That skinny little sliver of glass beside your door can represent a big decor headache.

How to Decorate Narrow Windows by a Door

by Benna Crawford

Narrow windows next to a door give you both a lighting bonus and a design challenge. Full curtains could be too much; shades are definitely over the top; nothing at all leaves you in a fishbowl -- and one more fussy decoration to clean and take care of is not going on your too-full to-do list. Balance your requirements for light, privacy and stylish low-maintenance decor when selecting a window covering. You do need something on those windows beside the persistent pattern of small fingerprints on the glass.

1. Twin Windows

When you have a matched set of narrow windows on either side of a door, match the decor to create a sense of order in your entry foyer. Pairing identical rosewood pedestals or tables to hold flowing ferns or topiary trees in matching porcelain planters presents a formal, attractive view indoors and out. If privacy is an issue, opt for slender curtain rods at the top and bottom of each frame, and gathered curtains to completely cover the windows. Filmy, translucent material lets in some filtered light. Densely woven brocade or heavy silk cuts any glare and dims the wattage in the entrance.

2. Decorative Distraction

Attach grilles or open carved screens over windows next to the door so the view into the house is partly obstructed and daylight falls in a pretty pattern across the entryway floor. For a shabby chic-style home, whitewashed inexpensive cross-hatch fencing is simple to cut to fit and install. If your decor tends more toward the exotic, search for carved wood Asian-style screens that can be trimmed and attached to the window frames or placed in front of them as freestanding screens. For easy-to-clean windows that add gleams of color and a more formal elegance to an entry, replace clear glass with leaded stained glass panels. A glassblower will work with you to reproduce a family crest, geometric pattern or favorite design from nature. A glazier can professionally install the glass so it stays put and doesn't leak, even when bumped repeatedly by your kamikaze toddler.

3. Veil of Concealment

Your windowed door and two side windows are absolutely clear, see-through glass and neighbors and passersby have an unrestricted view into your life. But the glass lets essential light into your shadowy entryway, so curtains are not an option. Window film is your answer. The film is removable; if you are renting, you just peel it off when you're ready to move on. It's translucent but not transparent, so the most your nosy neighbors will discern are blurry shadows moving across the light. The film comes in basket-weave, lacy, pebbled, fleur-de-lis, geometric and other patterns in varying degrees of opacity so you can determine the balance of light and privacy.

4. Outside Ornament

Boost your home's curb appeal by highlighting the matching windows that flank your front door. A pair of identical faux-aged stone urns set in front of the windows on the stoop hold trimmed evergreen bushes for year-round, no-fuss ornamentation. Change the decor with the seasons by stacking a few pumpkins in front of each window in autumn; placing a tall, outdoor, holiday plug-in candle before each window in winter; securing a string of snapping fabric pennants from window top to bottom in blustery spring; and hanging baskets of drooping ferns or flowering vines in front of the windows in summer.

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