HOW to Add a Window Into a Door and WHY You Should Do It!

343K Views
It's a dreary walk up the narrow stairs staring at a plain metal door.
I brushed a copper red tone over the manufacturer's standard white.
That was better.

I added intriguing art from my studio on the walls.

But a stairwell is NOT a lingering space.
Something still was missing.
I wanted to see light at the end of the tunnel.

I had seen expensive gorgeous doors with frosted or stained glass insets.
I wanted one, but they seemed "too much" in several ways.

Our home is a personal one, highly creative, country understated.
I would need to wait until I found the answer.

Years later I was at an antique shop, admiring stained-glass panels that had been ripped out of old buildings.
The shopkeeper commented about how they could be used.
"They look so lovely propped against a window!" she suggested.
"Or inset into a door," I said.

I was holding an authentic leaded glass piece, 14" square.
Wheels spinning, happily I turned it to its side, like a diamond.
I bought it for a bargain price.
And took it home.

Here's what we did after that:

Time: 2 DaysCost: $120Difficulty: Medium
  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
Take the door off hinges.
Position the window where you want it to go.
Measure to confirm distances.
I chose to go even top to side = peak-a-boo height for 5'10".
  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
Trace the window exactly.
Drill the CORNERS.
  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
Cut Carefully! One side at a time.
Since this is a metal door, sparks FLY!
I admit I was too timid to do this myself, so I offered to take the pictures.
  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
Flip it to the BACK SIDE.
As the photographer/observer, I came up with the ingenious idea of cutting the backside one-half inch NARROWER than the front, all around, so that the window had some support for frame.
"But then the two sides would be different!"
So what!
Draw cut lines. Cut metal on back.
  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
Trim the foam that is between the metal using a kitchen knife.
Pop it all out!
  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
Re-install door in place and grin.
  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
Measure distance you need to fill cut-out.
Window measure one inch thick. Door is two inches.
Need two one-half inch frames top and bottom.
I made these from 1/2 inch x 3/4 inch pine.

I wanted the step down effect from the inside, which is why I wanted it 1/4 inch shorter than the original window frame.

Hand-cut on miter box with backsaw.

  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
Glue new frames to window frame on BOTH sides.
  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
For a professional look, fill corners with Plastic Wood or wood filler.
Sand for smooth finish.
Since I wanted the new to blend into old, I made sure to round edges with the sander too.
  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
Stain wood.
Oak was too yellow to match old finish.
So I blended old mahogany I had laying around.
  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
I let it all dry overnight.
Then carefully hammer window frame in place (cushion with hubby's cotton jacket). Tight fit -- perfect!
After window in place, measure and cut trim moulding to fit.
I used one inch oak.
I used construction adhesive to adhere metal to wood.
Tape until dry
Then stain as before.


  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
For the back side of the door, we overlapped the metal edge with the one-inch oak trim.

This is the pretty treat you get now when you reach the top of the stairs.

I posted about a spotlight I re-invented to set off this door from the hall.
It was quite important that it sparkle most when you reach the top...
and it does.



  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it
It all came together to look as though it was always meant to be.
  • how to add a window into a door and why you should do it

Suggested materials for this project:

View All Materials
Prices updated as of June 13, 2018 11:47 PM - More infoHometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.