My friend and coworker Diana asked me if I had any advice on what to do with them. I've never had to cover a bay window before (and seeing as how I have only lived in rentals, I don't really shell out for things that are pretty custom that I can't take with me like drapes and shutters).
Diana's got a bay window in her living room, the most under-utilized room in her house. Part of the reason for its under-utilization is that when she might use the space for some quiet time, such as in the evening, the window is wide open to the neighborhood because right now it is "naked".
Enter this (hopefully) inspirational post for D:
My first and most uncreative thought was floor to ceiling drapes. She could do a sheer in the middle and something heavier and more substantial that she could pull tight at night if she decided to use the room. If you're leaning towards curtains, these first few pictures are for you.
Enough of the drapes. I am a huge fan of shutters. It is one of the things I really like about the place I'm living now. The shutters are functional, easy to open and close, and look great. Plus, they are much easier to dust than those old mini-blinds I grew up with. Nothing says island getaway like a bunch of white shutters in a room. So, who says you can't install shutters on your bay windows?
Neither of those options striking your fancy? What about Roman shades? You can still get the burst of color if you're trying to splash up your room or you can keep them completely neutral like the ones shown below.
What about a combo? Why do you have to pick just one? This next picture uses the grandeur of the floor to ceiling drapes coupled with the functionality of easy to open and close roman shades. Not a bad idea at all if you ask me.