Buyer’s Guide to Bow & Bay Windows: Choosing the Perfect Statement Windows for Your Home

If you’re looking to add architecturally beautiful windows to your home, it is hard to beat bow and bay windows. The unique protruding silhouette of these two window styles creates timeless curb appeal and a cozy compartment inside. Bay and bow windows have been around for over 500 years, proving their worth and popularity by standing the test of time.

While they have some similarities, bow and bay windows also have several key differences that need to be considered if you’re thinking about adding one to your home. Keep reading to learn all about each type of window and how to choose the right one for your needs.

Definitions and Features of Bow and Bay Windows 

Bow and bay windows include multiple windows, some that operate and some that are stationary. These windows project from the side of a house or building creating both a nook inside that can be used as additional space, as well as a focal feature on the exterior of the building. Both bow and bay windows are very popular for adding natural light and showcasing the views of a property. They are a beautiful addition to any home.

Marvin Signature® Ultimate Bay Window
Marvin Signature® Ultimate Bay Window

What’s the Difference in Bow and Bay Windows?

While bay and bow windows look similar and share the purpose of letting in more light and extending a room, they have some key differences. Bay windows are traditionally characterized by the formation of three windows that at most project at a 25-45 degree angle from the house. Typically, the center window is a fixed picture window while the side windows are either casement or double-hung windows. However, premium window manufacturers like Marvin offer many custom configurations and designs. As the angles are sharper on bay than bow windows, you will often see bay windows used in contemporary homes.

Marvin Signature® Ultimate Bay Window
Marvin Signature® Ultimate Bay Window

Bow windows, on the other hand, take up a wider area of space and are made with four or more symmetrical windows. Bow windows feature the same kind of window throughout, typically casement windows that can be opened.The inside angles of bow windows measure 10 degrees to create a subtle curved appearance. For this reason, bow windows are commonly seen in the dining and living rooms in traditional homes.

Marvin Signature® Ultimate Bow Window
Marvin Signature® Ultimate Bow Window

As bow windows take up more space, they naturally let in more light than bay windows. They also create a larger room extension and are often used to wrap around corners or highlight panoramic views. Keep in mind that the larger your windows are, the more difficult window treatments will be to find. Often, you will need custom curtains or shutters made for your bay and bow windows.

Homeowner’s Checklist: Choosing The Best Bay or Bow Windows

When shopping for bay and bow windows, there are a lot of factors to consider. This checklist will help you go over the essentials so you'll be ready to choose the best windows for your home.


Deciding on the size of your bay or bow windows ultimately comes down to your budget and the effect you are trying to achieve. Standard size bay and bow windows will be more cost effective, but custom-sized windows can be tailor-made to give you maximum light and views. The standard width ranges from 3 feet, 6 inches to 10 feet, 6 inches while the standard height ranges from 3 feet to 6 feet, 6 inches.

Configuration Options

With Marvin windows, you can customize almost every detail to suit your home. This includes shape, size, colors, materials, hardware, trim, finishes, divided lites, glass types, screens, shades, and configurations.

When it comes to the layout of your windows, you have complete control over what your completed project will look like. For example, one of the most popular choices is canted windows, which is where the formation resembles a box with angled sides. You can also choose to have your windows supported by a bracket if it is suspended far above ground level. Finally, you have the option to add extra window panes above the main windows for style as well as added light.

Marvin Elevate Bay Window
Marvin Elevate Bay Window


Marvin offers bay and bow windows in wood and fiberglass, with a range of benefits for each choice. Wood is typically chosen for aesthetic reasons, while fiberglass is known for its durability. If you prefer a more classic, warm feel with natural wood, then we recommend the Marvin Signature Ultimate collection. However, fiberglass can be stained to resemble wood, so Marvin’s Elevate Bay and Bow windows are another great choice.


The type of insulation you’ll need depends on several factors, including the climate in which you live, your budget, and the level of energy efficiency you desire. Bow and bay windows can be made in several types of glass, including dual-pane and triple-pane. Marvin also offers an array of coatings to provide further insulation.


Privacy, security, and safety are of the utmost importance when protecting your home and the ones you love. Be sure to look into the locking mechanism before purchasing bay or bow windows to make sure everything checks out. For example, you’ll find that Marvin has a proprietary Lock Status Sensor on bay and bow windows in their Signature Ultimate collection. Using smart home technology, this sensor is embedded in the window so that it is completely hidden. You can access it at any time from your smart device to make sure your windows are fully closed and locked.

Bay and Bow Windows From Marvin Windows

​​Bay and bow windows make it easy to bring in natural light while expanding the space in your room and adding an attractive architectural detail to the exterior of your home. With their extensive customization options and reputation for high-quality service, Marvin is a leading resource for bay and bow windows. They offer three distinct collections of bay and bow windows, their Signature® Ultimate collection, Elevate® collection and Skycove®. The Signature Ultimate collection is perfect for homeowners who want the classic look of either bow or bay windows as well as the option for bespoke details. Elevate features Marvin’s proprietary fiberglass exteriors that offer heightened performance at an affordable price point.

Marvin Signature ultimate casement bay window

Marvin Signature® Ultimate Bay

The Marvin Signature Ultimate Bay is a group of 3-5 windows, using either Double Hung or Casement, or both types of windows. They can be angled to provide the best views of the exterior of your garden and you can create a stylish window seat or walkout design with this type of window formation. Additionally, this window can be positioned high or low on the house with a unique wash mode that lets you access both sides of the glass from indoors. If you’re looking for classic, high-quality bay windows made from wood, this is the perfect option.

Marvin Signature ultimate casement bow window

Marvin Signature® Ultimate Bow

This series of four or more connected windows creates a beautiful, smooth curving shape that acts as an outward extension from the home. When creating your Bow formation, you have the choice between Double Hung, Casement windows, or a combination of the two. Additionally, this window choice features the previously mentioned wash mode which allows you to access both sides of the glass from inside so that cleaning your windows is a breeze.

Marvin Elevate canted window

The Marvin Elevate® Bay

Composed of three connected windows, the Marvin Elevate® Bay is made from durable fiberglass with a stainable wood interior. This type of window formation can be made with any combination of Elevate Casement windows or Elevate Double Hung windows, in stationary or operational versions. Many homeowners like to use a stationary picture window in the center to allow for maximum light and clear views. 

Marvin Skycove bay window

The Marvin Elevate® Bow

Like the Elevate Bay, this Bow window is made from strong, beautiful fiberglass with a stainable wood interior. It features four or more connected windows that arc into a gentle curve on the exterior of the home. This window is hurricane-tested and highly rated for use in areas with frequent storms.

Marvin Skycove bay window

Marvin Skycove®

The Marvin Skycove is a customizable glass structure resembling a floating box bay window. It features one large central glass panel, two side glass panels, and a glass ceiling panel, allowing in the maximum amount of light from all directions. It extends a room up to 20 square feet, bringing much-needed extra space to city dwellers. From the inside, it creates a cozy window seat to relax.

Shop For Bow And Bay Windows At Ring’s End

Ring’s End offers an array of designer windows and doors to meet your needs. Once you are ready to upgrade to bay and bow windows that you won’t ever need to replace, schedule an in-home appointment with one of our window expert at Ring’s End. Our team has the knowledge and experience to help you find exactly the right window style and finish. We are more than happy to deliver and help with window installation, whether on a new construction home or renovation. Start your window search and request a free consultation today!

Bay & Bow Window FAQs

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Which is easier to install, a bay or bow window?

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