Ask a designer: What will make the most of my bay window?

A couple wonder how to make the most of a bay window

March 31, 2012 

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We have a problem area in our new home: a bay window area in our large master bedroom. I love the spaciousness of the room, which is about 11 feet by 18 feet. The area in the pictures is the bump-out for a sitting room/coffee area to read your paper in the morning. I have tried different combinations there, leading to multiple returns and even one trip to High Point with no success.

We can easily paint and were considering a bluish/aqua to include walls and two shades deeper for the tray ceiling. Can you help?

Janet Constantino


We asked Anne DeCocco of DeCocco Design in Raleigh to tackle this design dilemma. She writes:

This is a common dilemma; Janet and Jim are a busy couple – his job requires a lot of travel, and she owns a business ( and longs for a place where they can relax. Luckily, they’ve got this area with a lovely view in the master bedroom. Here’s what I suggest:

Paint: Janet told me they’d like some color in the room and that she loves blue. My suggestion is to select a shade that veers into the teal/aqua range, and be sure it has some gray in the undertone. That hint of gray keeps the blue from looking like a child’s room. Keep it soft and use a satin finish – except in the tray ceiling. Choose a color several shades darker than the wall, and use a semigloss finish for a little light reflection. I’d love to see another color on the walls in the nook. Since it’s a small area with great natural light, be bold with an olive, amber or deep gray shade.

Floor: Consider placing an oval or rectangular rug in that bay, to ground the area that we’re creating. Get a rug pad specifically designed for rugs placed over carpeting to prevent annoying buckling.

Furnishings: I’ve put the Streeter swivel chair in leather from Crate and Barrel and the Bliss chaise from West Elm in my accompanying illustration. Then place a good sized accent table between both chairs to hold coffee cups and The News & Observer, or smaller accent tables next to each chair. I’ve shown an Eames stool from Room and Board and a Tribal Accent Table from World Market.

Window treatments: If possible, I’d take the mullions off the windows. Pleated shades, wood blinds or solar shades could provide light control. Nothing finishes a room like window treatments. In the illustration, I used DeCocco Design’s semi-custom drapes in our “Waves” fabric, which features a blue, green and cream pattern. It frames the view beautifully. Janet likes a grommet header and should install the rods as high as possible. That wall space is tight, so I’d recommend either iron rods that return to the wall or wood rods (1 3/8-inch diameter or larger). Use end caps if there’s no room for finials.

Lighting: The bay has two lovely sconces on either side, but some reading light would be useful. An adjustable height floor lamp with three-way lighting would be a great choice. I’ve shown a lamp from

You’re going to want to spend a lot of time in this beautiful space. Good luck!

DeCocco Design, Raleigh., 919-612-6464.

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