Weekend Bay Window Update

Written by DIY

Welcome to our living room! It’s a long, light filled room with wonderful hardwoods and a fire place. A perfectly decent space to make cozy and fill with the things that make it home. Also a perfectly good spot for us to spend most of our time lounging on that sofa. We are a TV/movie/gaming loving couple and log a lot of hours sinking into those cushions and throw pillows.

We already have plans for opening the wall up to the kitchen and dining room. We want to make it a true open concept floor plan to utilize the space better in the kitchen and connect the rooms for all the reasons open concept is so popular. As well as to let alllllll that natural light spill through the house. So for now, we don’t have any updates we will be making to this living room until we are ready to tackle everything and/or have a more flushed out plan. Gotta save up those pennies first!

However, we had to do something with all that lovely, wonderful, abundant natural light. Our TV’s temporary home is the wall opposite the bay window. Meaning, we can’t see the screen when it’s day light. Only slightly inconvenient when you’re trying to binge watch X-Files. So we decided to make window coverings a higher priority for that window.

I have always loved bamboo shades for the warmth and texture they add, and already knew this was something I wanted to bring to this home too. So with a little research, I found some at Lowes I liked for a nice price that could be custom cut right there. So we measured the five panes of glass, went to Lowes, got the shades in the color we wanted, and BOOM! Our window went from the above ‘move-in’ photo…. to THIS! Swoon….

Ok, so there were some more steps involved. But it was still a pretty quick, easy weekend project. Let’s dig in.

Our bay window is made of five separate panes of glass, each at a different angle. So we decided to do five separate shades to arc in the same way the windows do and hug in close to them. When measuring, we measured for the actual edge of the shade. We wanted the edges to sit slightly over the mullion (wood that separates each pane) for privacy and light blocking. But the windows on either end don’t have as much to over hang on the ends, so we needed a slightly different size for those two.

With our measurements in hand, we journey-ed to Lowes to buy the shades. We picked out Natural Bamboo as the color to match closer to the floors. I always love a high contrast and struggled with choosing between dark vs light shades. I ultimately went with my gut and glad I did. I love the look of the lighter shade in this house with the variations in the color. We scrounged around and found five boxes of the length we needed. Each length has a minimum width it can be cut to, so be sure to check that when purchasing.

Next, we got the Lowes employee that is the expert window covering cutter and she spent about 30 – 45 minutes cutting them all down for us, while we wandered around the store making mental lists of things we want in the future and things we didn’t know existed and now want (hello Christmas list!). The cutting service at Lowes is free with the purchase of shades.

Something else I’d been mulling over whether or not to do… is painting the wood trim in the house. I love the natural warmth it adds… but at the same time, some of the trim is pretty banged up and there is already paint covering a good bit of it through the house from a not-so-neat painter in the past. I even thought about staining it, but that would be more trouble than it was worth and easier to just buy new wood trim to stain rather than sand everything…

So painting it seemed like the best and most economical option. This window ended up being my test to see how I would feel about the white trim… and I have to say, it put a smile on my face. So now my winter project is painting trim through the whole house! We picked Valspar’s Du Jour in semi-gloss as our trim color since it’s a cooler white, but not bright white. Bright white seemed too vibrant and in your face. While at Lowes waiting for our shades to be trimmed, we went ahead and got a gallon mixed.

We got home from Lowes in the afternoon on a Saturday. I cleaned off the window ledge of all the plants, cracked open the paint can and started painting immediately. I got two coats done that night in between dinner, TV and random Instagram stalking, then went to bed. The next morning I decided there were a few spots that needed another touch of paint, so I dabbed that on and went to do other things for few hours. That did the trick! I was in love already! It looked so much cleaner and brighter.

That same evening, Jordan had to start packing for a work trip. But I wanted the shades hung cause, let’s be real, I’m impatient and didn’t want to stare at the window shade boxes all week sitting lonely on the floor. So I figured out how to hang them myself with Jordan’s vote of confidence. I have always been weary of hanging window coverings and shelves because of the need for measuring and making holes in the right place for things to hang properly. But once I really investigated everything I realized there was indeed margin for error and didn’t need to be 100% accurate! Hallelujah!

I just needed to measure a reasonable distance between the L brackets and have them spaced close to the middle of the window. The shades used a wing nut to bolt onto the L brackets and the holes for them were about two inches long on either side. So I had two inches of wiggle room! For some reason, that put my mind at ease and I had no issues. In almost no time at all, I was getting each shade up and feeling like a freaking rock star! A rock star that hangs her own window shades.

Look at me go! This is also around the time I decided it was time to ditch the diagonal cross bars (I know these have a name, but who knows what that is?) They were made of thin strips of wood and were only held in with small dowels drilled into the sides of the mullions. I just had to use a pair of pliers to yank them out and could then pull down the cross bars with ease. OH MY GOD! What a difference! Now I just need to go back to fill in the holes from the dowels and touch up with paint.

The only reason I hadn’t done this sooner was because the other front window in our house has the cross bars, but can’t be removed since they are inside the insulated window. I thought it would look weird as the only window with the diagonal grid. I sadly learned you should NEVER open the space between two panes of glass in an insulated window (double-pane window) because 1) you could shatter the glass, 2) you will never get it back together the same, 3) condensation could build up between the panes ruining the seals from the inside out because 4) insulated windows are vacuum or gas sealed to help reduce heat transfer. If you mess with it, that is lost. So to get rid of those bars, we will have to buy a new window… #sadface. Not high on the priority list right now however. I’m living with it.

 I really got this window shade hanging thing down.

Ahhhhhhhh….. so much nicer! I got all the shades hung in probably about an hour or just over. Then vacuumed up all the dust that came off the shades from trimming, and put the plants back where they belong.

Now we still have all that wonderful natural light, but can control it a bit better. Even down, these shades look great. They are only light filtering so we still get some indication the sun is still out (we don’t need to be vampires), but it kills the glare on the TV screen. Mission complete!

A couple weeks later, we still LOVE it and feeling very positive about starting to paint all the trim white. As you can see, the other windows in here are still touting their birthday suit. We’ve made the plan to paint windows as we buy shades for them, while also adding some drama to the interior doors as we go. I’ll probably paint trim through other rooms in the house before the living room since, as I wrote in the beginning, we will eventually be demo-ing to make one big space. For now, this makes us happy.

Last modified: February 26, 2018