Designing with Your Five Senses – Hearing
I was sitting in my nice, quiet office working on my bookkeeping when all of a sudden, “Skrook, skreek. Skrook, skreek. Skrook, skreeeek!” It was a noise I’d never heard before (although, it was *quite* reminiscent of that upstairs-neighbors-are-having-sexy-time soundtrack that we’ve all heard a million times on TV), and it was driving me BONKERS. “Skrook, skreek. Skrook, skreek. Skrook, skreeeek!” Argh!!!! That is NOT what my concentration needs.
Luckily, it was an easy fix (the flag pole bracket on our front porch was a little loose and the wind was taking advantage of that fact). BUT, it’s a great example of how sound can play a huge part in how happy we are in our home. So, today, let’s talk about the number one sound issue and how to deal with it: The ECHO, Echo, Echo…
Remember the first time you walked into your empty house? How it seemed like the sound just bounced around endlessly? And the kids thought it was AMAZING so they kept squealing and shouting to test it out? All you could think about was where in the heck you’d packed the aspirin. Of course, moving your furniture in helped, but the darn echo is still there.
First things first, let’s talk about your floor. Wood floors are a HUGE trend right now, but they don’t exactly lend themselves to stopping that echo. Rugs will still let you see that beautiful floor while at the same time helping soak up some of that sound. (I know I’m a broken record when it comes to rug pads, but adding them under your rugs means even FEWER echoes.)
Next, take a look at your windows. A nicely framed, undressed window is a great look, but one you might want to reconsider if the echoes are still there. Curtain fabric can absorb a TON of sound and there are great options out there that won’t break the bank.
Finally, think about your artwork. I’ve got a painting on metal in my office that I LOVE, but I can’t sit next to it while I’m talking because it gives a tinny echo of my every word. (I’m planning to add some batting in between the metal and the wall to stop the vibrations.) On the other hand, art on canvas (paintings or prints) is a great way to add personality to the room AND help with echoes.
Great ideas! I had not thought about the impact curtains can make sound-wise!