If you have been thinking about making some revisions to your home, you can be considering to get new windows in Ottawa. There are two similar terms, bow window and bay window, and while they are very much alike, there are still differences.

What is the difference between bay or bow windows?

A bay window is three windows consisting of a large picture window in the center and smaller windows on each side. The windows angle outward to create a bay or small nook inside the room. A bow window is four to six windows. Each window is similar in size and creates a more gentle outward curve.

How to decide?


Both of these styles are great for adding extra natural light to a room. They work well in a modern architectural style as well as a Tudor or colonial. Bows came around in the Victorian era and fit nicely into a traditional style. Bays offer a bit more privacy.

Both bay and bow windows offer extensive natural light, which aids in sleep and provides some Vitamin D.


If you are simply replacing windows, adding a bow or bay will be more expensive than a one-for-one swap. Bows are about twice as large as a bay, and a bow is more complicated to install. The exact cost will depend on the type of windows and any carpentry work necessary.

For the interior, a bay will add more square footage that can be turned into an eating area, bench seating, storage, etc. Exteriorly, it will also take up more room. You need to be sure there is sufficient clearance with other properties, trees, and power lines.


You also need to consider cross ventilation and airflow. The bay has a stationary center window, so only the two side panels can open. The bow can let you open any or all. Also, take into account the prevailing winds in your area. It won’t be pleasant to open a window only to have to close it from too much airflow.


For your viewing pleasure, both will give you a nice view. The bay will be slightly clearer with the center, large pane. Bows will provide more panoramic.  

Installing bay or bow windows

If you are still not sure which one to choose, discuss these options with your contractor or architect, and be sure to consult with a reputable glass store in Ottawa like Centennial Glass. We have years of experience in windows and offer the best installation services and products in the Ottawa area. Contact us today!