homes and buildings. The bow, however, has many large and conjoined windows, making it more suitable for spacious Victorian or turn-of-the-century homes.


With more windowpanes and a larger structure, the bow casement is typically more expensive than bay windows. However, both have a high return on investment, improving a home’s resale value and energy savings.

Similar Advantages of Bow and Bay Windows

There are several benefits that bow and bay windows share, from improved energy efficiency to increased curb appeal:

Energy Savings

No matter whether you opt for bow or bay, it’s important to consider which brand of window you choose. Soft-Lite brand windows are Energy Star-certified and foam-insulated to help lower your energy bills and keep you comfortable inside. These windows are also triple-layered and impact-resistant, contributing to energy savings and home security.

Increased Light and Views

Bow and bay windows are intended to allow more space along with additional natural light and views. These windows make ideal home improvement projects because their aesthetic benefits far outweigh the time and effort required to order and install them.

Long-Lasting Resale Value

Not only can you enjoy your new bow or bay windows, but neighbors and potential buyers can, as well. Soft-Lite windows not only boast good looks, but they are durable and long-lasting. These types of windows can increase your home’s curb appeal and resale value for years to come.

View Bow or Bay Windows at New Jersey Siding & Windows, Inc.

For over 20 years, New Jersey Siding & Windows, Inc. has been providing clients with top-quality products and trusted services to enhance homes and properties across northern New Jersey. We are glad to provide a free estimate and answer any questions about bow windows and bay windows, as well as doors and roofing. Contact us today to learn more about our process or any of our other products.