What are the best sound-absorbing options to improve acoustics in your home?
When hard surfaces like concrete floors and less-is-more furnishings have turned your house into an echo pit, sound-dampening solutions are needed to improve the acoustics.
How can I make my echoey room sound better?
Combating flutter echoes in your home doesn't have to involve bulky acoustic foam panels. To absorb noise and improve the sound quality drastically, you will get very far with some simple adjustments in the right places.
The goal should be to reduce noise to a comfortable level without compromising the look and feel of your home. But what are the most effective ways to do so?
The reality is that most of us tend to focus on the looks of the interior when decorating a room (at least, we used to be guilty of that). And honestly, there's no shame in that.
The looks are visible to the eye, and only later, after settling into the space, we uncover how awful it is to the ear.
Dinner conversations with friends echo in the dining room, while calls with colleagues in your home office fill the space with echoey sounds.
Does this sound familiar?
Sound transfer between rooms and sound transfer within the same room are inevitable in most homes, especially those without proper sound absorption materials.
So, let's have a look at the best sound-absorbing options to improve the acoustics in your home. But first, let's cover the basics of how acoustics work and what causes echoing in a room in the first place.
Improve your sound quality by understanding how acoustics work
Critical to reducing sound and picking out the best options for your home is understanding how acoustics work.
Generally, the sound will echo more in one room than in another, and there are several reasons why this is the case. Sound transfer depends on a number of factors, for instance:
- What's the size of the room? Is it a large room? A small room? Does is have a high ceiling?
- What are the materials and objects in the room? Some objects improve sound absorption while others reflect sound waves. And if you have a little too much from the latter category, flutter echoes emerge.
So, what are soundproof materials, and what materials produce the infamous echo? To make it simple, we like to distinguish between two categories:
- Hard materials reflect sound, for instance, concrete floors, plaster walls, tiles, windows, steel, and leather. These are all examples of objects that tend to be the main source of reverberation.
- Soft materials absorb sound, for example, curtains, rugs, upholstered furnishings, acoustic wall panels, cushions, and throws. Naturally, the list continues.
RECAP: to improve the acoustics in your home, you need to work with more fabrics and soft materials to achieve better sound absorption.
5 tips to soundproof your home (without using traditional acoustic panels)
Soundproofing your home sounds like a pretty daunting task. We get that, and that's why we've compiled a list with 5 quick tips you can use right away to improve the sound quality in your home.
- Cover up hard surfaces, like concrete flooring, with a nice rug
- Use curtains to soundproof your room.
- Add decorative items, like plants, books, (acoustic) paintings.
- Apply acoustic absorbers like acoustic wallpaper or acoustic panels
- Choose soft fabrics instead of hard materials, like leather and steel
Read on to get more inspiration for each of these 5 tips and how you can implement these tips to reduce noise transmission.
#1 Cover up hard-surface floor with rugs
Naturally, rugs are snug and cozy, helping to create a homey atmosphere, BUT they are excellent for sound absorption, too.
In fact, using rugs in your interior is probably one of the easiest ways to improve acoustics without having to install any kind of acoustic panels. Now it's up to you to choose your favourite among the vast range out there.
TIP: if you want to hear a real difference, select a thick, high-pile rug in a large size. Alternatively, choose several rugs to create small islands in a large room.
#2 Use curtains to soundproof your room
Who doesn't love natural sunlight percolating through the windows? We do, for sure. However, speaking of acoustics, large windows are a real buzz killer, especially if you choose blinds for your window decoration.
Instead, consider adding curtains to your windows. And no, you don't need those heavy blackout curtains. For instance, roller blinds, roman blinds, or so-called duette blinds are great alternatives to the traditional curtain. Just remember, opt for curtains made of fabric to achieve the best sound absorption of sound waves traveling through the space.
TIP: a range of fabric and curtain manufacturers actually do produce acoustic curtains. For instance, textile manufacturer, Kvadrat, offers a beautiful selection. So, don't be afraid to add curtains to your space. Even a minimalist interior can use a soft-touch counterpart, right?
#3 Add decorative items
Investing in rugs and curtains may seem like a big commitment to start, so you're probably wondering: how do you reduce echo in a room cheaply?
Let's be clear: rugs and curtains are great options for improving the sound quality in your space, but if you want to start on a smaller scale, decorative items and accessories can also take you far when the goal is to absorb excess sound and reduce noise.
Examples: think of large plants, a bookcase, ottomans, a cute side or coffee table, vases filled with flowers, and (acoustic) paintings on the wall.
As a general rule of thumb, think about filling up the empty space (without adding clutter, of course). Often, a room that is too spacious will sound noisier because there's simply not enough furniture and items to absorb the sound.
#4 Apply acoustic absorbers like acoustic wallpaper or acoustic panels
Looking around your existing interior, you might not find the space to add more decorative items, accessories, rugs, or even new curtains.
Instead, you may consider using sound-absorbing panels in your space.
There are plenty of options out there when it comes to choosing sound-absorbing panels, and you’ll be able to find several variations of the classical acoustic panel to avoid the panel feel in your interior. For instance, acoustic wallpaper or other light-weight acoustic wall coverings.
Acoustic wall coverings and acoustic wallpaper can help noise reduction immensely.
Ideally, a room should have at least two non-reflective walls and be accompanied by several other objects to spread the reflective sound waves. Ultimately, sound reflections will fade out and avoid acoustic chaos. And that's what you want, right?
We get that you might be reluctant to soundproof panels. Maybe you're wondering:
- Are soundproofing panels worth it?
- Do acoustic wall panels work?
- Do soundproof panels keep noise out?
- Does soundproofing wallpaper really work?
To sum up, soundproofing wallpaper and panels DO work, and the best part is that you can elegantly integrate them into your interior. For instance, opt for a color that fits your existing palette or pick a pattern that will make your space stand out.
Browse a variety of options in our collection, go Mono, make it Raw, or give Play a shot. Or check out our beautiful acoustic panels.
Would you like to find out more about the different products to improve your home acoustics at home? Read more in this article; Improving acoustics with acoustic panels, acoustic wallpaper and other acoustic solutions. What is the best choice? What are the costs?
#5 Choose soft fabrics instead of hard materials
If you're reading this and about to redecorate your interior, make sure you now already think about the acoustics before it's too late.
For instance, instead of a leather couch or armchair, pick furnishings in fabric with upholstered seating. Big furniture objects like these will make a huge difference in your space and almost work to the same extent as acoustic foam panels because of the seating upholstery.
Naturally, you don't have to avoid leather materials and other hard materials entirely if that's the style you like. Instead, consider pairing your leather seating with soft fabrics like linen, wool, and cotton. Add cushions and a throw for a snug atmosphere.