Bay, bow, or whatever type of shaped window you may have, consider yourself fortunate. Though these wonderful appendages may often face nothing more exciting than the street and passing cars, they are still a gracious addition to any room.
A typical bay window can be the focal point for an elegant dining table and chairs in the ordinary combination living-dining room. Or, it can comfortably contain a game or backgammon table and chairs, combined with a handy lamp, for a useful and elegant grouping.
I've used bay windows as the setting for incidental furniture groupings. As a background, for example, for a shapely chaise and table, teamed up with a good reading lamp and tall tree, a bay window provides grace.
Bay windows that are the only window in the room are more of a challenge for designers. The bay becomes, as a result, the focal point of the room. No longer can they be used for extra or oddball pieces of furniture. Their very placement in the space demands that they become the centerpiece of the room.
In one house, the living room was long and narrow, and the bay was in the middle of the long wall. I was grateful for this, because a bay at the end of the long, narrow and otherwise windowless space, would have posed real problems for seating arrangements.
In this room, the bay was exactly the right size for the luxurious sofabed the owners wanted to re-use. I quilted it in a soft peach, glazed cotton, in thick diagonal channels, to match the slightly deeper hue I had selected for the walls.
White woodwork around the bay alcove and at the windows frame the bay, and the white woven wood shades conceal a less-than-desirable view. All this white makes for a pleasant contrast to the peach color of the sofa and walls.
I painted the wood floor white, sealing in the paint with a sturdy urethane coating that makes it easy to maintain. The white of the floor is a bright background for the modern cane and chrome chairs that flank the coffee table. Chrome is repeated in the two wall-mounted lamps. It converts the sofa and chairs into a comfortable reading environment.
By pure chance, I found two column pedestals that recall the same diagonal, swirling design of the sofa quilting. Flanking the sofa, these combine with hanging plants and ivy and handsome accessories, making the bay window the major seating group of the room it dominates.