What Are Bay Window Curtain Rods and How are they Installed?

Unlike regular windows that are flat against the main wall, a bay window protrudes outwards from the wall, creating a “bay” in the form of a large window-sill or even walk-in space in the interior. Typical bay windows will have three sections. Two diagonal windows that extend outwards and a third larger window parallel to the wall at the furthest point.

bay window curtain

If you are new to bay windows and are looking to hang drapes, you will quickly notice that the long straight rod used for regular windows no longer applies. Instead you will need to use special Bay window curtain rods that have diagonal portions on each side to reflect the shape of the window. If one of these is not already installed it is not that difficult to do it yourself. The most important piece of hardware are the elbows.

These are simply joints placed in each corner that connect the three flat curtain rods together in to the bay shape. In this three window example all you need is two elbows – one at each point where the diagonal rod meets the flat rod.

Because each bay window will be shaped slightly differently, most bay window rod elbows can be loosened to move like a hinge. All you need to do is manipulate them to the angle of your bay.

Standard curtain rod installation then applies. This involves installing brackets to hold the rods in place. You might purchase one long rod an cut three pieces to size, or find the exact sizes at the hardware store. Some may even come adjustable with existing elbows for a wide range of sizes and shapes. This is called a bay window kit.

Relevant: How to decorate windows with curtains

Bay Window Top Tips

Know Your Measurements

It is important to know the size of your bay windows so you can determine how long the rod(s) will have to be, and how many brackets you might need. A three window bay will usually require 6 brackets. One at either end, and two either side of each elbow.

You can think of it as two per rod. If the center rod is longer that six feet, you may need an extra bracket for added stability directly in the middle.


Don’t forget to overestimate your measurements as all curtain rods are slightly longer than the windows themselves, to ensure the light is kept out. Rods are also about three inches above the window frame.

Use Pencil Markings

Whatever you do don’t guess where brackets and other parts should be screwed, you need to accurately mark every point with a pencil.

Color and Style

Though installing curtain rods that actually fit your bay windows are important, you will also need to make note of the color, style and finish of rods and components, so they fit with the rest of your decor.

Passing Rings

Not all curtain rod rings are made equal. You will ideally need passing “C” rings that are able to get past the brackets and corners without getting stuck.