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Improving the acoustics at home can have a big effect on the quality of life. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The main objective of improving the acoustics is to reduce echo and attenuate disturbing sounds. An additional goal could be, for example, to acousticize a home theater or TV room.
You can get a feel for the normal, acoustically bare conditions of your home when you’re just moving in. The empty apartment echoes with normal conversation and it feels like all the sounds from outside are coming right in. Once the furniture has been brought inside and put in place, a lot has already been done for the acoustics:
In this article, we’ll go over some tips for home acoustics beyond those basics. We’ve been improving the acoustics of our home a little more than usual, because we’ve been using two different rooms in our apartment as a podcast studio.
Clap your hands together in the middle of the room and listen to the echo of the sound. Do it in different rooms and listen to the differences. In the bathroom, for example, the echo is often more noticeable because there are no soft surfaces to absorb the sound.
Unpleasant echoes make for a less comfortable living environment. Instead of poor acoustics, it’s easy to blame the source of the sound: children, the television, family hobbies or a neighbour. So if you notice that the echo in a room is particularly disturbing, you can start with these tips:
Imagine that sound is light emanating from your hands in all directions. Where does it bounce and where does it collect? For example, two hard surfaces facing each other will reflect the sound, making it feel louder. Soft carpets, rugs, tapestries or softer building materials will reduce sound echo.
Your interior design choices can have a big impact on the acoustics of your home. Soft furniture such as sofas, chairs or armchairs absorb sound and improve acoustics. Glass tables, glass boards and other hard materials reflect sound and make the situation worse.
Uneven surfaces disperse sound and dampen echoes. Create a variety of uneven surfaces in your home. For example, a bookshelf is an excellent acoustic element because books are naturally of different sizes and form a random and uneven surface. Minimalist interior design, on the other hand, requires different solutions, as there are no everyday objects available to create acoustic surfaces.
Here are a few different products that can give you ideas for improving acoustics with small interior design choices:
Acoustic panels have had the biggest impact in our home: a dozen acoustic panels have been installed on the ceiling of our study and bedroom, effectively dampening echoes. Opposite them, there is a wide bed in one room and a carpet that covers almost the entire floor in the other, so the sound doesn’t echo.
Acoustic tiles on the ceiling of a room are a long-term and permanent solution. We’re used to texture and geometry in the ceiling, but it’s worth trying to design the right panelling for your home.
The acoustic panels shown in the picture are Parafon Royal 60x120x3 cm. They are installed with a thin layer of mounting adhesive. Here are some tips for those considering acoustic panels:
Use the tips in this article to improve the acoustics of your home. I recommend walking around your home giving yourself a round of applause, so you can see where the acoustics need to be improved. The echoes reduce the comfort of living, especially in large and high spaces.
Also share your own tips for improving acoustics in the comments!