Interior design for the introvert, the highly sensitive person, and the empath.

Interior Design for Introverts that Isn’t Basically a Padded Cell With Pillows

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 nor anyone after her.

The point is, 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. 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 social interactions 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.

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 or simple surroundings or mute 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. Introverts can be multi passionate as well. 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 nook and a book.

What we do need is solitude. And let me throw a wrench into your understanding of that. 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. 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 it up, 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 color choices, the musical selections, the occupations.., basically the options, are infinite.

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.

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. Especially those of us who have been adopted by an extrovert. 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 olitude 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 nor sensory overwhelm.

If you identify as an 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 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.

Sign up to my email list here. That way you can email me your ideal design needs. Don’t worry, I won’t email you everyday. I’m all about not overwhelming people, remember?

For signing up, you’ll receive a free quiz to help you match your personality to the perfect 2020 color scheme.

I hope to hear from you, Rosebud. Thanks for being a part of Design A Rose.


A community focused on nurturing and loving their homes

The Influence of Theory and Principle on a Young Interior Designer

Every artist has a theory. Every theory is based on a principle. I have taken a journey through many artists, their theories, and the basic principles of design. I have found a few o theories to feel comfortable and significant to me. They have given me more reason to my own design, and I feel have been armed with knowledge to back up and support my own art. They have given me a vocabulary to critique and design with. Below are the 10 theories/principles that have made the biggest impact on me thus far in my design career.

“We have no mind.”

This quote is from a Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel interview with Charles Moore on American Architecture Now. Charles Moore is speaking of the attitude of his design team in approaching the concept for the Episcopal Church of Pacific Palisades where he collaborated with the church members to develop the design. He states that the architect should not go into the situation with preconceived ideas. I believe in this approach. As a designer, I am hired help. It is my job to find out the needs and wants of my patron and base my solution to their problems on those parameters. In this course, we’ve gone over examples of selfish design such as the Villa Savoye, which did not work out for the owners, or Louis Sullivan’s desire for all architecture to reject classical design and think his way, which led to his somewhat alienation. I go into interior design with a desire to help people discover and manifest a hope they could not quite put their finger on. I believe the “getting to know you” phase is critical to programming. Not only do I need to know what spaces a client wants included, but how they will use those spaces. I need to know what uses they have that currently do not have a space. I hope to provide elements that make life easier and more organized. I hope to create spaces where people can feel more productive, or more relaxed, based on their specific needs. I fully believe that in order to do this, I need to have an open mind. This will allow me to experience inspiration to fit the project.

Chance, Experiment, Knowledge, Reason

“…The arts were born of Chance and Observation, fostered by Use and Experiment, and matured by Knowledge and Reason.” Leon Battista Alberti. Once I am inspired by the needs and wants of my client, I can begin to form ideas and research them. A cycle of research and inspiration, inspiration and research, will form. I can experiment with form and function based on reason and knowledge to develop a design based on evidence and need. I’ve learned in my quest to be an interior designer that the deciding factor that makes an interior designer what they are is knowledge. We have the professional, dedicated education to make informed decisions. We have a license that make us legally responsible for the lives of individuals. Our design decisions should not be based on a whim or purely on aesthetics. There is a concept to follow, rules that can be followed or broken, and an overall experience to portray. A great tool in the pocket of any designer is iteration. Alberti’s quote speaks directly to this practice. Through iteration new ideas can form and take purchase or be discarded. Through iteration a designer can push the boundaries and try all options, therefore leading to the most logical response. I believe this is our most valuable means of finding the solution.

Solve the problem.

To find a solution, there has to have been a problem. Florence Knoll is largely responsible for the development of interior designers as a profession separate from decorating. In getting to know her client, the American office, she discovered that people were not communicating well. Simple, yet impactful, solutions such as curving the conference table and bringing workers out of their closed offices onto and open floor plan so that they could easily see and talk to one another proved to be indisputable fixes for generations. These are solutions based on need, reason, form and function. Perhaps her clients knew they needed a conference table, but not that they couldn’t properly see each other. As a good interior designer, it is my job to see problems that even my clients do not. I believe this is done by getting to know your patron, by asking them questions on what works and doesn’t work, observing them use a space… It is important to learn as much as possible about the user to give them a space they will more than function in, but thrive in. We are taught in our design education that we are problem solvers. It will be my intention to approach every design job with an open mind ready to hear the problems my client is facing and to find the ones they are missing.

Beauty can be found in nature.

We have spent much of this theory course looking at the concept of Beauty. I do believe Beauty exist and that it can be achieved. For me the ideal source of beauty is nature. In my experience, most people can be humbled by the Grand Canyon, touched by a flower, or moved by a tree. Nature has a universal quality to it that people of all ages can see. Nature has a mystery to it that we have spent all of our existence trying to understand and explain. We have the special relationship of having been created by nature with it giving us the special ability to contemplate our creation. We term it Mother Nature, the highest honor of love. We say things like, “God is in the details,” because the details are intricate and infinite. Many design movements have been based on nature: Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Organic… There is something about the term beauty that fits better with Art Nouveau architecture than it does with Deconstructivism architecture. Straight lines are rigid and cold. Curves are soft and organic. So much effort has been put into defining the beauty of nature such as the Fibonacci sequence or the golden rectangle. They are a reach for perfection based on nature. I believe design will always be able to pull from nature. It’s the perfect fall back that will never let you down.


Although we’ve spent an eternity trying to understand nature, we have not always taken such good care of it. In the days of Vitruvius, nature was infinite. In the 21st century, we are receiving constant reminders that it is only infinite in that it is cyclical, and if we do not contribute to the cycle, we will break the cycle, thus finite resources. Sustainability cannot be ignored. Green building and design is the present and future, or we won’t have a future. I read a statement in the book Cradle to Cradle: “…To believe that poorly designed, dishonorable, destructive systems are the best humans can do. This is the ultimate failure of the “be less bad” approach.” Our current approach to put less toxins into our bodies and the earth is not a solution to global warming, mass sickness, and natural disaster. We need to contribute to the success of the planet. If you told your boss, “I didn’t poison anyone today, but I also didn’t do any work to contribute to the project,” you would surely get fired. We need to plant plants, nurture the animals, clean the air, and filter the water. We need to actively produce and do. There is research to grow bricks. Paint has been and can be safely made from milk. There are locations in the world creating surplus power with wind and solar energy. As the creature that successfully makes 500 ton airplanes glide through the air, I believe we can do more than poison ourselves slightly less.

Buildings speak.

Alain de Botton, author of The Architecture of Happiness, reminisces on ancient buildings and their presence of form to portray the inhabitors’ religion. Vitruvius too said that buildings talk. How often have we heard a viewer say of a piece of art, “What does this piece say to you?” I fully believe this personification exists in interior design as well. Social Anthropologist, Shirley Ardener, says to us, “The environment imposes certain restraints on our mobility, and, in turn, our perceptions of space are shaped by our own capacity to move about, whether by foot or by mechanical or other transport. So: behavior and space are mutually dependent. …Space defines the people in it. … People define space.” There is a relationship, one could say a conversation, that that space has with anyone who enters it. Thoughts and actions are formed based on the space around us. A room can tell us, you are only allowed to go to the left if you want to get to the back. A pea green color can make us think of the past, or soup, or vomit. You will have an interaction with that space on a conscious and unconscious level. All design speaks. If it did not, it would not have a purpose. We decorate our homes to not only make us comfortable, but to tell those who enter it who we are or who we want to be. I am vibrant, fun and pink. I am simple, clean and minimalist. See my antiques, I have wealth and taste. Companies spend endless dollars on branding to say who they are from their credo to their lobby design. The role of the interior designer is to control that conversation, that experience, for everyone who enters that space.


Vitruvius speaks of Oeconomia. This represents the best achievable outcome with the means available. In a sort of return to We Have No Mind and Chance, Experiment, Knowledge, Reason, we come into a design with a blank slate and need to research in order to address any part of it. In order to solve a problem, we not only need to see the problem, but get access to all of the solutions that have come before. As a designer, we need to understand the scope of a problem. Only by studying the past solutions and the current solutions can we begin to choose an appropriate one or develop a new variation. A designer needs to be a fresh pair of eyes outside the box that the client lives in. It is our job to go beyond the common. We are a consultant, an expert, a professional. We need to be well versed in multiple possibilities for any restraints.

Repetition, Repetition, Repeat

In addition to theories of design, I have become fond of a few principles as well. Repetition is important to me. It creates pattern and can create harmony. Everyone knows the fun value of a pop of color, but that color does not pop without a repeated other color for its background. A repeated color can tie different pieces together and help create a unit of the space. A unifying motif can make a statement and drive the eye around the room. A repeated element almost tells the story of the design. Again the room can speak. The repeat says, “I am important, acknowledge me.” The lack of repetition, a sole standing element, is a focal point. It can anchor a room. Again it says, “I am important.” Easily repetition can play into emphasis. Rarely do principles stand independently.


One way to achieve balance is to repeat the same element on the opposite side, hence symmetry. One can also place an opposite figure to the opposite side and create an asymmetrical balance. Balance plays with light and weight. Our eyes have a desire for things not to be lopsided. Crooked is unnerving. Off balance is nauseating. An asymmetrical face is not beautiful. A crook is untrustworthy. A balanced checkbook is in good standing. Our need for balance is ever present. Imagine if the yin-yang symbol was more black than white. Instead of peace it would bring questions of why. The black would be overpowering. I believe balance is a strong tool for a designer. I think it can easily tell of a professional vs. a nonprofessional. I try to look for the balance in interior spaces as I learn to judge and critique interior spaces for myself. I want to make balance more of a conscious thought for my future designs.


Harmony is usually the first thing I look for in an interior design. It is the culminating result of all the other principles. I start here and work my way backwards. Why or why isn’t there harmony in this room? Do the pieces relate to each other in scale, color, or form? As I learned about this principle through Vitruvius, he mentions that it is the opposite of a cacophony. As a vocalist, I fully understand cacophony and never quite thought of it as the opposite of harmony. This is the test of whether or not the room works. I consider myself and eclectic designer, and I love the possibility of mixing times and materials and stories to create a new unified piece. In order to do that, the pieces usually have to share a similar trait. I actually remember the lesson of similar vs. same in grammar school. I had never really know the definition of similar, even though I had heard the word. This rule, that the objects were the same shape but different sizes or different colors (these were the only examples) was an epiphany moment for me. They weren’t different; they weren’t the same; they were similar. A whole new world of description had opened up or me. This basketball and this tennis ball were similar when all the time I had thought they were different. I have a historical memory of fondness for the similar, and I think that will stay with me as a designer for life.

I am grateful to have studied design theory. The information I have gained is invaluable to me. I not only have a vocabulary I can converse with but have learned more about myself and who I want to be as an interior designer. I am appreciative of Vitruvius and all those who came after him to try and bring order to the world of architecture and design.

Interior Design w/ Color

Go color crazy – Living room idea

Alright, go down this rabbit hole with me on this living room idea and how I got there. By now you know that I, QuianaRose, love color. I began to wonder just how much I do love color. Could I push myself to include alllll the colors? So I specifically Googled “Rainbow Kiwi”, and this is what I got.

I’m gonna do it. I’m going to turn this rainbow kiwi into an interior design challenge.

So here is where my brain started to tick. The seeds stand out. Well they aren’t even a color. They are black. But they touch every color. They are a common denominator. They are each bathed in white to make them stand out. They form a shape which looks like lips to me (and you eat a Kiwi with your mouth, come on!)

So I look for black lips. Yup. That is my starting aesthetic. There’s a lot of pictures of people’s lovely lips out there. Didn’t necessarily hate that tangent. But here is where I ended up.

So it begins… hospitality glam. What kind of room..? hospitality is always about sitting for some reason.., so living room it is. I typically start a living room with a sofa.

Typical sofa things. But we want something with the gleam of our lips, the exotic of our fruit, and also comfy (and maybe a little sexy).

I find this sofa set with the tufting (like seeds…… come on), lovely nail head trim and a beautiful, smooth, comfy, black suede… she wins!

Now we think, this all-color-encompassing room is only black. Can’t have that. Color. How are we going to bring in the color? Obviously pillows. But I don’t want to chicken out with just pillows. I then look for actual furniture pieces in color. To keep this from getting muddy and to stay with the feel of our rainbow kiwi, we look for solid, saturated hues: no patterns. All must fit our sleek glam and hospitality comfort.

Yay. Now we have a palette to mix with. I always start with one or two pieces (the lips art and the black sofa), find pieces to stay in that energy and silhouette, regardless of time or style (because I am at heart eclectic), and I then put the room or house together.

The last thing on my list is the paint color. I want a paint color that will help your pieces stand out. I select gray because it has a sleek elegant feel to it. It also does not take away from our rainbow pieces in any way. They get to shine bright. Random tip, don’t skimp on the crown molding. It can add value and character to any home in a heartbeat.

Okay. I created a living room idea out of a rainbow kiwi. If you like it, let me know. If you want a rainbow room of your own, shop Here. If you love my beautiful color craziness, shop Here.

Leave a comment. I’d love to know what kind of color challenges you run into. I call it colorphobia. Don’t be afraid.

A community focused on nurturing and loving their homes

What is a Victory Garden for Design a Rose?

I have a ‘growing hand.’ Now if it is a plant I’m tending to, it’s lost it’s life for sure. But this growing hand is a gift from my grandmother. It means that if I tend to your hair, I can make it grow. It’s not even a special hair-care product sort of trick, just a love, care, and attention… a delicate touch. I loved this notion when it was brought up to me. It seemed like such a loving thing to have and to be able to do for someone.

I approach everything I do for someone with a growing hand. This Victory Garden will just be me loving love and attention for others. And I believe if you too are a busy entrepreneur, you spend a lot of your time helping others. Whatever your product or service, you have a passion for it, and you want to help those who don’t even know they need it.

I’m going to share stories of help that cross my path, whether it was me or someone else, including my design projects. That is my definition of victory. I am going to fill this blog garden with victorious, loving moments.

So, here goes one. I went to vote. When I got home, I received a text from my cousin asking if I was mad at her since I ignored her at the polls. I absolutely missed her human presence. Reason probably being, I’ve left my 9-5 and started a company all by my lonesome that I’ve wanted to do for 14 years. I was a little preoccupied with myself. I told her why I didn’t see her and apologized. She immediately offered me a job to help keep me on my feet. No questions, no judgements, no backsies, just pure unconditional help. It gives me confidence. I’m going to let her help me. I’m going to do a great job for her, and I am going o pay it forward.

Design a Rose has eDesign options for those far away, but as we’re in Chicago, QuianaRose can help with your local Chicagoland home project as well. Check out our website at and see what best fits your investment. You will receive love, care, and attention on your home throughout your service.

If you want to join our mailing list for future blog entries to Victory Garden or How to Design w/ Color, you can do so here.

If you want to tell me your own Victory Garden story, you can do so here.

I’m ready to do this. Let’s help.

Interior Design w/ Color

Color is not the enemy

I have never been afraid of color. Hmph, I am color. A rainbow is color and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful things in the universe, so don’t argue with me. Today’s color exploration is Red. Of course Red. Red is Queen. Red is lifeblood. Red means danger. Red rules. This is an #interiordesignblog so we are going to show lots of pictures, please.

I just had to include this picture because red is my power color.

So you’ve always wanted that one red wall or red washer/dryer.., how do you put red in your space for seriously?

I have a random experiment below with a red bird. My first thought was what’s something red and exotic. Most of us have seen a red bird–Get a little excited if she’s pretty.

I went through a lot of birds, but I felt she embodied what red means to me: strong, bold, and alive. So I began to pull the colors out of this image to see what was the most striking, and where was there room for subtlety.

Note the red infinitesimally turning violet. Is she red or purple? And her beauty is that she boldly presents a lot of the hue. The white is just a striking wisp to make the red and purple plumage even more red and purple!

So, Red and Purple without shyness will be my focus. Have to have the white juxtaposition, and the green is just there to calm your eyeballs down a little bit.


Now for the fun part. Sourcing (selecting) the focal points. Since this will be an eDesign, we source from retail. If you’re trying to stay on a retail budget, feel free to start with a Google Shopping search in your area. We’re building a #livingroomidea So the first thing I typically think of is seating. So if you’re risky and energetic and unabashed, go for the red sofa. If you think that is a little too much and possibly too expensive (because everybody wants red), then compromise and go for the red side chair. Here are a few fun pieces I thought harnessed her fierce intense coloring and contrast. If you’re full on with the bohemian look, we could get a purple sofa and do this for real.

And then you find a base: flooring, rug, paint. You honestly don’t want anything competing with our red hues, Our red bird is showcasing her red, thickly in one spot, so let the furniture be her and the surrounding room a backdrop of a canvas… Neutral colors, please.

I’m going to say that we steered away from the purple sofa, but we still need some drama. I found this stippled (like a featherless bird, come on!) coffee table in all silver. If you can explain why it works, then it works. That’s the rule. Didn’t you know that?

So here’s my mood board. Full with loving accessories.

I say we add the greenery with plant life, find a red wine glass or two to sit on the coffee table. get a fluffy white throw for the sofa, and we are in comfy, sexy, vibrant, cozy, heaven.

If you implement a space like this in your home, inspired by our red bird, please email QuianaRose at and show us your final images.