Tool Time: Personality Type and Home Improvement

Home improvement has been an undeniable trend in recent years that just keeps growing. Stock in major retailers like Home Depot is on the rise, and HGTV is consistently one of the top 10 most-watched cable networks in America. It seems like you can’t turn on your television without seeing some plucky TV personality or homeowner restoring, trading, or flipping spaces. Apparently, people are just as riveted by battles with ugly wallpaper and toxic drywall as they are by zombies and dragons.

We were curious to see whether some personality types are more likely than others to be interested in home improvement, so we asked our community to respond to the statement, “You often come up with various home improvement projects.”

Overall, we found that more than half of respondents (57%) agreed with this statement – a fairly neutral result. Looking closer, though, the responses of many personality types varied widely, and some were even a bit counterintuitive.

Let’s see how the data measures up.

Roles

Analysts and Diplomats (60% each agreeing)

Analysts and Diplomats tied as the Roles most likely to say that they often come up with home improvement projects. The Intuitive personality trait is a key factor here, as it gives Analysts and Diplomats the imagination and vision to think up creative new ideas for their homes. Intuitive types were also 7% more likely to agree with our statement than Observant types (60% vs. 53% agreeing).

Out of all the personality types, Commanders (ENTJ) and Protagonists (ENFJ) were the most likely to have home improvement on the brain, with 75% and 73% agreeing, respectively. Apparently people with strong leadership skills also tend to have an affinity for remodeling their kitchens or building out their back decks.

In many ways, a home construction project is particularly ideal for Commander personalities; it requires creativity, vision, and follow-through, which they have in spades. Its challenges also tend to be technical, not personal, meaning Commanders won’t need to venture too far out of their comfort zone to get the job done.

It should be noted that Analysts’ and Diplomats’ responses were divided around the Judging trait – Commanders and Protagonists may have agreed at high rates, but personality types with the Prospecting trait, like Logicians (INTP) (50%) and Mediators (INFP) (52%) showed much lower agreement. Let’s look at our next Role, Sentinels, to understand the impact of the Judging trait on this survey.

Sentinels (59%)

Falling just barely behind Analysts and Diplomats, Sentinel personality types were much more consistent in their responses. Overall, Judging types were 11% more likely than Prospecting types to agree that they frequently come up with home improvement projects (63% vs. 52% agreeing).

The Judging trait gives Sentinels the ability to effectively plan home improvement projects, including feasibility, logistics, costs, materials, techniques, and timelines – all details that Prospecting personality types tend to be somewhat averse to. Furthermore, Sentinels’ practicality, their love of family, and their work ethic make home improvement a natural fit in their range of interests.

Explorers (44%)

Explorers were significantly less likely to agree with our statement, due to the influence of their shared Prospecting trait. When one sees many possibilities for a space, it can be hard to decide on just one – and hard to live with if the results are less than ideal. The biggest deterrent for Explorer personality types is probably having to commit to seeing a home improvement project through to completion, which could keep them from pursuing more entertaining activities.

Adventurers (ISFP) and Virtuosos (ISTP) were the least likely of all personality types to agree (39% each). It’s hard to imagine many Adventurers locking themselves into a long-term project with little opportunity for improvisation or self-exploration. But one might expect Virtuoso personalities to be drawn to the prospect of wielding fun toys like reciprocating saws, sledgehammers, laser levels, and hammer drills. Given Virtuosos’ need for excitement – and their dislike of drudgery – they are probably more likely to come up with short-term projects that can be abandoned or modified on the fly.

Strategies

People Mastery and Social Engagement (63% and 60% agreeing)

There was a clear link between Extraversion and an interest in home improvement, with 61% of Extraverted personalities agreeing, compared to 53% of Introverts. Oftentimes, renovation and restoration projects require teamwork, involving tasks that are physically impossible for one person to do alone. The idea of teamwork is obviously going to be more exciting to an Extravert than an Introvert.

It may also be the case that the desire to impress our friends and neighbors is a bigger factor in our home improvement dreams than some of us would like to admit. Many of the most popular projects involve improving a home’s social spaces. From knocking down walls separating kitchens and living rooms to creating backyard patios and fire pits, People Masters and Social Engagers are especially inspired to change their homes in order to bring people together.

Constant Improvement and Confident Individualism (53% and 52%)

Constant Improvers and Confident Individualists were less likely to agree with our statement. Home improvement projects disturb the quiet, personal space that Introverted personality types need to reflect and recharge. They don’t like the disorder, noise, and people traipsing through their homes and will probably only tolerate such disruptions for a repair that is desperately needed or a project that they’re truly passionate about.

The neutral responses of these two Strategies indicate that, for these personality types, it may largely be a matter of personal preference. An Assertive Confident Individualist with an innate do-it-yourself attitude, for instance, is probably going to be more enthusiastic about a home improvement project than a Turbulent Constant Improver with a habit of second-guessing every decision.

Conclusions

If you assumed that hands-on personality types like Virtuosos would be more likely to be into home improvement, you may have been surprised by our results. The fact that Intuitive types, Judging types, and Extraverted personalities are drawn to coming up with ideas for home improvement suggests that there is more to this topic than willingness to swing a hammer.

Home improvement projects require the ability to choose one result (out of millions of possible results), and they require us to commit our time, blood, sweat, and tears to achieving that result. When we think about changing our home, we are considering more than just manual labor on a physical structure. We are imagining what kind of shelter we want to provide our family and what kind of gathering place we want to offer our friends. Some personality types are simply more interested than others in turning their home into an expression of who they are and what they value.

How interested are you in home improvement? Why? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!

You can see the full set of data, including correlation coefficients, here. Please also consider participating in our Member Surveys!

4 weeks ago
I'm still pretty young, so I haven't actually had the chance to really try some of this stuff. However, I'm fascinated by home improvement (I love HGTV!) because I love the idea of making something beautiful. I'm an ENFP, so I guess it's the artist in me. I find it funny that people with the prospecting trait are less likely to be into home improvement, because that's definitely not me. I'm guess I'm just more organized and willing to commit to projects than most ENFPs. Even though we're supposed to be random and disorganized, the end result of a beautiful home is totally worth it for me. I'm too much of an artist not to be concerned with the aesthetics of the place I live in.
1 month ago
Home Improvement? Yeah, I can do that. I have to admit that I really enjoy designing a space, picking out the products that will go together (for the best price, of course), and planning a long term project. That must the "J" in my INTJ-A. I also enjoy learning to wield the tools of the trade, and am not afraid to get my hands dirty. My interest in home improvement came as a teenager, when my dad asked us to help him DIY re-do the family kitchen, garage, and laundry room. So, I learned how to lay a wood floor, how to put up a backsplash, how to hang cabinets, and how to install various appliances. Later on, I learned how to cut the tile and do the measurements to make sure everything fit. It was hard work, but looking at a polished end-result is more than satisfying enough to justify the noise and disorder (for a while, at least). Granted, I tend to be more on the DIY-capable side. My parents were strong believers that people should know how to do everything possible around the house, even if it is just to be able to converse with the contractors you hire later in life. So, I can change my own oil and tires. I can fix my own plumbing (and have). I can hang light fixtures and repair walls (and have). I can lay tile and I can paint. I can hang my own blinds and curtains. I can change my own headlights and taillights in the car. Thanks, Dad, for teaching me to be self-sufficient! As to the comment about the strange popularity of HGTV: dragons are really just a metaphor for major challenges (and I know of no challenge in home improvement uglier, dirtier, or nastier than taking down ugly wallpaper). Toxic drywall is the same thing as a zombie: one bite and you're done. So, really, you can see the appeal. :-D
1 month ago
Nice, I love home improvement too, especially DIY-ing, although my idea of "home-improvement" is pretty much just to make my house cosier, with a more personal touch and of course, for practicality's sake :)
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