Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What to Do with Those Front Door Sidelights

I had a request to do a post about adding some privacy to the sidelights of your front door. Often we want a bit of privacy.  There are basically three options that I know of. 

First, is my new favorite.  There are some wonderful window films available that are very stylish, easy to put up and offer from minimal distortion to total privacy.  You can buy this film at places like Home Depot, but your choices are pretty limited.  I found a site online that I just LOVE.  You can buy it by the foot and just get what you need.  It's Decorative Films.  They have everything ranging from frosted glass, to cut glass, stained glass and even mirrored film. 

I am in love with their SimGlass line.  You can get the expensive feel of these custom glasses, for a fraction of the price. Check out this gorgeous mottled glass film:

Or this geometric pattern:

The Simglass is designed to offer a distorted view so that you have a bit of transperency to see out and get maximum light in.

If you prefer more privacy, I love the Cut Glass line as well:

Or just traditional frosted in a fun pattern:

Anyway, if you can't find one you like at this site, you'd probably better try another method.  I'm going to give this film a try as soon as I can decide on one!

Second: If you don't want to spend much money on window vinyl, you can try frosting the windows yourself with Frosted Glass Spray found at most craft stores.

These are quite easy to use.  Tape off a design and the areas around the window that you don't want sprayed and do multiple light coats.  You can really have fun with the designs by cutting paper or painters tape into patterns:

(Centsational Girl)

I've used this method before and it was very easy to do.  The downside of this is wear and tear.  My windows leaked air so in winter it literally melted off the design on the edges.  Once that happened, visiting kids saw that the design could come off and they started scratching at it, making it look absolutely horrid. Once I gave up on it, all I had to do was take a razor blade and scrape it off.  It probably only took 5 minutes to take it off. If the kids couldn't reach it and my window didn't leak, I'd definitely do it again.

Third: Your last option for a covering is either blinds or curtains.  This is very traditional and easy to do.  While blinds or shutters will be costly to order custom sized, curtains can be very simple to sew and take very little yardage.  My suggestion would be to take the time to find some sheer fabric that is very unique and fun instead of the granny-ish lace sheers.  It's going to take so little yardage that you can look at the more expensive sheers out there.  Try online fabric stores like Here are some favorites that would make some fun curtains, yet still let in some light:

60" Sheer Lace Platinum Ivory  Silk 1'' Check Sheers White Shrimp110'' Sheer Voile Royal Squares Blanco/White110'' Sheer Voile Royal Stripes Blanco/WhiteRobert Allen Autumn Burnt OrangeHeritage Window Pane Sheer White

Just remember, it doesn't HAVE to be a white sheer.  You can take the opportunity to dress you entry up with a colored or embroidered sheer. If you don't like the sheer selection at your home decor store, try looking in the dress fabrics and wedding sections for their sheers.  Alot of the ethnic fabrics have sheers that would make gorgeous curtains (head down to Little India in your nearest big city!)  Look at CostPlus, Pier1 and other stores like that in their ready-made curtain sections. If you find a fabric you like, buy one panel and cut in down for your sidelight curtains.

You know, it was really frustrating looking for pictures of sidelight curtains that WEREN'T white!  Arghh. Why aren't more people breaking the mold and doing something different?  When you keep them white, you often end up with a big wall of white.  Your door and trim already take up so much visual space, why not break up and accentuate the entry with some color and pattern?  I'm ready to lead the revolution, people!  Join me!  Send me pictures of what you've done to your front door and sidelights that is unique and out of the ordinary! I was going to go the vinyl route, now I'm not sure!

This isn't for everyone, but you have to give them props for being unique. This creative preson used color slides to make a panel for the window.  It's kind of a contemporary version of stained glass:

What ideas do you have?


  1. I saw a recent blog post where the writer used clear contact paper and made her own template to trace off on the back paper. She then cut all the designs out and pressed the contact paper to the window glass. Hers was a very popular design that you see in fabrics, hand painted rugs and wallpapers now. It look great. The contact paper is not clear when on the window, it looks frosted.

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