One of the things we tend to overlook when we are creating a new space is the impact of sound on our surroundings. This is purely because it’s invisible, but it is an important aspect to consider, especially if you’re going for an open plan living space.
Open Plan Living & Sound
Many of us are transforming our homes by opening up spaces to create open plan living areas. As a result noise levels increase when walls are knocked down, ceilings are raised, and large glass-clad extensions built. Many of us are also introducing materials such as wood, concrete and tiles to our flooring, but these, in turn, create more surface area for sound to be reflected.
Maybe you have already created the perfect living space, but then face the problem of having turned your home into an echo chamber with noise being transmitted throughout your home and possibly your adjoining neighbours! It all sounds obvious when you think about it, but of course, if you’re not a designer or architect you’re not going to be thinking about something you can’t see.
To put it clearly, sound is either reflected or absorbed.
Here are some solutions you might consider to help counteract sound in different parts of your home, especially if you have a lot of hard surfaces in an open plan space. Remember, the larger the room, the more noise is reflected.
Plants aren’t an obvious choice for reducing noise, but by adding them to your spaces, they will not only help to absorb noise, they are great at removing toxins and dust from the air too!! You could go big and bold or why not add a living wall.
Dining Areas – Upholstered Chairs
Fabric is one of the materials which actually absorbs noise. Add some upholstered dining chairs to your dining area and you’ll find noise will lessen, especially good if you like to entertain.
I adore this Scoop Chair by Tom Dixon. Its perfectly stylish for evenings spent with friends around the dinner table and will help keep noise levels down when the wine starts to flow.
When adding seating to your open space, try to go for a fabric sofa and chairs rather than leather. The material and cushioning will absorb sound. Even better if you happen to choose velvet, which has more absorbing properties than most fabrics. And, don’t forget to add some cushions and throws for maximum effect.
Consider fabric backed vinyl wallpaper which has great acoustic qualities as well as adding interest through the use of texture to your walls.
Or opt for these eco-friendly cork brick tiles which have acoustic absorbing properties and offer a sustainable aspect to your living spaces. They also add visual warmth and texture.
Rugs help dampen footsteps, add warmth underfoot as well providing texture and colour to your spaces. In an open plan area, they also help define areas such as dining and seating.
Wallhangings such as this beautiful “Poppy Days” by Alexander McQueen are works of art in the own right and provide excellent sound absorbing properties to your walls.
Utilise pieces of furniture such as this bookcase or shelving. It will help break up larger spaces into smaller defined areas. The smaller the area, the less sound is reflected.
On a final note, there are, of course, endless materials and products out there that can help with the effect of sound within our spaces, and I have only touched upon a few today, but hopefully, you have found them useful especially if your planning opening up your spaces.