Ideas for Front Door Sidelights and Transoms

Transform a dark foyer or lackluster entryway into an inspired work of architecture.

The best inviting entryway designs include porch and front door enhancements, like sidelights and transoms. If you’re looking to add beauty and intrigue to your curb appeal, or create a more welcoming entryway, these window styles can accomplish both by establishing a stunning focal point.

You can transform a dark foyer or lackluster entryway into an inspired work of architecture by integrating one of these top entry door sidelight and transom ideas.

entryway design beach house interior design straw mat

Photo Credit: Zane Jones

Transom Windows
A transom window sits horizontally above the front door and fills your entryway with natural light. This increase in light enhances visibility to the outdoors, feelings of openness and curb appeal from the outside. While interior transom windows are sometimes used throughout the home indoors, the most popular place to put them is above your front exterior door.

Our transom windows come in four styles: circle, arch head, elliptical and rectangular. Because the entryway is one of the only opportunities to use decorative glass in a home’s design, many homeowners choose this style. However, if you’re going for a modern look, regular or obscure glass might be a better option for you. Grille styles and patterns are also optional, so every transom can be made custom just for you.

Transom Ideas
In the above entryway, designed by Matthew Caughy, a transom window creates a perfect bridge between the front door and front door sidelights, to the second story arch top window. The window glass is slightly frosted, creating both a bright and glowing look. We especially love how the natural light fills both stories of this home’s open entryway, eliminating the need for overhead lights, chandeliers and lamps.

Arched Transom Windows
Otherwise known as fanlights, arched transom windows are frequently paired with a front door that also features sidelights. While you can certainly use an arched transom window over a single door, our favorite look is a single door with sidelights and a transom, or, a double door with a transom.

entryway design ideas pella entry door sidelights black window frame

Photo by Jean Stoffer Design

Sidelight Windows
Similar to transom windows, sidelights create a stunning focal point while increasing the amount of natural light that can flood into the entryway. Whether you choose one or two sidelights, these windows are placed beside a front door – to the left, right or both sides.

Available styles include full light, ¾ light, ½ light and Craftsman style, which features the smallest window and greatest panel size. As you look to your glass and grille styles and patterns, consider choosing styles that complement your transom and/or front door.

Front Door with Sidelights
Sidelights are most commonly used with fiberglass or wood entry doors, and we think Jean Stoffer Design nailed the above front door with side windows! Notice how the sidelight windows are a little bit shorter than the height of the door. This is a design feature that is totally up to you. Stoffer and her team also utilized a beautiful horizontal black grille pattern to match the color of the entry door.

pella red front door architect series wood

Shop Architect Series Wood Entry Doors with Sidelights

Entry Door with One Sidelight
For a classic colonial or Craftsman look, consider using one sidelight that complements or matches a Craftsman style door. Our above Plank Craftsman Light Entry Door with Glass in Real Red pairs perfectly with a Craftsman style sidelight. The door’s distressed nickel hardware adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to the Southern-inspired porch.

pella wood front door sidelights and transoms

Front Door with Sidelights and Transom
Whether you choose to use both front door enhancements, or prefer sidelights over transoms, the more of these window styles you add to your entryway, the more stunning your home will be – both inside and out.

Learn more about how sidelights and transoms can give your home more curb appeal by scheduling a free in-home consultation today.

This article was written by

An Instagram enthusiast and tiny house fanatic, Kolbie is a member of the Pella Marketing team, focused on social media and brand strategy. In true Iowa fashion, her free time varies by season. You can find her in the gym coaching high school basketball throughout the winter, attempting to roller blade through downtown Des Moines in the spring, and sipping iced coffee on the back of a boat every other chance she gets.