Interior Design for Introverts that isn't Basically a Padded Cell With Pillows
Updated: Jan 29
By QuianaRose of Design A Rose Interiors.
In this brief little rant, I'm going to tell you a little bit about my story, how I came to the very best interior design solution for introverts, how you can reach me and tell me all about your design needs, and, if you continue to the end, I'll give you a special treat that is Uniquely You to use towards your interior design projects.
My mother and I shared a room when I was growing up. I know our scenario wasn't typical, but it did give me great appreciation for spending some down time in a comfortable space that was tailored to my needs. My mom worked hard as a single parent. When she came home, we'd lie in our bed with 15 pillows, I'd point out the hilarious psychology behind the new garbage pail sticker I had put on the closet door, and we'd play games while listening to Lionel Richie on the record player. (Can you guess how old I am?)
What I noticed was her joy and release of stress when she was in a comfortable and familiar space that included all of her unique needs and all of her loved ones. I also quite easily noticed that my mother was an introvert. At the time I did not know the word, but I understood that she was happiest when either alone or just with me. And I felt very much the same. Yes, I was a child of the 80s who was labeled a nerd. (I wasn't beat up or anything. Well maybe that one time, but she definitely learned not to try that again.) So some of my alone time was involuntary. However, my mother taught me to value someone who values me. She loved me for who I was. She encouraged me to be more of myself. And she gave me great confidence and courage.
Fast forward to today, I know who I am, and one of those traits is an introvert. During my Master's Degree studies for interior design, I created my thesis based on interior design not just for the introvert but from the foundation of the introvert's needs--because I personally believe that everyone can benefit from the internal and solo requirements of the introvert psyche.
Based on years of research and my own personal experience as an introvert, I have my own theory on the best way to approach interior design for the introvert. I also have a set of guiding principles that I apply to all Interiors for The Internal. I'll be relaying those in my upcoming book. Of course, we must first define what does introvert truly mean.
An introverted person is an individual that requires significant time for solo reflection.
Notice that I did not say self-reflection. Introversion does not mean one only thinks of themselves. But it does mean that one needs more time alone then the average person to reflect on life in general. Although it is often the case that introverts enjoy spending time alone more than they do in social situations, that is not an overarching requirement. What is important to note is that the introvert enjoys focus. Social interactions are best on a one-on-one basis. A social interaction where the introvert can focus on and listen to the individual they're with and receive that same attention in return is a rewarding and successful experience. This is one of the reasons that introverts make great CEOs, customer service representatives, or friends. Their listening skills are at the top of the game. Their ability to give someone or something their full attention is a master skill.
It is often stated that the introvert desires minimal stimulation. There is some truth to this statement but it is often misconstrued to mean a minimalist style, simple surroundings, or muted and less vibrant colors and sounds. That is not the appropriate way to generalize minimal for an introvert. What an introvert needs is minimal undesirable stimulation. Everyone, introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts, considers themselves to be unique and individual. When it comes to understanding what minimalism means to an introvert, you need to first understand what stimulates that individual introvert in a positive way. You're introvert could be an RPG playing woodworker who loves to skydive. But the basic rule that they need to be able to focus on whatever the task or idea or interest at hand is, forever stands as the foundation of the interaction.
So, what is introvert interior design?
Let me just erase from your mind the idea that everything needs to be calm, cool, gray, pale, soft padded walls with elevator music to reign in the anxiety. Anti-social, anxious, quiet, shy, fearful of public speaking.., those are descriptors that can apply to any type of person. They are not a guaranteed subcategory for an introvert. Do not believe the hype that all introverts want are a book and a nook.
What we do need is solitude--focus. And let me throw a wrench into your understanding of that. You may think that solitude only means alone. While we do need alone time, introverts are also highly acceptable of community solitude. You may have experienced this in your life. You have that friend or family member who will come to dinner or come to the gathering, but they're off in the corner with a book or they're at the table on their phone and they are not participating in the interactions. You wonder, do they even want to be here, why are they here, perhaps even assign them the trait of rude. I'm not going to lie, yes, this can be rude. But, there is also the presence of the introvert enjoying your company while being in solitude. What if we as a society created spaces for those who just want a little bubble of privacy, but also want to be within earshot of company. Then you would not have to come find us in the kitchen with the cat, "hiding." How often have you asked your beloved introvert what they are engaged in, and made plans to sit with them quietly and do the same thing? (People very often ask an introvert to sit with them, noisily, and do the same thing.) If you'd like a little deeper understanding of community solitude, I suggest you research the understanding of what life is like in the lifestyle of a monk. I did not make up the community solitude concept. It's been in existence for a very long time.
Now, based on what we've just learned, here is the way I approach interior design for introverts:
Find out what their desirable stimuli are: the artistic inspirations, the color choices, the musical selections, the occupations.., basically the options, are infinite. What are those passionate things that they need to do like play a trombone or read books.
Then we take our understanding of who the introvert is, and note that we need them to be able to focus on those interests in solitude without the presence of undesirable stimuli. You must also keep in mind that the option to enjoy those interests in personal solitude as well as community solitude must both be addressed. Simple accommodations for these include things like walls, partitions or dedicated areas. Deeper layers involve individuals being able to control lighting and sound. In commercial settings, the option to choose smaller, personal environments with range like calm & soothing or stimulating & artistic need to all be present.
Lastly, you must give the introvert some way of being socially active. Ideally, introverts would like to spend the majority of their social interactions in smaller groups or one-on-one encounters. But even introverts know and enjoy a larger gathering of like-minded individuals. Remember that introvert and hermit are not interchangeable.
I think a nice way to think of interior design for introverts is to make sure that the introvert you are designing for is able to compartmentalize the different social interactions and personal interests in their life. Your introvert will decide the percentage of time they spend among those different options and whether they spend it in complete solitude or among others.
I'm QuianaRose of Design A Rose Interiors. I create tailored residential and hospitality interior designs for what I call The Internal: introverts, highly sensitive people, and empaths. I make sure that the interior environment does not cause social and sensory overwhelm.
If you identify as one of The Internal, I would love for you to reach out to me, and tell me what your design challenges are as an introvert, a highly sensitive person, and/or as an empath. I believe that each of these traits creates a different environmental interior need. I do plan to follow up this blog entry with the approaches for the HSP as well as the empath. I personally comprise elements of all these characters traits.
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