Installing a Front Entry Door with Sidelights

Bring natural light and style to your home’s exterior with this popular door choice.

Sometimes a home’s exterior needs a more substantial or decorative statement than a single front entrance door. Sidelights, narrow windows that frame an entry door, are an attractive and beneficial way to enhance your home’s porch or stoop. Read on to learn more about the benefits, as well as the available styles and sizes.


One of the biggest benefits of sidelights — those with both transparent and translucent glass — is the fact that they allow natural light to stream into your home. This can not only be a source of light for the day, but can provide a mood-lifting glimpse of the outdoors. 

Completely transparent sidelights will also allow you to see who’s visiting when your doorbell rings—without peering through the often-awkward angle of a traditional peephole. What’s more, many pets love to pass the day at a sidelight, which — when they are designed to extend to the floor — offer a view of the outdoors that is often the perfect height and size for them. 

Finally, as noted above, if your entry requires a bit more substantiality or if you want to play off of a bank of windows on the front facade of your home, sidelights can be a great way to accomplish this. 

Available Styles

Fiberglass and wood entry doors are two of the most common types of doors to offer the option of sidelights. Many of these doors feature glass inserts with scrollwork, stained glass or a design motif, and the sidelights can be matched or coordinated with these inserts. Sidelights might be full length, meaning the glass would run the majority of the length of the door. They may also be partial with glass just along the top or in a centered oval shape; or they may feature glass that covers three fourths of the sidelight. If you only need one sidelight — rather than a pair that frames your door — styles with this option can be custom ordered. Additionally, many sidelights can be personalized with blinds or blind inserts that provide privacy and allow you to control light.

One additional option to note is a transom, which would be coordinated with the sidelights style, size, and design, and be placed over the top of the door to allow light to flow through this space. Since you’re not only matching the style of the door, but also the style of windows, be sure to take the entire facade of your home into account when making a selection.


Due to their unique nature and the variety of door and sidelight sizes, most front entry doors with sidelights will need to be custom ordered. This also gives you the ability to personalize the door with the aforementioned features. Home improvement stores do stock basic options. These will traditionally feature a standard size door with 10-inch sidelights. The prehung options you will find generally measure 60- x 80-inches or 64- x 80-inches, including the door and two sidelights. If you are uncertain about the size of your exterior opening, check with a professional contractor or consultant before purchasing.

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