INTROVERT OR EXTROVERT: 5 DECORATING TIPS FOR EACH

Our home is our castle, goes the adage. But before decorating that castle, we need to consider the personality of the king or queen who reigns there. Is he/she an outgoing personality given to display and entertainment, or one that sees home as above all a place of refuge and privacy in a frenetic world?
When it comes to interior decoration as an expression of personality, many of us are of two minds. The first is our extrovert mind, the one that invites friends over for elaborate meals, breakfast brainstorming meetings, or just plain company, be it gossip or Netflix. This personality needs a large kitchen, perhaps open plan, with a generous center island surrounded by bar stools, and a living room with comfortable seating just made for lively conversation, with plenty of small tables for cocktails (or mocktails).
On the other hand, we may possess a more private, introverted self, and we need to accommodate and coddle this personality a bit, too, with rooms that soothe and sequester, nurture and revitalize. The bedroom, library or study is the favorite place of the introvert, an often smaller more enclosed room which encourages reflection, focus and deep conversation rather than party chat. Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way: Living A Quiet Life in a Noisy World, explains in her book that introverts prefer deeper conversations, often about philosophical ideas.
Neither group is superior to the other, and most of us harbor both extrovert and introvert traits. The 21st century world often appears to be a fierce cult of personality, display and constant communication, even exhibitionism, an extrovert universe that overshadows quieter souls. The power and prevalence of introverts in the culture is probably underestimated. Surprisingly, some of today’s most successful performers are introverts, as noted in Jennifer Kahnweiler’s book, Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference. Careful preparation--in the case of an actor, rehearsal--is the key before entering center stage.
Here are two lists of five of the most distinctive attributes of both extroverts and introverts

EXTROVERT

  • Enjoys group work
  • Thrives in a stimulating environment
  • Has numerous, broad interests
  • Feels isolated by too much time spent alone
  • Tends to act first before thinking

INTROVERT

  • Chooses solitary work.
  • Avoids overstimulation.
  • Highly focused on one subject at a time, perhaps on a single intellectual or creative preoccupation.
  • Needs time alone to “refuel”
  • Prepares before acting
You’ve probably recognized certain aspects of yourself in both lists.
To nurture focus and reflection and minimize overstimulation in the environment, we make the following decorating suggestions for the introvert:
  • Textiles. It is textiles which soften a room, with weave, color, texture and pattern, transmitted through the room’s soft furnishings: curtains, upholstery, rugs and pillows. A color--red for example-- which, rendered flatly in paint, might seem garish, may acquire an unsuspected subtlety when produced in a fabric. The ideal fabric for an introvert is silk velvet--caressing to the touch, subtle in sheen. Or think of an exquisitely soft cashmere wool.

    An introvert does not necessarily want to avoid people, but he or she needs time to disconnect and recharge. Drapes, therefore, should be blackout-lined so that one can draw them and hibernate in the restful darkness for a while

    An introvert does not necessarily want to avoid people, but he or she needs time to disconnect and recharge. Drapes, therefore, should be blackout-lined so that one can draw them and hibernate in the restful darkness for a while

  • Cool, calm colors--green, blue, grey, beige and brown--are probably more typical of an introvert’s den, but even warm or more intense colors may be introduced. The key is to use tone-on-tone combinations rather than startling contrasts. A bedroom composed of luxurious washed linen and down bedding, a sensuously soft rug and heavier “blackout” curtains might follow a color scheme of carefully modulated shades of beige--both sandy and golden--against a variety of warm whites.
  • The introvert craves solidity and often the security of tradition. Wooden furniture--antique, with a warm patina-- rather than steel or aluminum is in order. Wooden objects--bowls or sculptures, for example--warm and smooth to the touch, appeal to the introvert.
  • A point of focus in the room--a fireplace or serene painting which encourages meditation, for example--is highly desirable. The paintings of the great abstract artist Mark Rothko come to mind--glowing, soft-edged rectangles of pure glowing color. (Conversely, Rothko’s fellow Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock is the extrovert’s ideal painter, with his splatters of paint, which he aptly called “action painting.”)
  • Soft, indirect lighting, using incandescent bulbs, shaded table lamps and dimmer switches, sets a romantic mood and helps an introvert to relax after a day of brightly-lit overstimulation.
  • If the introvert is all about working and preparing behind the scenes while cultivating and refueling an inner self, the extrovert is about sharing, expression and spontaneity.

Five Decorating Suggestions for the Extrovert:

  • Wide open spaces at home, whether in kitchen, living room or dining room, are a must for the extrovert, who is comfortable with rooms that flow into one another; he or she is the ideal loft-dweller. (The introvert, in contrast, prefers the coziness and privacy of walls and closed doors.)
  • Color!Famous extrovert Diana Vreeland, legendary editor of Vogue, once instructed decorator Billy Baldwin to lacquer her living room entirely in bright red, in order to resemble “a garden in Hell.” At least one element--a chair, a painting, a throw pillow--with intense color is a must for the extrovert who blossoms in a visually stimulating environment. Some hues that come to mind--not to be used in unison!--are lime green, Roman orange, Pompeian red and pollen yellow. Patterns may be bold and high contrast rather than tone on tone.
  • Generous seating capacity: The extrovert is never happier than when he or she hosting a lively bunch of friends and acquaintances around a long dinner table, or a friendly grouping of sofas and chairs. Mid-century modern is the extrovert’s furnishing style par excellence, with its often dramatically swooping contours and mix of materials, both hard-edged (metal, plastic and glass) and soft (leather and other upholstery).
  • Variety! This extrovert decorating attribute applies first to surfaces--shiny should alternate with matte, rough with smooth when it comes to textiles.
  • Display:The extrovert loves self-revelation and sharing. In the realm of objects, an extrovert might take pleasure in a wall covered in a dense selection of portraits and family photographs (the introvert might be more likely to favor a single abstraction, finding a collage effect too overstimulating).

    The truth is, just as each of us has, in greater or lesser proportion, traits from both groups, any dweller--introvert or extrovert--may consult both lists for tips on how to embark on and enhance a decorating project. The owner might decide to devote certain rooms to “extrovert” qualities, reserving others as sanctuaries for his or her “introvert” side.

    Whatever the ratio, within both our personalities and our homes, it pays to honor and celebrate both extrovert and introvert tendencies, creating balance and harmony from these seeming opposites.

    Artfully mixed and matched, Indigo2ash’s wide selection of rugs, drapes and pillows are available in thirty subtle shades and myriad textures and patterns. At Indigo2ash, home is not only a place, but an experience, the setting most central to our families, friendships and visual adventures. Sign up to receive our newsletter with special offers!