Decorating Based on Your Myers-Briggs: Judging vs. Perceiving

Which would you rather come home to—a space that’s more structured or one that’s more flexible?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a fun tool to help people better understand how they perceive the world around them and make decisions. And when it comes to decorating your home, who doesn’t need a little help with self-reflection?

The fourth set of dichotomies assessed in the MBTI, judging and perceiving, describes how you prefer to live your outer life—in other words, what your behaviors indicate.

Are you a J or a P?

According to the Myers-Briggs Foundation, a person who leans toward judging prefers a more structured and decided lifestyle. They focus more on making decisions and exerting more control over their lives.

Does this sound like you?

  • I like to have things decided.

  • I like to make lists of things to do.

  • I plan my work to avoid rushing just before a deadline.

A person who leans toward perceiving prefers a more flexible and adaptable lifestyle. They focus on taking in information while leaving final decisions more open-ended.

Does this sound like you?

  • I like to stay open to respond to whatever happens.

  • I appear to be loose and casual, keeping plans to a minimum.

  • I work in bursts of energy.

Everyone considers themselves a mix of judging and perceiving, of course. Someone orderly and decisive can certainly still be open-minded, and someone flexible can still find comfort in a daily routine. The key to this metric is how your behaviors are perceived by the outside world—how would your roommate describe you?

Decorating for the judging

Judgers prefer to plan ahead, so you’ve already come to the right place (… *wink*) when it comes to thoroughly mapping out your ideal space. Take time to visualize a space that will make you feel calm, comfortable and content.

“Embrace routine. You have an organized nature and you like to plan in advance and do things step-by-step. Make that innate part of your personality a part of your home, too,” writes

Taryn Williford for Apartment Therapy regarding J’s. “Keep your calendars and to-do-lists on display and invest in everything-in-its-place home organizers.”

If you love getting up early and making a full breakfast to start the day off right, hang your skillets with purpose and conveniently display your coffee accouterments. If you love doing yoga to center yourself after work, clear a designated space for your mat and mindfully curated home altar. If you love unwinding with a bath before bed, get (or make) a convenient side table or tub tray and display your cache of candles, bombs and bubbles on one of those cool ladder shelves.

Just because you crave order doesn’t mean you’re a natural-born organizer, though. You may even notice that your stress levels rise when your home is cluttered or disorderly. As a general pointer, shelves, baskets and containers are your best friends—luckily, there are a lot of stylish options out there.

The outside world has quite a bit of influence on your internal world, so carefully designing your space is a productive way for you to take more control of your life. Hello, inner peace.

Decorating for the perceiving

Perceivers prefer to let time run its own course. If they receive a page-a-day calendar as a gift, it will quickly fall months behind. Still, creating a space that makes them feel at home is crucial to their wellbeing—it just so happens that they are likely to change what this means more frequently.

“Mix it up. Perceivers are the ultimate free spirits,” writes Williford. “You love to keep your options open, improvising and making things up as you go. So redecorate often. Find new ways to use your old furniture. Switch things up as often as possible for maximum domestic harmony.”

Do you find yourself frequently rearranging your furniture in order to keep your space feeling fresh, bringing in new ideas that energize you? You’re not alone.

“Designing is an opportunity for artistry as well as comfort,” writes psychiatrist Carrie Barron for Psychology Today. “As you re-arrange your personal space, you hone your aesthetic and identify what you truly love, want or need. Such specificity brings relief. As my friend Gwynn used to say, you ‘get clear.’”

In addition to rearranging furniture, you can inexpensively inject new life into your surroundings by hanging new, colorful (or not) drapes, swapping out pillowcases and replacing your shower curtain. Get a new plant. Collect art made by friends or hang your own one-of-a-kind creations. Pick up a small keepsake every time you travel somewhere new. Keep your eyes open for items that can be repurposed in new, exciting ways—as a perceiver, you are always open to new ideas.

Whether you’re a J or a P, your orientation to the outside world is directly affected by the place you come home to. Why not design it for living your best life?