Why Does It Matter If Your House Faces North, South, East, or West?

4 min


The direction a home faces is one of the most important things to think about when buying a home or building a new one. The direction your home faces affects how much sunlight it gets, how much it costs to heat and cool, how easy it is to maintain, how energy flows, and more.

The advantages of each direction are different. But knowing the pros and cons can help homeowners make better choices.

Natural Light

Exposure to natural light is good for your health in many ways, like boosting your immune system and helping you keep healthy circadian rhythms that help you sleep and wake up at the right times.

Many people want to buy houses with a lot of natural light, which is why real estate agents like to talk up a southern exposure: In the northern hemisphere, the sun shines from the south, so windows that face south get the most light. Also, because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, houses that face east will get the most morning sun.


The direction that your home faces matters a lot

Radiant Heat

The direction a house faces is important not only for getting sunlight but also for keeping warm. For example, a house that faces south will get most of its heat from the sun, which can be both a good and a bad thing. In colder places, radiant heat from the sun can help lower heating costs in the winter. But in the summer, the heat can make cooling costs go up.

Keeping Cool

Most of the direct sunlight hits the back of homes that face north. Because of this, a house that faces north may stay cooler in the summer than one that faces south. When temperatures rise in the summer, homes that face north can save money on cooling costs in warmer places.


Home Maintenance

One bad thing about direct sun is that it can damage siding, roofing, furniture, fabrics, and floors over time. The side of your house that faces south will be most affected by sunlight, so you should plan ahead and set aside money for things like painting or re-siding. It’s also a good idea to protect the furniture in rooms that face south by putting up window film, UV-blocking curtains or shades, or sprays that repel UV light.


Snow and Ice in Winter

If your main door faces north and you live in an area where it freezes and snows in the winter, your home could have more problems in the cold. Because it doesn’t get direct sunlight, a north-facing home is more likely to get ice dams and icicles on its exterior, and its driveway and other slippery paths can be especially dangerous. The front of a house that faces south gets more direct sunlight, so ice and snow melt faster there than on the other side of the street.


Decor Choices

How much light your rooms get might affect the colors and fabrics you choose when decorating. For example, design experts may tell you to stay away from red and orange colors in rooms that face west and get most of their sunlight after 2 p.m.

Fans of bold or dark colors might want to keep them in rooms that face south, where there is enough light all day to make them look good. And bedrooms that face east should probably have strong or sun-blocking window treatments so that people won’t be woken up unnecessarily by the early light of dawn.


Outdoor Spaces

Think about how the way your home faces will affect your landscaping, how you use your outdoor spaces, and how comfortable they are. Remember that the amount of sunlight your yard gets is based on which way it faces. A yard that faces south will get sun all day, so plants and people who like the sun will do well there. A swimming pool might also work well in a yard that faces south.

If you’d rather rest, relax, and play where it’s a little cooler, a north-facing yard might be the perfect place for a patio, deck, or grill. People who don’t get to enjoy their yard until after school or work may like a western exposure, which lets sunshine on your pool and deck later in the day. No matter how your yard is set up, if you want a landscape that does well, make sure you choose plants that do well in the light conditions.



If you live near a beautiful view, like a lake, beach, mountains, or a city skyline, the direction your house faces is very important. You’ll want to make the most of the site’s beauty by putting your house in the right place in relation to the view and placing windows and outdoor spaces to take advantage of the beauty around you.


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