Designing with Sidelights

Expand your entryway and invite more light inside with custom sidelights. Get our expert tips on how to design them from sketch.

Choose the Right Option for Your Front Door

If you love the classic style of a single panel front door, but you want the illusion of added width and natural light, customizing a sidelight to complement your entryway may be your best option. To start, what is a sidelight? Sidelights are vertical pieces of glass on the sides of an entry door that add more natural light to a home and its foyer. These accent windows can be tailored to fit any style, height, or width, and are popular among homeowners who want to easily elevate their curb appeal. Follow along as we lay out the benefits of these windows for a front door, and what to keep in mind as you customize them.

The Benefits of Front Door Sidelights

There are several benefits of adding sidelights to your front entryway, including: 

  • More natural light. Add one or two to your front door depending on your style preference and how much light you want to let inside. 
  • Added character. Create a welcoming entryway with this unique design touch that can be personalized to match your modern, ornate, or traditional style.
  • Increased privacy. Just because you’re adding more windows to your front door, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice privacy. Opt for a textured glass for an obscure view and bespoke design element. 

3 Factors to Keep in Mind When Designing

When you partner with our team to draw a sketch of your vision, the options are nearly endless. Narrow your focus before you meet with us to design your custom door, and think about these three factors. 

  1. Style & Silhouette 

First, consider the style of your home and what kind of sidelight would best complement it. For example, a contemporary new build with a modern iron door would be best paired with one or two clear glass, slim profile sidelights. However, a home with a front door that features intricate lines and ornate patterns may be matched with windows that also feature handcrafted scrollwork and textured glass. It’s also worth noting that sidelights can help a home feel more transitional if contemporary styles don’t fit the aesthetic. For instance, a craftsman home with a traditional front door may benefit from them by increasing the amount of light that’s flowing into the home—a very modern trend, but designed to complement the classic style of the door and home.

We also recommend taking a step back and assessing your roof line to determine what type of silhouette would accent the shape of your entryway. If your entryway’s width is small or too tight to work with, you may consider only one sidelight, or two very slim ones.  

2. Size Configurations

Next, now that you have determined your front door sidelight style and silhouette, it’s time to evaluate your configuration preferences. If your entryway has enough space and you want to increase the amount of natural light that’s flowing into your home, we recommend adding two. But, if you want to create an eye-catching statement with a contemporary twist, one sidelight can also create the illusion of a large double door while adding some natural light. Here are several popular options to consider—keep in mind that our team can customize the width and height of your sidelights as needed, and no idea is off the table:

    • Single door with left sidelight
    • Single door with right sidelight
    • Single door with two sidelights
    • Double door with left sidelight 
    • Double door with right sidelight 
    • Double door with two sidelights

3. Privacy & Security

Lastly, it’s important to consider your value for privacy. If you love the look and feel of clear glass and modern iron doors, then large clear glass sidelights are a great choice. However, if you want added privacy while still increasing the width of your entryway and the amount of light that’s entering your home, choose from our selection of textured glass design options. We love the Reeded Vertical and Horizontal glasses, as well as the Rain, Cotswold, and Aquatex glasses.

Custom Front Door Inspiration

Gather design inspiration from some of our favorite projects in a variety of door and home styles.

Modern Entryway: Double door with Two Sidelights

A slim profile double iron door with two large sidelights on either side.

Traditional Front Door: Single Door with Two Sidelights

A brick home featuring a traditional door with two sidelights.

Ornate Front Entryway: Double door with Two Sidelights

An ornate door with two large sidelights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you buy door sidelights separately?

If you want an attached sidelight to be added to a door, these elements cannot be bought separately because the sidelight would be attached under the same door jamb as the door. If you want fixed windows that act as sidelights and are not attached to the door jamb, then yes, these can be bought separately.

Can sidelight windows open?

Sidelights are typically fixed, meaning that they do not open. However, a recent popular option for customers who want the appearance of a single door and one sidelight, but the functionality of a double door, is to choose an operable window.

How wide are front door sidelights?

Clark Hall can customize the width and height of your sidelights as needed. But, to give you an idea, they are generally built in 2-inch increments with 12-14 inches as a standard. Too narrow of a window will likely take away needed light, and too wide will take away from the width of the door.

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