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Street view of a TruStile Cape Cod Front Door in Hazelnut color with a four-column entry way.

Brighten Curb Appeal: Entry Doors with Sidelites + Transom Windows

Your entry door welcomes people into your home. A front door can be a focal point, adding to your home’s curb appeal. Sidelites and transom windows can enhance your front door’s curb appeal. The extra windows illuminate your entryway and add character to your home. Learn more about sidelites and transoms, and how they can transform your home’s entryway.

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What are Front Door Sidelites?

Sidelites, also referred to as sidelights, are inoperable vertical windows that stand to either side of a front door. A front door can have one sidelite on one side of an entry door. Or, a front door can have sidelite windows on each side. Many window companies use “sidelight” to describe the window. Others use “sidelite” to avoid confusion with light terms associated with windows.

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Entry Doors with Sidelites

Entry doors with sidelites have a flair that can increase your home’s curb appeal. An entry door with sidelites isn’t common so the appearance can draw eyes. An entry door with one sidelite can have a more contemporary look. An entry door with two sidelites has a balanced and symmetrical look. Wood entry doors with sidelites fit a classical styled home. A black entry door with sidelites can complement a brick home well. It can also blend in with a contemporary home. Double entry doors with sidelites create a grand entrance. They can make a home feel more luxurious.

Exterior view of a TruStile Resilient Entry System with a traditional style front door.

What are Front Door Transoms?

Transom windows are fixed windows that appear above front doors. In the past, transom windows opened to provide ventilation for row houses. These days, transom windows serve decorative purposes. They also add natural light to a home in an elegant way. A front door transom can make the entryway feel larger and welcoming. Transom windows can also appear above patio doors or picture windows to create a window wall.

Transom Style Windows

Transom windows can come in different styles. There are direct-set transoms, in-sash transoms, and arch and radius transoms. Direct-set transom windows are set direct into the transom frame and do not open. In-sash square transoms get glazed into a separate sash, which gets secured to a frame. In-sash transom windows can open and close, if designed that way. TruStile®, a Marvin® brand, offers arch-top transom windows. They have a slight curve. Radius-top transom windows have more of a semi-circle curve. Arch-top and radius-top transom windows can fit well in homes with older architectural styles, like Gothic styles. They used to serve a functional purpose of helping allow air into a home.  

Several architectural styles feature transom windows. You can find craftsman style transom windows with craftsman homes. Georgian and colonial style homes will also feature transom window as a nod to traditional style.

What is the Best Front Door for Natural Light?

The best front door for natural light will include sidelites and a transom window. They extend the area for sunlight to enter. A sun-soaked entryway can feel like a warm embrace. If you’re considering the best front door materials, then look toward wood. A wood front door with sidelites and a transom will create a charming welcoming space. A wood craftsman entry door with sidelites has character and architectural appeal.

Wood is one of the best front door materials available. Other common front door materials include: fiberglass, aluminum, and steel.

Street view of a TruStile Traditional Front Door in Nutmeg color on a white home with two columns.

Front Door with Sidelites and Transom Windows

A front entry door with sidelights and a transom window makes a statement. The design combinations run as wild as your imagination. Plus, you can add accents, like divided lites to heighten historic looks. A black front door with sidelites and a transom can make your home the envy of the neighborhood. Extend the look with double entry doors that have sidelites and a transom window to feel like you’re entering a mansion.

Benefits of Front Doors with Sidelites and Transoms

Exterior entry doors with sidelights and a transom window have several benefits for your home. A steel entry door replacement project sees homeowners recoup 188.1% of their investment at resale, according to Remodeling Magazine. A fiberglass exterior door grand entrance project can see homeowners recoup 97.4% of their cost at resale.

Aside from the value in replacement front doors, you can see curb appeal benefits, enjoy more natural light, and reap the rewards of an energy efficient entry door. A front door with sidelites and a transom window stands out in the neighborhood.

Studies show that natural light in a home has an impact on your well-being. Sunlight has a warming effect on your body. It also helps regulate your internal clock. Increased natural light can also mean less of a need for artificial light in your home. Energy efficient concepts can help you harness more natural light and use less artificial light, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Design Options for Front Doors with Sidelites and Transom

  • Front Door Styles + Materials: Often front doors get built with wood, steel, or fiberglass. Each type of front door material has benefits and disadvantages. Choosing a front door material can come down to looks, energy efficiency, and cost. With each material type you can also select from a variety of front door styles to match your home’s look. TruStile features more than 80 entry door looks.

  • Custom Front Doors: You can customize a front door to suit your style. Front door sidelites and transoms are a couple of ways to create a custom entry door. Custom front door options can also include glass options. Decorative glass provides a textured look while obscuring the view inside your home. With decorative glass you can continue enjoy the benefits of natural light entering your home.

  • Complementary Front Door Hardware: It’s also important consider hardware design and color with front doors. The front door handle should complement the door’s and home’s color scheme. The entry door handle design shouldn’t stand out or distract from the rest of the door’s design.

  • Front Door Energy Efficiency Options: Different front door materials have varying energy efficiency properties. Fiberglass, steel, and wood entry doors have excellent energy efficiency.

  • Front Door Glass Options: Energy efficiency also extends to sidelites and transoms. Double-paned sidelites and transoms have insulating properties to help with your home’s energy efficiency. The types of glass used can also help. The windows can have glass coatings to moderate solar heat gain.

Front Doors with Sidelites + Transom Installation

It’s best to have a professional install a front door with sidelites and a transom window. Marvin Replacement can handle installation for you to ensure a proper fit. A front door needs proper operation to help seal out unwanted air. Air can leak through improperly installed doors, decreasing your home’s energy efficiency.


Should a transom match sidelites?

Yes, a transom window should match a door’s sidelites. Transom windows should match the style and design of sidelite windows. The trim should also match.

What’s the purpose of a transom over a door?

Transom windows over a door serve a decorative purpose to add more sunshine into a home. In the past, transom windows opened and closed to allow fresh air into homes.

Where to find a front door system with wide sidelites?

TruStile offers a multitude of front door systems with wide sidelites for your home.

Can you replace sidelites without replacing the door?

Yes, you can replace the sidelite of a front door without replacing the entire door. It can depend on the construction of the entry door. If the sidelite is included in the assembly of the front door frame, it might not be possible to replace the sidelite.

How much does it cost to replace a sidelite?

Sidelite replacement window costs vary based on the size of the window and options. Special designs and window glass can affect the cost of a sidelite window.

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