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the best way to position your desk…



We're currently in the process of designing the new Oh Joy studio, so we've been playing around with desk set-ups to see what feels best and optimizes our work flow and ability to see and interact with each other. You might not have thought much about how you position your desk, but how you position it within the context to the rest of the room tells a bit about your personality and also helps to cater towards the type of work style you want to have. So whether you're setting up a new home office or thinking about switching the set-up at work, here are three ways to position your desk and the pros and cons of each…

the best way to position your desk

the best way to position your desk

1. The Loner. This is the most common position for a desk—facing a wall. It works in small spaces if it's just you working at home, in large spaces with a bunch of employees, and it's honestly the most practical because it allows computer and electrical cords to be closest to the wall outlets while providing a big area right in front of you to hang art and inspiration. The downside of this set-up is that your back is likely facing the door and those who might enter behind you (not very Feng Shui, if you are into that). But it is conducive to focusing, getting work done, and not opening yourself up to too much conversation with others.

Items shown: Vintage lamp, Lorena Canals rug, Teil Duncan girl print with Framebridge frame, Michelle Armas abstract print, Target desk, Urban Outfitters small gold planter, vintage deer, Anthropologie mug, Esselle coaster, Target white planter, Target end table, Sunbeam Vintage chair.

the best way to position your desk

2. The Executive. This position—with your back against the wall and fully facing anyone who approaches—allows you to see everything and makes you seem more welcoming to co-workers. I call this The Executive because you always see bosses (who have fancy offices with glass windows on the 50th floor buildings) in movies with their desks like this. My one complaint with this positioning is that the wall outlets are likely behind you and therefore cords from your computer or lamps have to trail on the ground to your side in order to be plugged in. The benefit is that you always seem available. And the downside is that you always seem available ;).

Items shown: Target bookshelf, Senegal woven basket, eSale Rugs pink rug, Target desk, Target canister, The Container Store pink box, Anthropologie mug, Modernica chair, vintage pillow, Target lamp (past season), Kristi Kohut striped print, Eric Trine plant stand, Modernica Props flamingo.

the best way to position your desk

the best way to position your desk

3. The Social Butterfly. This desk position is a mix between the first two. It's practical by having part of the desk up against the wall so cords can connect while hidden, and you still have an area of the wall you can see easily for inspiration.The one downside is that sitting next to a wall can feel claustrophobic for some, while some like the comfort of it. Also, the sideways desk allows for another seat to be easily stationed or pulled up for interactive conversation and meetings. 

Items shown: Eric Trine plant stand, Urban Outfitters gold planter, Lorena Canals rug, Modernica green chair, Target desk, Urban Outfitters small gold planter, round containers, Oh Happy Day alphabet stickers, Anthropologie mug, vintage alligator, J. Otto Seibold house print, Tuesday Mourning face print, Kindah Khalidy abstract print, Hiroyuki Izutsu large print, all frames by Framebridge, Oh Joy x Cloth & Co. arm chair, splatter backpack (DIY).

So, what do you guys think? Which desk position to do lean towards?

{Photos by Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, styling assistance by Jess Hong} 


  1. I’ve definitely always been one to put my desk up against the wall! I love to situate mine under a window for lots of natural light and somewhere to look out to when I’m pondering and have my thinking cap on 🙂
    xo, Sofia

  2. we just moved and i’m struggling to find a good spot for my desk & ‘office’. we downsized considerably and i currently have mine up against the wall but i’m loving the ‘social butterfly’ desk arrangement … gotta see if it’ll fit!

  3. I love the color of your walls! My husband and I are decorating our daughter’s new room. Can you tell me the brand and name of the paint you used in this shoot? (I especially love the salmon!)

  4. I definitely need the wall! It’s always covered with a million and one sticky notes with ideas and to do lists. I wouldn’t know what to do without it! :o)
    Can’t wait to see the new Oh Joy studio by the way!

  5. These are styled so well!
    Did you guys spray or dip the legs on the social butterfly desk to get the gold/brass finish? Do you have a product or process that you’ve had success with? Thanks!

  6. How lovely is the styling in this post – we are always inspired by your creative work! Love the desk with the single sofa, so inviting. Just love how that says come +collaborate!

  7. For pros & cons, I think you have to add that the social butterfly and executive arrangements take up more floor space. Also, if you have your back to a window or even your side you can get more glare on your monitor if you’re doing a lot of computer work.

  8. Love this post! Just started setting up a new at home office for myself and with the room layout went with what you have termed the “social butterfly”, which I will admit is very accurate! As always everything is styled wonderfully in this post!


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