Okay, so you’re lucky enough to have a home office with a window in it.
But what’s the best place for your home office desk in relation to your window or windows?
Should it be facing a window, or away from it?
Let’s look at what options are available to you.
Where To Place Your Desk
Desk facing the window
This is the desk arrangement that results in the lowest chance of having to deal with the sun reflecting off your screen while you’re trying to work.
But there will still come a point when the sun shines directly through your window.
So while this home office layout might seem like a clear winner it’s almost as problematic as any other one.
The upside here is that you’ll still be able to see your screen and video calls won’t be an issue.
The downside here is that you could have bright sun blinding you for several hours per day.
Desk perpendicular to the window
This layout will mean that your desk (and you) are aligned at a 90-degree angle to the window, so either the left or right-hand side of your body will be parallel to the window.
The upside to this is that your desk will get diffuse natural light for most of your working day.
The downside is that you will have sunlight shining directly onto the left or right-hand side of your face and onto your screen(s) at least once per day. This can become incredibly uncomfortable.
Note: This is how I have my desk set up but I’ve taken steps to make sure that I get all the benefit of natural light for my home office..but minus the glare.
I share that a little later.
Desk facing away from the window
In this setup, you’ll end up with sunlight/glare on your computer screen for most of the day.
But at some point, the sun is going to be directly behind you, which means you won’t be able to see what’s on your screen.
And anyone on a video call with you is barely going to be able to see you.
So the advantages here are that your desk and overall workspace will get lots of natural light.
The downside is that you’ll find it impossible to work for a few hours each day, destroying your productivity.
Light Glare Solutions
There’s a very good chance you’ll have to deal with at least some glare from the sun during the working day in your home office no matter where your desk is situated.
So it’s a good idea to plan around this and have a solution in place for those extremely sunny days.
And don’t forget the sun shines during those winter months too, so this isn’t just a summer problem.
Here are a few ideas for how you can deal with the issue of too much light reaching your desk when working from home.
Both of these options are available in a wide range of colours so you’ll find one that suits your room.
If all else fails go with a neutral color like cream because it tends to blend in with most color schemes.
Some people go all out and get motorized blinds, but there’s really no need to go that far unless you simply want to spend money.
Curtains are a better solution if you have very large windows – blinds can cost an awful lot more than you might expect.
Just bear in mind that the price for curtains rarely includes the cost of a curtain pole. So, you’ll need to budget for that but also the cost of having somebody put up a curtain pole for you.
Also, blackout curtains mean blocking all sunlight from getting into the room, which can leave you sitting in the dark, which could result in you turning on an indoor light, or squinting at the screen.
These are plastic sheets that you can temporarily attach to your windows to both block out sunlight and provide you with additional privacy.
Oh, and these sheets are not glued to your glass – they stay in place using static.
This means you can put remove them whenever you want to and without leaving any stains or glue residue on your glass.
Things You May Want To Consider
Let’s look at the overall factors that may get between you and doing a solid day’s work because your desk is set up wrong and you can’t see anything because of the glare from the sun.
Sunrise and sunset
The sun rises in the East and sets in the West like clockwork. If that ever changes you’ll have bigger things to worry about than the best place to put your desk in relation to a window.
Why this matters for you though is because you need to work out what direction your window faces – the compass app on your phone should do the trick. Or you could just learn how to read a regular compass because it’s like a life skill and stuff.
Now, once you know what direction your office window faces, you can work out at what point during the day is your office going to receive the most natural light.
This will pretty much dictate your desk placement in relation to the window, but also any additional glare-reducing steps you might need to take i.e. you might actually be able to position your desk facing away from the window.
The general layout of your room could be the deciding factor on desk placement for your home office, regardless of where you might want to put your desk.
Here are a few other things to think about.
- Is there a radiator near the window, and if so is that going to make it too hot to work there?
- Will you have to move furniture around to accommodate having your desk beside a window?
- Is this a shared space i.e. do family members also use it?
- Will moving the desk cause problems with others being able to access or use this room?
You do want natural light coming into the room.
What you don’t want is that light to create glare on your screen or prevent you from even being able to see the screen because it’s shining directly into your eyes.
This is stating the obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people get all their Feng Shui stuff aligned and then realize the sun is blinding them when they’re sitting at their desk.
One or more of the solutions I mentioned above will be enough to deal with any glare problems you encounter.
You might have found the perfect location for your desk…but does the space in the room have power outlets you can reach, or enough space to actually work in?
There’s very little point in having a desk beside a window if the space is too cramped to work in because of your desk size.
Also, you need to be sure you’re not causing an obstruction for anyone entering or leaving the room.
Lastly, take into account the level of privacy you need.
For example, do you work on sensitive information that you don’t want people to be able to see through a window?
Or if you have to take a lot of video calls or meetings, you don’t really want people walking by your window to be able to see what you’re doing. Equally, your clients or colleagues might not want to see people standing outside your window staring in.
Although it isn’t nearly as popular as it used to be it’s worth thinking about…just incase. Alas, in Feng Shui your desk should place a desk in front of a window in your home office, or any office.
This has something to do with blocking the support your business or career would get from the exterior energy flowing in through the window.
Don’t quote me. I’m not an expert.
My Desk Layout
I am lucky enough to have a small room in my home that acts as my home office. My desk is at a right (90-degree) angle to the window.
The window itself is south-facing, so I tend to have the strongest glare from the sun at
I initially used a blackout blind to get around the problem of intense sunlight during the summer, but I found the room was too dark and felt just a tiny bit claustrophobic.
So I began using the curtains instead of the blackout blind which worked pretty well, except that they block any kind of breeze coming into the room – the kind of thing you really miss on a hot summer’s day.
In the end, I used a hybrid approach to get around the problem. The largest pane of glass in that window has a temporary privacy/frosting sheet on it. This blocks the worst of the glare during the year.
But when that’s not enough I just pull the curtain across the smaller pane of glass if I find the sun is hurting my eyes.
That gives me the ideal balance of diffuse natural sunlight but without any of the glare of direct sunlight.
P.S. You might even be wondering if a window is even worth all the hassle in the first place? But there are lots of reasons why a home office does actually need a window. You can live without it but it’s not how I like to work.