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Exterior view of a Marvin Replacement Bay Window next to an exterior image of a Marvin Replacement Bow Window.

Bay Windows vs Bow Windows

Not sure what the difference is between a bay window and a bow window? Both provide big views for your home but they do so differently. Find out the difference between a bay window vs a bow window, the pros and cons of each, and where they fit well in a home.

What is a Bay Window?

A bay window is a group of three windows mulled together to form one unit. Bay windows can feature three double hung windows or three casement windows. Bay windows can also have a picture window as the center window with flanking windows on each end. Marvin Replacement Bay Windows can have flanking windows at 30° or 45°. Bay windows also have seat boards where you can relax and enjoy the warmth of sunlight.

What is a Bow Window?

A bow window is a collection of windows set in an arc that projects outward from your house. Marvin Replacement offers bow window assemblies of four, five, or six casement windows that can open and close to provide ventilation.

What’s the Difference Between a Bay Window and a Bow Window?

  • Shape: The biggest difference between a bay window and a bow window is the shape. Bay windows have flanking windows set at an angle for a geometric look. Bow windows have an arc that curves for a smoother look.

  • Design: Bay windows only have three windows, so they have a smaller footprint in your home than bow windows. Both window designs can have each window open and close. You can also choose to have the middle windows remain fixed or inoperable.

  • Size and space: Bay windows take up less space than bow windows because they have fewer windows.

  • Why you’d choose one over the other: Several home styles, like Victorian, Tudor, Mid-Century Modern, and Craftsman styles that pop up throughout Portland can have bay or bow windows. Choosing a bay window vs a bow window can come down to how much room you have available, your existing window, your home’s architectural style, and personal preference. Bow windows can work well in corners of a home to create a turret look.

  • Cost comparison: Bow windows typically have a higher cost than bay windows because they have more windows. Bow window installation can involve more work than bay windows, too.

Marvin Replacement Bay Windows

Window Size

Bay window sizes can range from nearly 4-feet wide and nearly 3-feet tall up to 11 3/4-feet wide and 6-feet tall with custom sizing available

Number of Windows



Double hung or casement

Common Home Style

Victorian, Craftsman, Mid-Century Modern

Marvin Replacement Bow Windows

Window Size

Bow window sizes can range from nearly 6-feet wide and nearly 2-feet tall to 12-feet wide and 6-feet tall with custom sizing available

Number of Windows

4, 5, or 6



Common Home Style

Victorian, contemporary, Mid-Century Modern

Bay Window Pros and Cons

Bay windows have their advantages and disadvantages like other windows. When comparing bay and bow windows, you can find a little more flexibility with bay windows in terms of design and placement.


  • Versatility: Small bay windows fit perfectly above a kitchen sink while large bay windows can create a cozy breakfast nook in your kitchen area. Homes often have large living room bay windows for curb appeal, natural light, and panoramic views. A bedroom bay window can capture scenic views.

  • Appearance: Bay windows have traditional appeal to give homes a stately look. Bay windows paired with window grilles add architectural appeal and make them a focal point of your home. You can see bay windows dot the landscape of homes in Raleigh, North Carolina and Charlotte where traditional home styles appear.

  • Light: When you combine multiple windows together, you get the benefit of increased natural light. Since bay windows have angled windows, you can capture natural light from different spots, too.

  • Ventilation: Whether you choose three operating windows or just two, a bay window provides ample fresh air. Two operating flanking windows can capture breezes to bring them into your home. Marvin Replacement Bay Windows can come as double hung windows where the top sash can open to allow hot air to escape. You can also choose casement windows that open wide to allow air to permeate your home.


  • Room: Though bay windows can come in a variety of window sizes, they do require enough space for installation.

Bow Window Pros and Cons

Bow windows come in larger sizes than bay windows, which can allow additional natural light and fresh air into your home.


  • Panoramic views: With four, five, or six casement windows assembled together, you get fantastic views with style. A bow window can give as wide of a view as a patio door without having to open an entire patio door. Bow windows fit in places where a patio door doesn’t make sense.

  • Ventilation: Bow windows typically feature casement windows, which means you can control the amount of air you want to enter your home by deciding how far to open the window. Bow windows can all have operating windows or just some operating windows.

  • Appearance: Bow windows fit into several home styles. They often appear in homes on the East Coast, like Philadelphia or areas of New York, like Long Island.


  • Size: Starting with four windows mulled together means bow windows require a lot of space. Bow window sizes can range from six-feet wide to eight-feet wide.

  • Appearance: How a bow window will appear needs consideration since it will become a focal point of your home.

Where Should You Use a Bay or Bow Window?

Bay windows are a great choice in kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms. Bow windows can fit well in living rooms and bedrooms but require more space than bay windows. A second-story bay or bow window can provide wide landscape views from a unique angle. Kitchen bay windows can create a breakfast nook while large bay windows in living rooms can set up a reading nook or display shelf.

Bay + Bow Window Replacement and How to Get Bay + Bow Windows

If you’re replacing a bay window, a Marvin Replacement design consultant can discuss custom bay windows to fit your home.  Since bow window replacement can be a bigger project, our design consultants can help you design the perfect custom bow window.

Schedule a free design consultation with Marvin Replacement to explore our design options. Our design consultants can help you decide on custom bay windows and bow windows.

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