Window Desk Ideas

By Kate Riley December 7, 2017

I know it’s the holiday season but I can’t help but think ahead because with this next project I get a lot of practicality. Do you remember the old study I designed for the kids five years ago when they were in elementary school? It was a fantastic space for many years but since I’ll soon have one kid in high school and one in junior high, the space needs to grow up just like they have.

I want to install a built-in desk under the window as a place for homework and a shared computer. Here’s the space as it is now, you can see I never bothered to touch up the paint behind that bench I made for them under the window. :)


When we refinished the floors we removed all the old furniture and shelving and it’s sat vacant for a few months. This space is the perfect spot to recreate a more sophisticated den for study. Because it’s small and narrow I envision breaking it up into two smaller zones with a desk under the window and a sitting area on the other end of the room (not shown).

My first focus is that desk under the window with storage above and below and these window desks are great inspiration. In my personal home office, my desk is under a window and I find it helpful for my productivity, the light that streams in and the ability to glance outside and see what the birds are up to.


artisan signature homes


cottages & gardens


kelly deck


jessica helgerson


jill greaves


hazel and brown


avenue lifestyle


wb builders


o’hara interiors

Built ins are fab, but in case I ever need to rework this space, I’m going to make the desk only a semi permanent fixture. My idea is to install two freestanding white cabinet bases with drawers underneath on each side of the window. On top I’ll install a wood top that stretches the width of the space.

I’m working up plans in the next week, and hoping to complete the desk project in January for the kids to use for their homework. Of course I’ll share it when complete!



  1. love them! I just re-arranged my office to put my oversized desk facing the window. What I love the most is not feeling like I have to look over my shoulder to see what is happening in my backyard every time there is a shadow on my tablet. Does that make sense? laura

  2. I love these ideas! We’re actually in the process of building a desk in a similar space so the inspiration photos are so appreciated. I love how most have filing cabinets underneath as the legs. And I’m SO OVER THE MOON about the faux roll top desk look from Jessica Helgerson.

  3. All the designs are attractive but I don’t see how you could reach the containers or books that are in the shelving on either side of the window. The desk will be deeper than the shelving. It seems like you or the kids would have to stand on the desk to reach anything excpet the lowest items. I’d find it to be very annoying if I had to climb onto my desk to get items I needed. I don’t see why anyone would use those designs if they want to make the best use of a small space but I do like the rest of your inspiration!

    • I’m planning on cabinets with drawers under the desktop to hold office related supplies and some shelves above for more decorative things like their art projects. :)

  4. Those are beautiful, but I don’t understand how anyone could work on a monitor that has bright natural light directly behind it. I would need a light-blocking shade of some kind, or my eyes would be aching pretty quickly.

    • I have a shade in my home office Mary. Although the monitor backs to the window I control light that way :)

  5. I love the idea of the white cabinets and wood desk top. Might be something I could do to freshen up our study. BUT…..please give us so ideas as to how to hide all the ugly cables and cords. All the computers in these lovely photos seem to work without computer, printer or speaker cables. I would greatly appreciate some ideas!!

    • Excellent idea Paige! I’ll work up some ideas when I put this project together!

  6. I didn’t receive this post and just stumbled upon it today so my comments may not get read. I agree with the glare problems of a monitor directly in front of the window and lowering a shade to avoid it seems to defeat the purpose of having the window. I’ve solved it by placing the desk in front of or near the window where I can look out but angling my monitor so that it it’s not affected by the light but I can still enjoy the outside. Also, I’ve found that a non-traditional desk works better for me. I’ve done the two cabinets with a table top and currently, because my office is in the open dining room area, I’m using a couple of Elfa desk tops in driftwood (from Container Store) to which I’ve attached Elfa platinum tubular legs for a stylish table look. In fact, if I ever need a dining table, I can move one of the table desks out and place chairs around it. I have a smaller table desk (also from Container Store) against the wall under which I have matching cabinets with drawer With the exception of the cords from my monitor which I covered with and arranged to go over and under the table top, all the cords drop behind the wall desk and go from there to a glorious retrofitted computer armoire which holds two computers, two printers and all those other gadgets plus all cords reasonably arranged plus some drawers for small storage and wonderful doors that close everything off when I’m not working. The question about what to do with the cords is a good one but what’s so silly about most of the pictures is that there’s nothing on the desk at all to suggest that anyone would use a computer to work there. P.S. I’ve had a freestanding desk setup for years and I love the versatility of it within the area where I have it set up or anywhere else in the house I might decide to move it.

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