Any other time of the year, we try to make our interiors feel light, airy, and open. We want to feel space and comfort in our surroundings and aim to pick décor that achieves this goal. We throw all of these ideals out the window when Christmas comes. Some may disagree, but at Christmastime, we fill our surroundings with glowing lights, warm colors, and themed displays. Here at The Gray Boxwood, we can’t help ourselves; Christmas inspiration seems to simply overflow our creative psyche. Rather than have this creativity go to waste, we give you all the ideas we have in the hopes that you can transform them into beauty throughout your home. Even in those awkward spots throughout your home, this is the time of year to try something new and unique!
No matter the time of year, clients are always expressing to us the difficulty of decorating a bay, box, or stairway landing window. Because of the drama of these spaces, they are incredibly difficult to decorate. Most decorations that our clients use appear too small and seem unable to accurately capture the architectural beauty of the space. Personally, we love these spaces (which, of course, is not surprising); they are a chance to do the unexpected.
What’s the Difference Between a Bay, Box, and Bow Window?
Although they sound similar, bay, box, and bow windows are uniquely different. Originally introduced during the Gothic Revival and Victorian architectural periods, a bay window is an adornment to a house that creates extra living space. Bay windows have two angled sides that extend toward the exterior of a house. Rather than meeting at a point, these two diagonal walls are “cut off” by a wall that is parallel to the wall upon which the bay window is fixated.
Although similar in style, box windows employ a rectangular shape, rather than using angled walls. They characteristically extend less than two feet from the house and are used to create extra space. Box windows frequently appear in kitchens and staircase landings. They can also be used as window seats or ledges.
Bow windows utilize rounded walls to create their visual appeal. Originally used during the Federal period, bow windows were a desirable architectural element because of their gentle outward curve. Think of a bow window as a bay window that has simply had all angles “smoothed” out. If you were to look topdown on a bow window, it would appear to be in the shape of a half circle.
Staircase Landing Box Window
On this staircase landing, the homeowner has a beautifully large box window. With the stairway adorned in fantastic garland, the window area felt neglected and empty. We chose a glittery silver theme mixed with a dash of pastel colors. Starting with a selection of thin-branched silver trees, we added a variety of ornaments.
Expert Tip: Choose a tree on the “thin” side when decorating in front of a window. A characteristically-normal “plump” tree will obstruct the view and hinder the daytime light from shining through.
For the space around the trees, we chose an assortment of differently shaped tree toppers and added height with stands. These glass tree toppers were originally used to adorn trees, but are now made in a variety of shapes and colors for any use.
Glittered deer was all that was needed to finish the “silver forest.”
Upon seeing the final product, the box window seemed off-scale because of its high drama. We counteracted this with several silver metal ornaments suspended with fish line. The effect worked perfectly, as the ornaments seem to “float” from the fret work.
A New Season, A New Look
There are endless seasonal options for a box or bay window. You may recall a Fall Cornucopia we designed for a client several months ago. For the new season, the client asked us to return to change the display. To complement the other Christmas themes already in place within the space, we selected a gold- and amber-hued candlescape. Using the same wooden object as a base, tiered handblown gold glass candleholders created a massive, yet simple, display. A selection of brown leaf sprigs and some gold-glittered trees finished this gorgeous look.
Try Something Simple
If you are not enamored by glitter and glamor at Christmas, you can certainly employ a simple theme. In this bow window, a vintage planter and a few sticks worked as a centerpiece that anchored the window. To finish, felt trees were scattered throughout, as well as a sprinkling of faux snow. To ensure this look would last past Christmas, we added a pair of vintage bells to “ring in the New Year”.
Expert Tip: When you use whites and other neutral colors, you are able to keep a display for longer than just the Christmas season. This surely helps to combat the post-Christmas blues!
If you are plagued by a space that seems to evade your every decorating effort, take a chance and be dramatic. To anchor large or tall spaces, use at least one large item as a way to center the area and provide balance. Use your Christmas theme colors and simply have fun!
-Tis the season to give drama!