Introducing the quiet room.
No two introverts are exactly alike, but if you consider yourself to be introverted, you probably don’t love huge parties where you don’t know many people; you likely relish your alone time. Few people like open floor plans in office spaces, exactly, but there’s a good chance you dislike them more than most. If this all feels true, you’re an introvert, and you could use a quiet room.
The concept of a quiet room is a little like a she shed or a man cave in that it’s about designing a space that suits your particular preferences and needs; unlike these gendered places, though, a quiet room is specifically intended for introverts of all types who need a space to recharge.
“I believe every home should have a quiet room, where people like me can retreat to process our day, recharge our internal batteries, and recover from the toll of functioning in a world that’s designed for extroverts to succeed,” says Rachel Cannon, an interior designer and introvert.
Quiet rooms are an extension of the idea that the spaces and environments we occupy—at work and at home—can affect our productivity and overall well-being. Cannon calls this idea the next big trend in interior design. In designing spaces that suit our needs by nurturing relationships between people or encouraging rest and relaxation, the concept goes, we can improve our lives drastically.
“An intentional, thoughtful design that considers our deepest needs—including the ones we feel selfish for asking for—is life-changing,” Cannon says.
This intentional design isn’t limited to establishing a separate quiet room. That kind of extra space can be hard to come by, but anyone can take steps to better support their introverted tendencies in their homes, regardless of whether they have a room to spare.
First, Cannon says, you must get rid of open floor plans.
“At home, families are expected to congregate in the huge shared area that is the living room, foyer, dining room, and kitchen every night of the week,” she says. “Televisions are blaring, everyone is on a different device, someone is cooking dinner, another one is trying to do math homework—but introverts can’t achieve deep focus in these kinds of settings.”
At work, it’s rarely possible to redesign your office, but at home, you can carve out spaces for various needs. For many introverts, this may mean staying away from open-concept spaces.
Next is dedicating one room in the house as your quiet room. This may be your bedroom, but it might also be an office or kitchen: The key is to think of a space as a place where you can be without excessive outside stimuli and recharge, even if just for an hour or two. This certainly doesn’t have to be a room dedicated solely to quiet—in this case, the quiet room is in the eye of the beholder.
The last step in designing for introverts is to focus on creating well-organized spaces with limited clutter. Cannon says she has designed her kitchen so that everything has its place; without the visual noise of clutter, it may be easier for an introvert to feel replenished.
“I look forward to the whole house bringing me that kind of restorative feeling—security, peace, rest,” Cannon says. “Our home environments should do that for us, no matter how big or small.”
Many introverts think of home as the place where they can truly be themselves: Creating a space where that is true is key to staying energized in an extroverted world. What that process looks like depends on your resources and space, but if you can carve out your own quiet room—even a quiet corner—you may find yourself calmer and recharged before you know it.