Improving acoustics with acoustic panels, acoustic wallpaper and other sound absorbing materials. What are the best options? What are the costs?

Your house has a terrible acoustic performance. You would like to do something to improve the acoustics. But you don't know where to start. You want a solution that suits your interior.

We list the most commonly used acoustic products. This way you can discover quick and easy how different solutions (e.g. acoustic wall panels, acoustic wallpaper, acoustic paintings and other acoustic material) perform in terms of sound absorption, sound insulation, costs and applicability.

Often, we only find out that our house sounds bad when it is already furnished. The decor is carefully put together, it looks beautiful. But it still doesn't sound right. There is a disturbing reverb that makes your house not feel warm and comfortable.

 

What acoustic solutions are available?

When you are looking for acoustic solutions, you will find a wide rang of products: acoustic panels, acoustic ceiling panels, acoustic wallpaper, acoustic paintings, bubble foam or foam panels.

Ideally, the acoustics are already taken into account when building the house. Fortunately, this is usually not the case. Because it is difficult (but not impossible) to make structural adjustments later on. We assume that you are not looking for structural adjustments such as acoustic building materials.


You may have the following questions:

  • Do acoustic panels really work?
  • Does acoustic wallpaper work?
  • Why consider acoustic panels?
  • Where to instal acoustic panels?
  • What do acoustic panels cost?

* If you want to discover in just 2 minutes what the best acoustic solution is for you, scroll straight to the table at the bottom of this article. Here you will find an overview of the main categories of available products to reduce bad acoustics. All you have to do is make the right choice.

Acoustic panels

You can create an acoustic wall with acoustic panels. It often consists of a combination of wood and felt, and sometimes alternative materials such as fabric and foam. Panels are available in different sizes and usually applied to the wall. There is also an acoustic panel for the ceiling, which we will discuss later.

 

Do acoustic panels really work?

Acoustics can be divided into two main categories: sound absorption and insulation. To simplify: absorption affects sound within the room, insulation affects sound transmission between rooms. When we refer to acoustics, we focus on sound absorption in this article.

Acoustics are a matter of sound reflection and absorption. Many factors in rooms affect the amount of reverb, for example:

  • What is the composition of the room? Does it have high ceilings? Long hard walls? Are the walls close or far from each other?
  • What materials are in the room? There are many hard surfaces, such as a concrete floor, plastered walls, hard floor, tiles, hard surfaces such as steel and leather. Are soft features, such as curtains, rugs, upholstered furniture, cushions and plaids present?

When you speak, a sound wave is created. It moves from the sound source (person speaking, loudspeaker, TV, instruments) to the person who hears the sound. As it travels, it is affected by the features it encounters.

If there is a bare hard wall, sound will scatter in hundreds of directions. The different sound waves that are created are heard at different times. This creates reverb or echo.

When you install acoustic panels, they will absorb the sound waves that come into contact with the wall. This will reduce the amount of echo because less waves are reflected. The sound panels stop sound waves from travelling toward you. Noise disappears in the acoustic panel.



The acoustic performance of an acoustic panel is mainly caused by the felt that is often used behind the wood, and not so much by the wood itself. Therefore acoustic panels made up from wooden slats often lack absorptive capacities. The best acoustic panels can reach class A absorption by mounting sound-absorbing material (such as rock wool or mineral wool) behind the panel during installation.

Luckily we have developed unique felt-felt acoustic panels. Because we added slats made from acoustic felt, sound is also absorbed by the slats. This makes acoustic panels by Easewall excellent sound absorbers, which are up to 4x more effect than wooden slat panels. 

Why consider acoustic panels? 

In addition to good acoustics, wall panels can also create a pleasant atmosphere. Because they are also a decorative element in your home.

Acoustical panels are available in different sizes and applications. Usually in case of wooden slat panels they need to be mounted on a frame on the wall.

You must be handy and be able to use various tools to install them. For example: in most cases you have to make the frame yourself. It must contain beams of the correct size and thickness and it's of utmost importance that everything is flush and mounted level. If you are not handy yourself, hire a professional to install them.

A disadvantage is, that when you want to remove the panels again, a lot of damage from the installation remains on the wall. This is caused by the screws and the frame. After removal, the wall often has to be repaired and sometimes plastered again.

Mounting with a frame has the advantage that you can store extra acoustic material in the 'empty space' in the frame, which makes them thicker and better performing.

Acoustic panels by Easewall can be mounted directly to the wall, as they are made up solely out of acoustic felt, and there is no need for additional materials behind the panels for them to be effective. 

Acoustic wallpaper

Is acoustic wallpaper still new to you? We get that! Acoustic wallpaper is a new innovation on the well-known acoustic panels.

How does acoustic wallpaper work?

Just like with acoustic panels, you can transform bare walls into acoustic surfaces. So that the noise and echo disappears and you can experience sound with more clarity.

Acoustic wallpaper consists of felt, which is very effective at absorbing sound waves and ambient noise. It is a thick and durable material, with a high class noise reduction coefficient. Some manufacturers produce high quality felt which is made from recycled plastic (PET) bottles. So that you not only improve the acoustics but also make a sustainable choice for the environment.

In addition to good acoustics, wallpaper stands out at creating a good atmosphere. So that they are also a decorative element in your home. The room feels warmer, and you can talk to each other again without any disturbing reverberations.

Acoustic wallpaper is available in different lengths and compositions and can sometimes be applied directly to the wall. Most acoustic wallpapers come on a roll, so that it can easily be cut to any desired lengt or size.

Some manufacturers offer acoustic wallpaper that comes with a self-adhesive backing layer, so installation is a piece of cake. In that case, the rooms do not have to be pretreated. So extensive DIY skills or heavy machinery is not needed. You can simply stick the product on the wall yourself, or have it installed by a professional carpenter/upholsterer if that is what you prefer.

The best part is that there are a variety of designs available. This allows you to add the right touch to the interior of your home. Whatever your preferences, it can be used in the living room, bedroom, kitchen, office, or a (home) office. You can make your walls come to life, or on the other hand let them blend in with your interior. It all depends on your personal design preference.

Advantage: because you can apply the acoustic wallpaper directly to almost any wall, you save on the costs of plastering a wall. It can be applied directly to a ''wallpaper-ready wall''.

Where to install acoustic panels?

Acoustic solutions are best applied in a smart way. It is important that you choose the right materials, and place them in the right location to notice a difference. But luckily you don't have to figure it all out yourself, we're going to help you. Whether you are looking for a solution for the living room, office (at home), bedroom or kitchen. Below you will find tips, so that you can achieve great acoustics.

High ceiling

Does your home have a high ceiling? It's every designer's dream, but an acoustic nightmare.

If you do not want to make structural adjustments, it can help to lower the ceiling using (floating) sound panels. They break and absorb the sound before it can reach the ceiling and prevent them from bouncing back in different directions. This way (part of) the sound waves are absorbed and you prevent reverberation.

Not only a ceiling panel is useful, an equivalent option is acoustic wallpaper or acoustic panelling.

Smaller rooms

Does your space have walls that are close together? For example, think of a space such as a meeting room or an office. These types of spaces may behave like a sound box.

There is often little room to mount acoustic panels, because this makes the space smaller. In this case, it is best to choose acoustic wallpaper or hang acoustic panels from the ceiling to control noise.

Do you have a smaller budget? Then you can try to furnish the room with furniture made of soft materials, plants and possibly add an acoustic painting.

Modern living space

Does your home have sleek walls, floors and modern furnishings with few soft materials?

In this case, you can improve the sound quality in your home in various ways. Which product you choose is a matter of taste.

If you prefer a minimalist interior, it is best to choose solutions that blend in with the space. Acoustic wallpaper or acoustic panels are the way to go.

If you are open to adding soft materials, opt for upholstered furniture, curtains or a nice thick rug in a large format. Even a minimalist interior could use a soft touch, right? You will find all the tips and tricks for including to acoustics into your interior design in this article.

No luck with interior decorating?

Have you already tried to use soft materials and solutions such as foam panels and acoustic paintings? Is there an insufficient result?

A frequently heard problem is that, despite (small) adjustments, you still were not able to control noise the way you would like. Although the reverberation is reduced, it is still annoyingly present. Have you already tried enough soft materials in the house, and maybe even an acoustic painting. Then it would be a good idea to look at a different approach to bad acoustics, by adding acoustic panels or acoustic wallpaper.

Acoustic paintings

Acoustic paintings help you improve the acoustics in a small space. Usually the painting is made up of an acoustic panel surrounded by a front of textile. The textile allows sound to pass through, causing it to enter the acoustic panel. Then the sound is (partly) absorbed by the absorbing material.

Paintings are a beautiful addition to any interior. A work of art can also give a personal touch to your interior. Acoustic paintings are designed with various prints or illustrations, but you can sometimes also add your own photo to make an acoustic photo panel with a personal touch. They are available in different sizes.

How nice is it when a unique item also immediately helps to improve acoustic performance? However, to really improve the acoustics you need sufficient volume. In this case, the larger the painting, the better the result. That is why a painting is only applicable in a small space or when only a small effect is needed.

Disadvantage: The surface the painting covers is not enough to make a really effective difference in most spaces.

Home furnishings

When designing your home, you can have a major influence on how your home sounds, with the right choices off-course.

When you use sufficiently soft materials, shrill sounds and reverberation can be prevented. For example, upholstered furniture is very capable to absorb. Placing curtains and carpets also helps to reduce poor acoustics.

You complete it by adding accessories. Place products such as plants, pillows and throws. This way you ensure that it sounds good at home.

Would you like to discover the best way to improve the acoustics in your home with the right adjustments? Browse this blog post.

Decorated room

Acoustic foam panels

Acoustic foam panels are usually made of polyurethane (PU) foam. In some cases they are finished with a specific top coat. The foam has sound-absorbing properties. This results in less reflection.

You don't have to be handy to apply foam panels. They are often made with a self-adhesive backing, which ensures that installation is easy. In addition, they are easy to customise.

Foam panels do usually have an industrial look and feel, and (despite the good effect) add little to your interior. Therefore, foam panels are often used in working environments such as office spaces and production environments, to minimise noise pollution.

Room treated with acoustic foam panels

What do acoustic panels, acoustic wallpaper, acoustic paintings and acoustic foam panels cost?

Below you will find a clear summary of comparison between the different products to improve the acoustics.

Product

Prerequisites

Cost / m2

Acoustical performance

Acoustic panels
Plastered wall
€ 90 - 130
Medium (Sound Class D)

Acoustic panels + rockwool

None

€ 120 - 160

High (Sound Class A)

Acoustic wallpaper

None

€ 40 - 60

Medium (Sound Class D)(NRC=0.2)

Acoustic painting

Plastered wall

€ 200 - 400

Low

Acoustic foam panels

None

€ 30 -70

Medium (Sound Class D

 

We hope you have been able to gain a valuable overview of the available acoustic products, so that you can make the right choice for your pleasant home.

If you're looking for more inspiration on how to apply and style our soundproofing wallpaper, head over to our Instagram (@easewall), where we daily share insights to get you started improving the acoustic in your home. See you there! 
 

 

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