Sidelight Window Treatments
On Front Door
Sidelights are the small windows on one or both sides of a door. You’ll usually see these at the front door of a home where they add a decorative flair to the front entrance. But in addition to looking great, they’re also functional in that they let “light” (sunlight) shine through the “side” of the door and light up the entry to a home.
But these nifty architectural splendors also pose a security problem because they provide a way for unwanted strangers to easily look into your home! Think about how easy it would be for a burglar to walk up to your front door, look right in and see the layout of your home! So, although these little side windows may be attractive, it’s important that they have some type of window covering on each sidelight to provide for adequate security and privacy.
These type of windows present several challenges. First of all, they’re narrow. For homes in the Toledo Ohio area, the average sidelight measures 8 inches wide by 68 inches long, but they can be as narrow as 6 inches. So you’ll find that some window treatments will not fit on a sidelight simply just can’t be made that narrow.
Second, many window treatments that can be made to such a narrow width won’t be able to fully function. So even though you may be able to get the treatment you want, they won’t be able to open and close. (Better to consider a different option!)
Third, the frame around these side windows is usually very narrow, so most window treatments will need to be installed as an outside mount (in other words, outside of the window frame). This will cause them to stick out…noticeably. Sometimes this look works fine; and sometimes it’s best to keep looking for another option.
And forth, some window treatments just aren’t made to cover such a long and narrow window so even if they can be made to this width and length, they just look awkward and out of place. Forcing a certain “look” just usually doesn’t work and is a waste of money.
Things To Consider Before Covering Your Sidelight Windows
Even with these challenges, there are still a number of great choices available that will give you privacy and security, while still adding to the look of your home.
One of the most important factors to consider is that it’s best if the window treatment maintains the overall look and theme of the rest of your home. So consider is the decor inside of your home (or at least the areas immediately adjacent to the side windows). Next, it’s important to have a consistent look all across the front of your home when seen from the outside. So, think about the rooms that have windows on the front side of your home. Think about the type of window treatments you have on those windows.
You also may want to consider the insulation that the window treatment can provide. Some window coverings provide better insulation than others. But due to the other constraints and variables, this should probably be the final and least important consideration.
Ideas For Sidelight Blinds
Pros Aluminum “minis” are the most cost-effective option. They’re excellent for privacy and light control. Also, there are many color options available so easy to color-match the surrounding areas.
Cons: They not match the decor of the home and provide a consistent view from the outside. For example, if you have wood blinds throughout your home, aluminum blinds may clash with the wood.
Cellular Shades (Honeycomb Shades)
Pros: These are an affordable option. They can be great for privacy as well as light control (depending upon the type of fabric). You’ll have many color options to choose from. And because Cellular Shades are one of the most common window treatments for homes in the Toledo area, there’s a great chance they’ll easily match your interior decor.
2-inch Wood Blinds
Pros: Generally speaking, 2-inch wood blinds are affordable. They are in about the same price range as Cellular Shades. You’ll find a good selection of color choices
Cons: Must be installed as an outside mount so they will protrude into the room. Also, be aware of the fact that wood can warp due to moisture. Chances are there’s probably not enough moisture next to the front door to create this problem but it can be a factor over time.
Also, wood blinds will need to be secured at the bottom with “hold-down” brackets.
Sheer fabric curtains “scrunched” together with curtain rods on the top and bottom are a popular and look great.
Pros: Curtains are affordable, depending, of course, upon the fabric material and hardware selected. There are many different colors and designs available, making them easy to match your existing decor.
Cons: Sheer curtains generally offer very little privacy. One solution is to select a fabric that’s rather thick and opaque. Also, see if there’s enough room on the curtain rod to gather more material to create even more thickness.
Any type of sheers provides very little insulation value. Again, because of the nature of the material, curtains usually aren’t thick enough to provide much protection against the elements outside.
What’s “Trendy” and New
1-inch Wood Blinds
You don’t see these very often because very few companies make them. We’ve installed 1 inch wood blinds in a few offices and they offer a very classy, “custom design” look. If you’re looking for a “clean”, sharp, distinctive look, a 1-inch wood blind is an excellent choice.
Cons: These are generally more expensive than 2 inch blinds. Also, they’re hard to find since very few companies manufacture them. Related to that, you may be limited in color selection.
Shutters are also one of the most popular latest trends.
Pros: They look great and can be made to match your wood finish.
Cons: Cost. Shutters are probably the most expensive option available. They need to be installed as an outside mount. (Again, not necessarily a negative, just something to be aware of ahead of time.)
Shutters will take longer to be installed due to the manufacturing and shipping factors. (If you’re buying shutters for other areas of your home, order these at the same time. This will reduce the time delay and make installation easier.
Some Final Thoughts To Consider
Keep in mind that any window covering that has slats (wood blinds) or louvers (shutters) will allow you to open and look through them even when they’re closed. Curtains or cellular shades, on the other hand, are an “all or nothing” option as far as looking through to the outside world is concerned.
So there you have some things to consider and some of the more common options in covering sidelight windows. Since these windows are next to your front entry door, they are a focal point to your home and should be given a lot of consideration. So now that you have some ideas to work with, go ahead and, “cover those windows”!
What are your favorite options for sidelight window treatments?
We install quite a few custom window coverings on sidelight windows for homes in the Toledo area, including Sylvania, Maumee and Perrysburg. If you would like more information, contact Bellagio Window Fashions at (419) 381-2700.
Photo Credit, Gavin Paisley