Enhance Your Entryway: Choosing the Best Front Door with Window on Side for Style & Light

Choosing a front door with a window on the side, or sidelight, is more than a design choice — it affects how light enters your home and bolsters curb appeal. Before you decide, there’s plenty to consider: the amount of light you desire, your architectural style, and how to maintain privacy and security. Our guide details these factors, covering types, materials, and installation tips for your next front door update.

Key Takeaways

  • Sidelights enhance home entryways by allowing natural light, creating an illusion of space, and connecting the interior to the outdoor environment, with varied styles and materials offering customization for privacy and aesthetic preferences.
  • The selection of the front door and its material (wood, fiberglass, steel) should complement the house’s architecture and include considerations for durability and security; sidelights should harmonize with the door design, not compete with it.
  • Installing a front door with sidelights requires accurate measurement and consideration for professional installation versus DIY to ensure proper fit, security, and compliance with safety standards.

The Appeal of a Front Door With A Window On the Side: Sidelites, Enhancing Your Front Door


Sidelights, the slim, vertical windows flanking your entry door, are more than just decorative elements. They are a functional and aesthetic upgrade to your home, offering the following benefits:

  • Allowing more natural light into your entryway
  • Creating an illusion of a larger, more welcoming space
  • Enhancing your connection to the outdoors
  • Making your home feel more open and vibrant

Coupled with matching transom windows, sidelights can create a stunning focal point, adding architectural interest and elevating the grandeur of your entrance. They enhance both the interior and exterior aesthetics, contributing significantly to your home’s curb appeal and making a great first impression.

So, whether you’re considering selling your home or just want to impress your guests, adding sidelights to your front door is an investment that pays off.

Types of Sidelights

The beauty of sidelights lies in their versatility. They come in a range of styles, from ½ lite, ¾ lite, to full lite, where ‘lite’ refers to the proportion of glass in the sidelight. This range allows you to control the amount of light entering your home while also choosing a design that suits your architectural style and personal taste.

Sidelights can have single or multiple panels, with some designed to replicate the look of the adjacent door, creating a harmonious look. For those seeking a unique entryway, custom-sized sidelights can be tailored to specific aesthetic preferences and space requirements, ensuring a perfect fit for any home. These sidelights can be installed on one or both sides of the door, offering flexibility in design.

Material Options for Sidelights

Choosing the right material for your sidelights is crucial in achieving the balance between privacy and natural light. Frosted or stained glass sidelights, for instance, can enhance privacy while still allowing ample light into your home. Moreover, decorative window films are available, offering options from decorative to stained glass styles, enabling homeowners to add style while increasing privacy.

The choice of glass type for sidelights is often guided by the manufacturer’s offerings and should be chosen with the assistance of a door specialist for a tailored appearance. This way, you can ensure that your sidelights not only provide the desired level of privacy and light but also match the overall aesthetic of your home.

Selecting the Perfect Door Style with Sidelights


Choosing a front door with a window on the side style that complements your home’s architecture is just as important as the door’s functionality. When paired with sidelights, the right door style can dramatically enhance the visual appeal of your home. Decorative options for sidelights, such as matching grids or patterns in the glass, can be used to create a unique aesthetic that complements your home’s design.

It’s important to remember that sidelights should not compete with the door; instead, they should enhance and complement it. Therefore, when selecting a door style with sidelights, consider how they can work together to create a cohesive look that suits your home and elevates its curb appeal.

Popular Door Styles with Sidelights

Traditional wood front doors with a window on the side, renowned for their timeless appeal, are a popular choice for many homeowners. They offer the versatility to be tailored in size, shape, and design, making them a go-to choice for a classic entryway aesthetic. When paired with sidelights, these entry doors exude a charm that is hard to resist, creating a warm and inviting entryway.

Alternatively, Craftsman door styles, paired with sidelights, offer a range of size options to fit various entryway dimensions. They bring a touch of historical charm that blends seamlessly with modern design elements. For entryways with limited space, asymmetrical sidelight configurations offer an attractive solution, with designs that feature a single sidelight creating a balanced and inviting entrance.

Door Material Choices

When selecting a door material, it’s important to consider not only the aesthetics but also the durability and security it offers. Fiberglass doors, for instance, have the classic appearance of wood and can be customized through staining or painting in various colors. They provide increased protection against the elements while also resisting small dents and nicks.

On the other hand, steel doors are known for their safety features, consisting of insulated foam and steel panels that provide a sturdy defense against intrusions. However, one drawback of steel doors is that they can be difficult to repair once dented.

Ultimately, the choice between fiberglass and steel will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Patio Doors with a Window on the Side: Bringing the Outdoors In

Patio-Doors-with sidelites

There’s something truly special about blurring the boundaries between your indoor and outdoor living spaces. Patio doors with side windows can help create this seamless connection, increasing ventilation and fostering a sense of unity with nature. This not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your home but also provides an expanded view and better access to your outdoor space.

Sliding Patio Doors with Side Panels

One of the main advantages of sliding patio doors is their space-saving design. They operate without impacting the surrounding area, making them an excellent choice for smaller spaces or areas with heavy foot traffic. When coupled with side panels, they not only improve the home’s aesthetic appeal but also allow for increased visibility and light.

Additionally, three-panel sliding patio doors provide enhanced ventilation, with two operable panels facilitating a larger opening and improved indoor-outdoor connection. For even greater flexibility, consider double doors or four-panel sliding patio door that offer more ventilation options and expansive views of the outdoors, thanks to their two movable panels.

French Patio Doors with Sidelights

If you’re looking for a touch of elegance, French patio doors with sidelights can be the perfect addition to your home. They not only enhance the architectural beauty of your home but also create an attractive focal point. The decorative grilles between the glass of the sidelights can offer a timeless traditional appearance, simplifying maintenance and adding an element of sophistication.

Moreover, French patio doors with sidelights maximize natural lighting, contributing to a brighter and seemingly larger interior space. And with the flexibility of door swings, either inward or outward, they can accommodate different space considerations and layouts.

But the benefits don’t end there. Sidelights with operable windows on French patio doors enable airflow and can be opened for ventilation without the need to use the primary doors. They also provide enhanced views, making it easier to observe your surroundings, like spotting guests or supervising deliveries.

Maximizing Privacy and Security with Sidelights


While sidelights offer numerous benefits, it’s important to address potential privacy and security concerns. After all, while they enhance visibility from the inside, they can also increase visibility into your home, particularly at night. Luckily, there are several ways to mitigate these concerns and ensure that your entryway remains both safe and comfortable.

Choosing the Right Glass Type for your Front Door With A Window On The Side

The type of glass used in your sidelights can significantly impact your privacy.

Frosted, stained, or textured glass options, such as ribbed, etched, or stained patterns, are ideal for homeowners looking to balance privacy with natural light while adding a unique style to their entryway.

Decorative window films applied to clear glass can:

  • Improve privacy without sacrificing natural light
  • Enhance energy efficiency by minimizing heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer
  • Contribute to lower energy bills and a more comfortable home

Using Low-E glass in sidelights can further enhance energy efficiency by allowing more light to enter while maintaining insulation.

Additional Security Measures

Besides selecting the appropriate glass type, additional security measures can enhance your entryway safety. Installing a double-cylinder deadbolt, which necessitates a key for both inside and outside access, boosts security for doors with sidelights. Repositioning door hinges to position the handle away from the sidelight can also restrict an intruder’s ability to unlock the door post glass breakage.

Smart locks and glass break sensors in a home security system can alert homeowners to potential breaches, adding an additional layer of security. Furthermore, security film applied to sidelights can make glass more resistant to shattering, further improving entryway security.

How to Measure and Install a Front Door with Sidelights


Ensuring a perfect fit for your front door with sidelights begins with accurate measurements. Taking precise measurements of your door, sidelights, and jamb is crucial for a seamless fit of your new front door.

Let’s delve deeper into the process of resolving an “access denied” issue.

Measuring Your Entryway

To measure your entryway, follow these steps:

  1. Start by measuring the width of the door frame at the top, middle, and bottom.
  2. Use the smallest of these measurements as the door width.
  3. For front doors with sidelights, measure the width of the door and each sidelight separately.
  4. Add up the measurements to get the total entryway width.

For height, measure from the door sill bottom to the door header underside at both sides. Use the shorter dimension as your door height. Measure the sidelights’ height, which usually matches the door height.

Finally, check if the door frame is square by measuring diagonals. If there’s a significant difference, adjustments may be necessary.

Professional Installation vs. DIY

Once you have the correct measurements, the next step is installation. While DIY door installation can save on labor costs, it can pose risks if not properly installed. This could lead to expensive repairs down the line and reduced home security. Furthermore, a DIY installation requires a considerable amount of time and attention to detail, which can be challenging for those with limited schedules or experience.

On the other hand, professional installers offer several benefits:

  • Experience and expertise in installing doors
  • Ensuring that doors meet safety standards
  • Providing warranties for installation issues
  • Quick completion and precise fitting
  • Compliance with local codes

These benefits ultimately provide a low maintenance, seamless experience for the homeowner and peace of mind, with the bonus of not needing to seek permission for any major changes.


In summary, sidelights not only boost curb appeal but also invite more light into your home, creating a warm welcome. With various styles and materials, you can find the ideal match for your home’s look and your preferences. However, it’s important to consider privacy and security concerns and take appropriate measures to ensure a safe and comfortable entryway. Whether you decide to install the door yourself or hire a professional, accurate measurements are essential to ensure a perfect fit. So why not consider sidelights for your home? They could be just the upgrade your entryway needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the window on the side of a front door called?

The sidelight is a slim, vertical window next to the front door, providing extra light and enhancing the doorway’s visual charm.

What are doors with windows called?

Doors with windows are called transom windows. They can be rectangular or arched in shape.

What is glass over front door called?

The glass over the front door is called a transom. It is a fixed window above the door and sidelights, brightening the entry with natural light.

What are the benefits of sidelights?

Sidelights offer increased natural light, enhanced curb appeal, a welcoming entryway, and improved visibility, fostering a connection with the outdoors.

How do I measure my entryway for a front door with sidelights?

To measure your entryway, record the smallest width and height of the door frame and sidelights, and sum them for the total width. Be sure to use the smallest measurements for the door width and height.

About Us

See-Thru Windows is the one-stop shop for home improvement products and services in Waldorf and the surrounding areas. We specialize in replacement windows but offer much more, including entry doors, bathroom remodeling products, and several other home improvement options. Our dedication to bettering homes with high-quality products has made us the trusted home remodeler of the Waldorf area for the past 20 years. Our windows and doors are rated and tested to standards set by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. Contact us today for more information or to schedule your in-home estimate!

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