A bay window is an architectural feature that can add more light and space to a room. If a home is built near a beautiful view, the bay window can provide an excellent viewing space. Such windows are most associated with the Victorian home style as built in San Francisco, where you may note many of them.
Typically the bay window is not one sided but three sided. Essentially you have three windows, one that is parallel to the walls inside, and two that come off the side of the front window that are each angled inward toward the room. The whole installation may add 2-3 feet (.61-.91 m) of length to the room. Width is dependent of the size of windows installed and the angles of the two slanted sides. The area created by adding this type of window is called a “bay,” and bay does not, as many people think, refer to views of the San Francisco Bay that the window might create.
Since the bay window tends to add additional length, and is set outward from the face of the building, you may need special permits before building one. Special supports may be needed if the window is on a second or higher floor, with no matching window or space underneath it. Window length is a matter of choice. Some windows run from floor to ceiling, and others start just below the ceiling and extend to several feet above the floor. It’s common to see a bay window with a padding seating area underneath the windows to provide a comfortable place to enjoy views.
Some architects have reversed the bay window, so that it removes space rather than adding space, but still adds light and the potential for excellent views. This is called a recessed bay window, and it projects inward into a room. This may be good choice if you like the look of bay windows, but can’t get a permit to build outward from the exterior wall.
Another variation of the bay window is the bow window, which has curved instead of flat windows and produces a rounded look, rather than an angled look. You can also choose square bay windows, where the projection outward creates a square or rectangular shape. The sides of this form of window are set at a 90 degree angle with the front window.
You can use bay windows to create a space where you can grow lots of plants that require light. Sometimes these installations are topped with glass to create a tiny greenhouse. If such a window is not going to provide you with great views, then a greenhouse window at least gives you a way to grow lush foliage in the outward projected space. Alternately, some bay windows, especially in single story houses, may have a little circular or angled roofs, adding to the overall attractive features of a home’s exterior.