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Exterior Doors With Sidelights

On this page:
  • Types of sidelights for exterior doors
  • Cost to install a door with sidelights
  • Benefits of sidelights

If you are looking to add more natural light and/or curb appeal to your home, look no further than adding exterior doors with sidelights. With lots of styles and designs to choose from, sidelights can add an elegant and modern touch to your home’s entryway area.

What Are Sidelights for Exterior Doors?

Sidelights—also called sidelites—are narrow, vertical windows that are placed on either, or both, sides of an exterior door. While installing sidelights on patio doors is possible, sidelights are most popular among entryway and front doors.

Depending on what type of entryway door you have, sidelights can be stationary or moveable. Whether a homeowner gets sidelights that are fully operational or motionless, they can add a sense of elegance to a home and increase its curb appeal. Continue reading to find out all of the benefits you can enjoy when you have sidelights installed on your front door.

Which Types of Entry Doors Can Have Sidelights?

When considering exterior doors with sidelights for your home, it’s important to keep in mind that some exterior door materials better support built-in sidelights. Some of the most common exterior door materials can support sidelight installations:

  • Wood
  • Fiberglass
  • Steel

If you prefer a less commonly used material for your front door – such as vinyl, iron, or aluminum – make sure to consult with a contractor to see if they can support this type of sidelight installation.

Sidelight Styles for Entryway Doors

Sidelights are typically installed on both the right-hand and left-hand sides of the front door. However, if a homeowner prefers a sidelight on just one side of the door, they can opt for this option, as well.

When thinking about the size or length of the sidelights you want to install, consider these common styles:

  • Full sidelight: Extends the full length of the exterior door, from the top of the doorway to the bottom.
  • 3/4 sidelight: Extends from the top of the doorway to three-quarters down, lengthwise.
  • 1/2 sidelight: Extends from the top of the doorway to halfway down the length of the door.
  • 1/4 sidelight: Extends from the top of the doorway to one-quarter down the length of the door.

Entryway door with 1/4 sidelights on the right-hand and left-hand sides

Additional sidelight styles to consider include:

  • Paneled sidelights
  • Full sidelights
  • Double doors with sidelights
  • Arched sidelights
  • Transom windows

Homeowners can typically choose whether they want sidelights with paneled glass, or full sidelights with no panels (pictured above). Transom windows (with either panels or no panels) can also be added to the top of the entryway door, to better frame the sidelights.

Once you speak to a door contractor, they will be able to offer you different style options for your exterior door with sidelights. It’s often best to get a professional’s opinion to determine the best type of sidelights – both in terms of style and function – for your home. A professional will also be able to take precise measurements to determine the correct size and dimensions for your entryway door sidelights.


Front door with 2 arched three-quarter sidelights.

Benefits of Sidelights

There are several reasons why exterior doors with sidelights are so desirable! More and more homes today have beautiful entryway doors with sidelights because they add both visual and functional appeal to the home. By installing sidelights on entryway doors, homeowners can instantly boost curb appeal and home value. Consider these benefits of exterior doors with sidelights:

Natural light

If you want to let the sunshine in, an entry door with sidelights is the way to go. Sidelights can add natural light to your home’s entryway, giving your home an airy, bright glow as soon as you arrive.

Not only do these windows brighten up the area near your front door, they can also make it easier to grab things like shoes, coats, and purses without having to turn the overhead lights on.


Whether you want to enjoy the sun coming up or setting, or the landscaping in your front yard, an exterior door with sidelights adds another area in your home where you can enjoy the view. Sidelights also make it easier to identify someone coming to your door, so you can be on the lookout for packages or guests you’re expecting to arrive.

Fresh air

If you don’t want to install a screen door, a front door with fully functional sidelight windows is a great way to allow fresh air into your home. Also, because of their size, you will not have to worry about unwanted guests—like birds and critters—coming into the house. Remember that only operational sidelight windows that can open and close will provide this benefit.

Curb appeal

Sidelights can add instant curb appeal to the entryway of your home. Homeowners can choose between various glass options, custom styles, and finishes, to add a unique and modern touch to the home’s focal entrance area. Not to mention, sidelights can make the home appear more inviting from the outside.

Privacy Options

If you are concerned about privacy and people looking into your home, you can choose sidelight windows that are treated with stained or frosted glass, while still enjoying the natural light that they allow. Otherwise, there are other solutions, like sheer curtains, that can help you maintain your privacy.

Energy efficiency

Sidelights are designed with energy-efficiency in mind thanks to their insulation channels, as well as their thickness. Be sure to look into your options to find the sidelights that are most likely to have an impact on your energy costs.

How Much Do Exterior Doors With Sidelights Cost?

If you are considering a door replacement and are attracted to the idea of installing sidelights, it’s worth talking it over with your contractor. Adding one or two sidelights to your exterior door is quite affordable when considering the overall cost of the door replacement project.

A front door installation typically costs $400-$1,000 without sidelights, depending on the exterior door type and material. To install an exterior door with sidelights, a homeowner can expect to pay an average of $1,000-$2,500.

Keep in mind that the cost or the project will depend on whether you are installing custom sidelights, as well as the number and size of installed sidelights. Typically, custom sidelights cost homeowners more. Similarly, installing larger sidelights or two sidelights (compared to just one) will result in a higher cost.

Finding an Experienced Door Contractor

Most of the time, an exterior door with sidelights project requires the work of a professional contractor. If you decide to add an entryway door with sidelights to your home, an experienced contractor can help to correctly measure the parts, choose ideal materials and styles, and ensure the door is installed securely.

The pros at Modernize can connect you with trusted, local door contractors who will help you choose the best sidelights and complete the installation.