How to Measure Bay Windows or Bow Windows for New Curtain Hardware
A traditional bow or bay window is a beautiful asset to your home, providing a cozy nook or a light-filled extension to a room. But measuring them for new curtain rods may be intimidating! We’ve put together an easy to follow guide to help you measure your bow or bay window perfectly, without any hassles. Let’s first look at a few basics.
What is the difference between a bow and a bay window?
While a bay window is usually made up of a series of windows with distinct angles, a bow window is made up of several equally-sized window panels installed in a gentle faceted curve.
Bay windows come in different configurations:
- a two-angle bay has one large central panel and two smaller side panels
- a four-angle bay has a large panel with two or more angled panels on each side
- a three-angle bay has three or more windows of the same size.
If the angles between the windows on a bay window are very subtle, then the bracketry required may dilute these angles to such an extent that the window can be treated as a bow window and a continuously curved rod may be more appropriate.
BAY WINDOW - source
BOW WINDOW - source
What tools do I need to measure my windows?
- Steel measuring tape – these tend to be more reliable than the fabric kind
- Our downloadable worksheet for jotting down your measurements
- Stepladder to reach the top
Note On Stacking Space Of Curtains:
Please keep in mind that you will need to add the stacking space of the curtains to your measurement. The stacking space is the area on the sides of a window where the curtains will hang when opened. Use our handy stackback chart below for reference.
Measuring Your Windows for Graber Traverse Rods
How to Measure a Bow Window
To measure a bow window is quite straightforward: measure the overall width of the window A including stackback allowance and the depth B. Because of the angle, it’s easy for your supplier to determine the length of the track needed with those two measurements.
How to Measure a Bay Window
The number of angles of your bay window will determine which formula you should follow.
How to measure a two-angle bay window:
- Measure the length of each window panel A, B, and C, including stackback allowance
- Measure the total depth D of the window from the front to the middle of the central window pane.
- Measure the total width E of the window from left to right.
How to measure a three-angle bay window:
- Measure the length of each window panel A, B, C, and D, including stackback allowance.
- Measure the depth of the window from the front up to the join between the two left and the two right-hand side window panels E and G.
- Measure the total depth F of the window from the front of the bay to the join between the two central panels F.
- Measure the total width H of the window from left to right.
How to measure a four-angle bay window:
- Measure the length of each window panel A, B C, D, and E, including stackback allowance.
- Measure the total depth F of the window from the front to the middle of the central window pane.
- Measure the total width G of the window from left to right.
Once you have all of your measurements jotted down on the worksheet, you can input the values on the appropriate Graber Bay And Bow Window Curtain Rods page.
You will be asked to specify whether you want the curtains to be drawn to one of the sides, or if you prefer a two-way or center draw.
Indicate whether the rods are going to be mounted on the wall or ceiling and whether you want a single or double rod.
Measuring Your Windows for Decorative Rods
Because our traverse rods are machine bent in the factory, measurements are more than enough to get things right. But when it comes to hand-crafted decorative rods, it is essential to make a template. This template gets used to bend the rods by hand, ensuring a perfect fit for your windows.
Tips on How to Make a Window Template
- Lay a large piece of paper on the floor, lining up the edge with the front edge of the bay window.
- Use a craft knife to cut along the back and sides, mimicking the shape.
- Clearly mark the template with your name and address and send to us to make your rods.
- Take the measurements in the areas where the curtain rods will be installed, whether in the window recess or the wall surrounding the windows, even if this means climbing on a step ladder! Walls are rarely straight and the dimensions taken at floor level compared against those taken at ceiling level may differ significantly.
- Always ensure that your tape measure is in a straight line to get the most accurate reading.
- When measuring around the angled parts of the window, place the measuring tape on the join between the two
- If your window is very skew or otherwise irregular, it is best to make a template that will accurately document all corners. See our tips on making a template above.
If you are having any trouble with measuring your bay or bow window for new curtain hardware, please drop a comment in the box below, and we will gladly assist you.