Offering extra natural light and design interest, transom windows are an easy way to make a big impact.

It’s time to talk transom windows. What are they and why should you consider adding them to your home? We’ll also discuss different types of transom windows and how you can use them intentionally to further the style of your space.

What is a Transom Window?

A transom window is a section of fixed glass installed above a door or window. Transom windows get their name simply from their placement above the transom, a horizontal beam that separates the top of a door or window from the rest of the wall. From a design standpoint, transom windows bring extra natural light and visual interest to a space. With their placement above doors or windows, transoms offer additional height and naturally draw your eye upwards. This creates a grandiose effect that can brighten rooms and entryways across all areas of a home.

Front Door Transoms for Brighter Entryways

One of the most popular places to find transom windows is above a front door. Entryways set the tone for the rest of a home and are essential to creating welcoming spaces. Natural light can go a long way in making your entry feel warm and inviting. In addition to the natural light they offer, transom windows help enhance curb appeal.

Transom windows above a front door are commonly paired with sidelights, tall and narrow fixed windows on the sides of the door. Working together as cohesive parts of a front door, a transom window and sidelights frame the entryway and make it larger. If privacy is a concern, consider a solid front entry door with no glass elements and a transom window above. Obscure glass is another option if you wish for more natural light in your entryway while maintaining privacy.

Window Transoms Heighten Your Design

While transom windows are especially common above front doors, they don’t need to be limited to entryways only. With all the benefits transom windows offer, consider placing transoms above windows as well. Window transoms extend the height of an opening, elevating the visual weight of your space. It begs the question though: why not just select a larger window in the first place instead of adding a transom above a smaller window? Many homeowners prefer to add a transom when the top portion of the window opening is out of reach. Window transoms don’t open and close, so this allows natural light in from higher parts of the wall. This solution leaves space lower on the wall for windows that do open and close.

Extending Patio Doors and French Doors with Transoms

Transoms also pair well with patio doors as much as they do front doors and windows. Sometimes it is more affordable to leverage the natural light that a transom window adds rather than pay the price for a taller patio door. Patio doors with transoms help connect indoor and outdoor living by extending the glass of a standard size door opening. Consider French doors with sidelights and a transom to fully frame an opening and create a wall of glass.

Transom Styles to Further Your Aesthetic

Once you decide where you want to place transom windows, think about the style you want them to evoke. The features and options of a transom window, such as shape, glass, grilles and color, can be used to personalize your look and further the specific design of your home.

Rectangular Versus Arched Transom Windows

Transom windows can be designed to fit any style. The shape of the transom plays a significant part in accentuating a certain style. With rounded tops, elliptical or arched transom windows bring graceful curves and ornate details that further the traditional aesthetic. Add to your contemporary style with the clean lines of a rectangular transom. For instance, in this front door before and after project, you can see how the original arched transom window and the rectangular replacement exude entirely different styles.