Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Problem with Bay Windows

When we bought our house, one of the things that I really loved was the bay windows in the living room.  Fast-forward ten years later, and I ask myself, "What was I thinking?"

Yes, they provide a lot of light, but I've really struggled finding the right window treatments.  Here's the picture from the listing when we bought the house.  Check out that swag!  Huge floral print decked out in 1990s jewel tones!

Can you believe when we wrote the contract, I insisted on the owners leaving that valance?  Again, "What was I thinking?"

After a couple of years, they were looking faded and outdated, so I sold them on Craigslist and replaced them with a simpler set of three valances to coordinate with the new olive green walls.

Say it with me now: "What was I thinking?"  At the time, I thought it was an improvement, but Mr. Tallgrass said they looked "too whimsical."  The seed of doubt was now planted and growing like a weed.

(To my credit, the tutorial for making these valances is one of my all-time most viewed posts.)

After adding the overmantel in the living room, I was ready to ditch the valances for something more neutral.  I looked everywhere for affordable curtains that were at least 108 inches long.  Many reviews of curtains I found at JC Penney or Bed Bath and Beyond were negative because the panels were actually different lengths than advertised, sometimes off by as much as two inches.  That wouldn't do when trying to dress three windows in a row!

I was ready to give up on buying ready-made curtains and submit to making my own, if I could find fabric that wouldn't break the bank.  Let's see...

Four (possibly six) 108 inch panels
$15 per yard for featured fabric (on sale)
That's at least $180 before 10% sales tax, plus I'd still need some sort of lining fabric.

We have a home decor fabric outlet in town, so I thought I'd check it out.  They have fabric for as little as $4/yard, but when it's gone, it's gone, so planning ahead is crucial when shopping there.  And that's where I found pre-made 100% linen panels.  They were perfect!

And the price?  $26 each for 120 inch panels.  A little hemming and a lot of ironing, and they were ready to hang.

I had to coach the pleats into shape for a couple of days.  Some strips of scrap fabric work well for this.  Just press the pleats with your fingers then hold them together with the strips tied every foot or so. After a couple of days, the pleats will stay in place on their own.  I love the neutral, classic look of these linen panels.

I'm linking up...
Between Naps on the Porch
Cedar Hill Ranch
Savvy Southern Style


  1. Those curtains look nice. What a great bargain.

  2. now THIS is a good solution. it's been fun seeing the progress from the "what was I thinkings," too.

  3. Bay windows are great for letting more light into a room, but sometimes, you also want to block it. That's where window treatments come in and I know I don't have to tell you how big of a pain they are. That aside, I'm glad that you didn't give up and found a treatment that works. It looks great!

  4. It takes a little creativity to have a successful makeover on your window. Bay windows may be difficult to install, but when it comes to beautifying your home, it provides the most number of benefits. This kind of style never goes outdated, rather, it increases the value of your home.


  5. Thanks for sharing this! I have been trying to learn a little bit more about the different kinds of windows in Ottawa... Are bay windows very popular there?


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