A bay window can be used for casual dining in your home. Whether you’re looking to create a breakfast nook, a kitchenette area, or just a sweet little space to enjoy your morning coffee, your bay window likely has untapped potential waiting to be transformed into a charming eating space.
Follow these 12 tips to make the most of your bay window and turn it into a dreamy destination for dining and relaxation.
Take Measurements First
Before you start picking out furniture or decor, take detailed measurements of your bay window space. Be sure to measure the window width from edge to edge, as well as the depth and height of the bay area. These measurements will determine the scale of seating, table, and other items you can comfortably fit in the space. It’s also important to measure the surrounding floor area so you can visualize the layout. Accurate measurements help guide your design choices and ensure everything fits properly.
Build In Cozy Seating
One of the best ways to utilize the unique shape of a bay window is to install built-in bench seating. This transforms all that empty floor space into comfortable, space-saving seating. Built-in window seats, storage benches, and banquette dining benches are all great options. Custom-built bench seating can be tailored to your exact window measurements for a perfect fit. Prefabricated bay window benches are also available. Make sure to pick cushions and accent pillows that enhance comfort.
Add Clever Storage
Since a bay window dining nook is typically quite small, it’s smart to incorporate storage solutions to keep the space organized. Open shelving, cabinets, and drawers around the window provide spots to stash dishes, glassware, and silverware. If you install a custom bench, add storage inside with pull-out drawers and cubbies. You can also have cabinetry custom-built into the angles on either side of the bay window to maximize every inch.
Or Incorporate A Banquette
For a dining-centric bay window area, consider installing a built-in banquette instead of a basic bench. Banquette seating provides a comfortable spot for 2-4 people to dine. Many custom designs also allow storage underneath the banquette with lifting seat cushions. The back and sides help contain the space, while the shape fits perfectly into a bay window layout.
Select The Right Table Shape & Size
When it comes to choosing a table for your dreamy bay window dining nook, shape and scale are key. A small cafe or bistro table is ideal. The small round profile fits the window well and leaves plenty of surrounding floor space. An oval or ellipse table is also a good option. Be sure to leave a minimum of 36 inches for entering and exiting the banquette or bench seating. The table should feel cozy rather than cramped.
Style Your Window With Care
Your bay window will inevitably become a focal point, so it’s important to dress it up in style. Take your window treatments up as close to the ceiling as possible to draw the eye upward and highlight the bay’s height and shape. Curtains, valence boards, and Roman shades all work beautifully. Incorporate splashes of color or metallics for personality. Layer textures and fabrics for visual interest. And don’t forget the finishing touch of trim and accents along the corners of the window.
Layer Light-Filtering Window Treatments
Since bay windows usher in so much natural light, you’ll want window treatments that filter sunlight rather than block it out. Sheer curtains in breezy, lightweight fabrics allow light to flow through. Combine these with textured drapes in a bold color or pattern. Installing both curtain panels and Roman shades gives you the ability to modify privacy and brightness as needed throughout the day.
Add Personal Touches
Now is the time to infuse that personalized style. Incorporate meaningful pieces of wall art and decor that reflect your tastes. Fresh flowers and potted plants liven up the space. Opt for bright, cheerful accessories that take advantage of the ample sunlight. You can also display some of your favorite dishware to give the dining nook a homey feel. Even if you’re working with a tight budget, a few special touches go a long way.
DIY Or Hire A Contractor?
If you’re handy and have some carpentry skills, building out a basic bench seat or adding cabinets around your bay window can potentially be a DIY project. But for structural changes, electrical work, or complex builds, it’s best to hire a professional contractor. They have the expertise to install custom pieces like banquettes and built-ins and can ensure they are up to code. Be prepared for costs ranging from $1,500-$5,000 or more for specialty contractor work.
Light It Up Beautifully
Proper lighting helps any dining area feel warm, welcoming and complete. Position pendant lights or sconces right inside the bay window to provide both ambient and task lighting. Under-cabinet lighting also comes in handy for food prep tasks. You may also want to install accent lighting behind the bench or banquette. Opt for bulbs in the 3000K-4000K range to provide bright, natural-looking illumination.
Add Sconces For Ambient Glow
Wall sconces on either side of the bay window is a simple way to provide soft, ambient lighting. Opt for adjustable sconces so you can direct the light where needed. Dimmer switches allow you to create the perfect moody glow for evening dinners. Just make sure sconces don’t extend too far into the seating area where they can get knocked into.
Include A Tabletop Surface
For extra function, have your contractor build out part of the bay window into a usable countertop or bar area. This provides a convenient spot for prepping food or staging dishes before serving. The dimensions of your window will determine if one entire side or just a portion can be converted into counter space. Opt for durable surfaces like butcher block, granite, or quartz.
Finish With Color Or Tile
Painting or tiling the wall area surrounding your bay window is a simple way to polish off your design and make the space feel fresh. Opt for cheery paint colors in sunny yellows, sky blues, or soothing greens. Or make a statement with a vibrant tile backsplash or accent wall. This adds nice visual contrast against the white trim of the window. Just avoid overly bold patterns that compete with your bay window treatments.
The bay window can be an inviting spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with the right seating, table, storage, lighting and personal decor touches. These tips help you transform wasted space into a cozy dining nook filled with natural light. Get creative with your layout and design to develop a one-of-a-kind bay window dining destination you’ll enjoy for years to come.