TRANSOM WINDOWS | An Architect Explains

Transom windows are the narrow windows located just above doors and serve to let in more light into a home. In architecture, a transom is a transverse horizontal structural beam or bar or a crosspiece separating a door from a window above it. Transom windows may be fixed or operable like picture windows and can be of any shape. 

Transom windows above doors
Transom windows are the narrow windows located just above doors and serve to let in more light into a home.

Transom windows have both advantages and disadvantages which make them suitable only in some places. As an Architect, I have described Transom windows under the following headings so that you can decide whether it is suited for your requirement and your space:

Where are Transom windows best suited?
What are the advantages of Transom windows?
What are the disadvantages of Transom windows?


Transom windows are best suited in spaces with less natural light.  They admit natural sunlight  and light up the room. Transom windows are often used above garage doors to bring natural light into the dingy garage.



Natural Sunlight: Transom windows provide homes with natural sunlight and have been doing so before electricity ever existed.

Environmentally friendly: as they help to conserve electricity (lights can be kept off more often) and also offer attractive and natural lighting.

Privacy: Due to the height of the windows, even with clear panes, people on the road cannot see anything inside the home.

Accent Windows: Transom windows can add aesthetically pleasing touches to the interior of residences and complement double-hung sash or casement windows as well.

transom windows provide additional light
Transom windows provide additional natural light to homes



Transom windows have the same disadvantages as picture windows.

Heat gain: This can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the way the windows are manufactured. If they don’t contain coatings to reduce solar heat gain, the room may feel hot and stuffy because there is no exit for the hot air.
No ventilation: Because transom windows are normally fixed- they don’t open and close – they don’t offer any natural ventilation.

Cleaning: The exterior of the window can be cleaned only from the outside.

Unique shape often costs more: than a comparably sized rectangular picture window.

Transom windows enlarge the openings
Transom windows enlarge an opening and increase the view

Transom windows are fixed windows that allow natural light into a home. In that sense, they are similar to skylight windows.

For more information on other types of Windows, go to:

For a concise Vastu guide on doors and windows, please refer to my blog on House construction in India

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