West Facing House – Pros and Cons

March 26, 2024

Key takeaways:

  • West-facing homes offer the benefit of enjoying afternoon and evening sunlight, which can enhance natural light during late hours and provide warmth in cooler climates.
  • Potential drawbacks of a west-facing orientation include excessive heat gain in the afternoons, leading to increased cooling costs, along with the challenges of glare and fading interiors.
  • Effective design strategies such as shading, window placement, and landscaping can mitigate the downsides, making a west-facing home comfortable and energy-efficient.

As an aspiring homeowner or property seeker or enthusiast, you’ve likely come across the term “west facing house” – So, what exactly are the benefits and disadvantages of the direction a house is facing.

Orientation or the direction a property faces plays a pivotal role in its design, affecting everything from natural light to heating and cooling requirements.

Among these, west-facing homes stand out with unique attributes and considerations.

In this guide, we’ll explore west-facing houses, helping you make an informed decision about whether this orientation aligns with your lifestyle and preferences.

Suggested Reading: Still not sure what kind of orientation would suit you best? Read Soho’s guide on which is the best direction for my house to face?

The Appeal of a West-Facing Home

West-facing properties are distinguished by their ability to harness afternoon sun, offering benefits such as enhanced natural light during late hours, warmth in cooler climates, and enjoyable backyard settings in the evening.

This orientation suits those who value daylight during the latter part of the day and wish to maximise outdoor living experiences.

If you’re considering the best direction for my house, understanding the unique advantages of west-facing homes is crucial.

Common Questions and Concerns

When it comes to west-facing houses, homebuyers and homeowners often have several questions and concerns:

“Will I get enough natural light?”

“How will the afternoon sun affect my home’s temperature?”


“Can I mitigate the potential drawbacks?”

These are valid inquiries, and we’ll address them in depth throughout this guide.

Understanding Orientation and Its Impact

Before getting into the specifics of west-facing homes, let’s explain the concept of orientation and how it influences a property’s exposure to sunlight, temperature, and overall livability.

The orientation of a home refers to the direction it faces, and this plays a crucial role in determining the amount of natural light, heat gain, and ventilation it receives throughout the day.

According to the Australian Government’s Your Home guide, the ideal orientation for most Australian climates is north-facing, as it allows for optimal solar access and temperature regulation.

However, depending on your location and climate, other orientations like west-facing can also be suitable, albeit with their own set of considerations. For a deeper dive into making the best choice for your home, see how to read a floor plan, which can provide additional insights into the impact of orientation on your living spaces.

The Advantages of a West-Facing Home

While west-facing homes may not be the conventional choice, they offer several benefits that might appeal to certain homeowners:

  1. Afternoon and evening sunlight: If you work during the day or enjoy spending evenings at home, a west-facing property can provide ample natural light and warmth during the latter part of the day, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.
  2. Passive heating in cooler climates: In areas with cooler winters, the afternoon sun can help warm up your living spaces, potentially reducing your heating costs.
  3. Backyard enjoyment: With the backyard facing west, you can soak up the afternoon sun and make the most of your outdoor living areas during the warmer months.

The Potential Drawbacks of a West-Facing Home

While west-facing homes offer their fair share of advantages, it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks as well:

  1. Excessive heat gain: During the hottest part of the day, west-facing homes can experience significant heat gain, leading to increased cooling costs and discomfort, especially in warmer climates. Without proper shading or insulation, this can make your living spaces uncomfortably warm.
  2. Glare and fading: The intense afternoon sun can cause glare issues, making it challenging to enjoy your living areas or work comfortably. Additionally, prolonged sun exposure can lead to fading of furniture, carpets, and curtains over time.
  3. Limited morning sunlight: If you’re an early riser or prefer natural light in the morning, a west-facing home may not be the ideal choice, as the front of the house will receive minimal direct sunlight during the early hours.

Maximising Benefits While Addressing Drawbacks

Design strategies can help mitigate the downsides of west-facing homes. Solutions like:

  • Effective shading
  • Thoughtful window placement
  • Strategic landscaping

These can balance temperature and light, enhancing livability. Incorporating materials with high thermal mass and optimizing insulation further aligns living spaces with environmental and personal comfort needs.

For those embarking on this journey, exploring tips for building a home can offer valuable guidance on creating a west-facing residence that truly feels like home.

By considering these design strategies and working closely with professionals, you can create a comfortable and energy-efficient west-facing home that suits your lifestyle and preferences.

Making the Right Choice for Your Dream Home

North Facing– Living areas and main windows face north.
– Receives most sunlight in winter.
– Eaves can shade windows in summer.
– Maximizes natural light and warmth in winter. – Reduces reliance on heating.
– Brighter living spaces.
– Can cause overheating in summer (especially in warm climates).
– May require additional shading strategies.
– Potential privacy concerns with north-facing windows.
East Facing– Morning sun on living areas and outdoor spaces.
– Afternoon shade.
– Pleasant morning light in living areas.
– Cooler afternoons for outdoor entertaining.
– Limited sunlight in winter months. – Less overall natural light compared to north facing.
– Potential for unwanted afternoon sun in some rooms.
South Facing– Limited direct sunlight. – Cooler living spaces in summer.– More desirable in hot, tropical climates.
– Provides natural shade for outdoor areas.
– Less natural light and warmth in winter.
– May require additional heating in cooler climates.
West Facing– Afternoon sun on living areas and outdoor spaces.
– Strong afternoon heat gain.
– Potential for beautiful sunsets.
– Warmer evenings outdoors (especially in cooler climates).
– Excessive heat gain in summer. – Can be uncomfortable in the afternoon.
– Limited natural light in mornings.

Whether a west-facing home aligns with your lifestyle depends on personal preferences, climate considerations, and how you plan to use your living space.

By weighing the orientation’s benefits against its challenges, prospective homeowners can make informed decisions, ensuring their dream home provides the desired living environment.

Understanding each orientation’s impact, from north-facing to east-facing and south-facing alternatives, allows for a comprehensive approach to selecting or designing a home that truly fits one’s needs.

In summary, west-facing homes offer a blend of advantages and considerations that are crucial for potential homeowners to understand.

By leveraging design strategies to enhance comfort and efficiency, one can enjoy the unique benefits of living in a west-facing house, making it a cherished space for years to come.

Opinions about West facing house

User comments on Reddit highlight a range of perspectives on west-facing houses:

The general advice leans towards minimising west (and east) facing orientations for homes. A comment mentions the ideal of having living areas face north to capture the winter sun while using eaves for protection from the summer sun, specifically noting to “minimise west and east but especially west.”

Afternoon Sun Challenge:

A user, RedDragonOz, points out that west-facing homes receive a blast of afternoon sun, which can significantly heat up those areas.

This characteristic suggests that while such orientation can offer light, it may also lead to discomfort during the hotter parts of the day.

Views on Temperature and Light:

Another perspective provided by Kitchen-Potential243 offers a unique take, suggesting that west-facing homes can be advantageous for those who appreciate sunsets and have good air-conditioning, highlighting the beauty of the evening sky as a plus.

This user also mentions the enjoyment of morning sun on the east side, especially when paired with a deck for breakfast, providing a cooler environment in the afternoon.

Consideration for Gardeners:

From a gardening standpoint, carolethechiropodist advises that a north-facing garden is preferable in Australia for maximum sun exposure.

However, for west-facing areas, the suggestion includes growing trees and using shade cloth to mitigate the intense sun, indicating that while west orientation is not ideal, there are ways to adapt and make the most of it.

These comments reflect a range of views on west-facing homes, from the challenges of managing heat and light to finding unique advantages in such orientations, especially when considering personal preferences and lifestyle adjustments.

FAQ Section on West Facing House

Is house facing west good or bad?

West-facing properties are considered beneficial for individuals in business, politics, teaching, or religious leadership, offering them more energy. They are also seen as advantageous for young people, promoting wealth gain and prosperity.

What are the benefits of facing west?

Homes facing west enjoy significant natural light in the afternoon and evening, reducing the need for artificial lighting and potentially lowering energy costs. This abundance of light creates a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Which facing house is best?

Ideally, the main entrance of a house should face northeast, north, east, or west, as these directions are deemed fortunate. It’s recommended to avoid entrances in the south, southwest, northwest, or southeast directions.

Which direction is good for west facing house?

For west-facing properties, Vastu Shastra suggests placing the main gate in the north-west or west direction. It’s advised to avoid the south-west direction for the entrance.

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