How to Choose the Perfect Front Door with Sidelights: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Introduction

The front door also needs to be safe and secure and must be able to withstand forced entry and live up to its potential as the first barrier against an intrusion. A door with sidelights, by its very design, provides beautiful natural light and more stylish curb appeal, showcasing the architecture of a home. However, along with the beauty of additional light inside, a door with sidelights is also responsible for balancing privacy with the exterior views. With elegant and exquisite styles in doors and sidelight options available, the choice can be overwhelming. In order to select the perfect front door with sidelights, you must always look to the focal point of your home for inspiration.

For most people, buying a front door is a one-time expenditure. The reasons are simple: over time, harsh weather like rain, wind, scorching sun, and bitter cold can impair door finishes and seals, requiring frequent repairs or replacements. Therefore, front doors need to be durable not only to keep the home safe from burglars but also to weather natural elements.

2. Understanding Front Doors with Sidelights

In some cases, a transom window is included at the top of front doors with sidelights. Similar to sidelights, the transom is, again, often composed mostly as a big glass window or a window with molds, patterns, and etched or frosted designs. This detailed description helps you understand just what you’re working with and whether or not you think this door style is right for you. After all, you do want your home to look good and not clunky or mismatched in any way possible.

So, what exactly is a front door with sidelights? Essentially, a front door with sidelights involves a front door. These sometimes have etched glass designs in them to provide an artistic touch, and windows that are usually decorative in nature. Sidelights are what you see on the sides of your front door. They can be composed mainly of glass or at least have molds and patterns included that you cannot see through. Often, decorative designs and colors are etched into the glass and then “frosted” or diffused with trapped particles of glass to create a pattern and design while still allowing light to shine through the sidelight.

3. Assessing Your Needs and Style

The key to a perfect look is to use proportion. It is typical for homeowners to ask for too much glass. Remember your home is not a city storefront. The door is great as a focal point, but sidelights should definitely be in proportion to the door – except if they are really a separate window wall. Any percentage of glass left will affect the balance and proportion of your entrance system, taking away from the most important thing that you are showcasing about your home – the view within. While trying to incorporate this goal of privacy, it is also necessary to realize the impact of keeping with the neighborhood context and feeling. Want your building to stand out – but not too much! And making sure to scale the glass properly is what will ensure the correct design feel.

If your home is a type of vintage or Victorian style, a more classic or ornate, heavy wooden door with opulent brass hardware is a better choice. If your home is more modern in design, a sleek steel door with a minimum of hardware might be the best choice for you. Consider the style of the interior of your house when choosing the exterior door, but most of all – above your styles and tastes – you absolutely must take into consideration the location and function of this door and sidelights when designing your entry. Will the door be south or north facing? Will it get baked by the sun? Does it need to stand up to strong winds? Are high winds carrying debris a problem? Is security against break-ins a concern? Answering these questions will help you determine the type of material the door and sidelights should be constructed from.

4. Considering Materials and Durability

You can always opt for a regular door or any available front door alternative solution. However, congregating around a front door with sidelights and considering the first impression it provides and the many people coming to your house staring at it, that will pretty much be the main path to your home, the guests’ and visitors’ glances will become immediately captivated by elements such as the chosen material, its style and if it is a front door with sidelights, the materials used in its production. After all, regardless of the weather, every time you come home, the place where you come in first involves the front entrance. You will therefore want a resistant main door, one with a striking appearance and preferably long-lasting.

When having to choose a front door with sidelights, besides considering all the technical and security features that will keep your home safe, it is also important to bear in mind how each material will behave in terms of durability. After all, the front door is pretty much constantly exposed to the elements, the changing weather and daily stress, so picking durable material is always an advantage. The diverse range of materials that each entrance door material is made of does indeed influence the front door price. Let’s see in which cases it is worth sparing no expense, when the most cost-effective material can become an issue and what advantages and disadvantages are there in each case.

5. Measuring and Sizing Your Door

If your framing measures 37-1/2″ x 81″, then your door dimensions are 40″ x 82-1/2″.


We build our door units to fit an opening. So after you get that, add 2-1/2″ to your width, then 1-1/2″ to your height.


Measure the “rough opening”. You will want to measure at three places for height – at the jamb legs and at the center. Record the shortest dimension. Then measure at three places up and three places down on the side jambs. Record the smallest dimension.

After your old door is out and before you install the new one, measure the rough opening. This is basically the area going to be covered by your door slab.

Admittedly, measuring a door size and calculating a door size isn’t the most engaging thing in the world, but it’s important to get it right, so stick with us.

It’s always best to get your measurements professionally to ensure a properly sized door. Any of our certified dealers are ready to help you with that and installation. However, if you want to check it out yourself, here it goes:

6. Exploring Design and Decorative Options

Frosted glass is made from opaque glass. It obscures the entryway while letting natural light shower in. Some homeowners worry about privacy with clear glass or artistic glass. The good news is that decorative glass allows for a clear view outside while making it challenging to see in during the day. However, if it’s dark outside and the interior is lit, it might be possible for someone to look in. You could look into getting a product called between-glass shades. They’re cellular blinds that sit between the panes of your front door’s glass. You enjoy an attractive appearance, easy cleaning, dust resistance, and adjustable light control and privacy.

Remember that all decorative glass affects privacy and light transmission. Clear glass gives the best view both in and out. Textured glass, such as Rain, Glue Chip, Graylite, and the many other textures designed to obscure the view, allows for some privacy and lets in a bit of light. Clear glass provides the best view both in and out of the door. This glass features a slightly pebbled texture, providing an attractive look. You also get a more straightforward view through the door and into your home.

Mizzy Peek-A-Boo doors offer a modern look and unique appeal. An updated take on the revolving door, the Mizzy does away with an unsightly column in the center, allowing both sides to share light and views. Let the sun shine in with a pair or an odd set of sidelights and a double door. The double doors create a large entryway, with no center post to obstruct the view.

Some homeowners want a sleek, modern appearance for the front of their homes, with clean sightlines and no detailing. This can be achieved in one of two ways: choose a front door without glass, or if you want a window in the door, select a flush-glazed door with a clear glass insert for a modern touch.

Excited to explore? Step inside and discover what makes us exceptional!

Common Questions About Front Doors with Sidelights: Your Essential FAQ


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