Ways to decrease noise in dwelling

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

When we are out in public, I often get compliments about how cute and quiet my baby daughter is. That is, until she starts yelling. When she was younger, she found her vocal chords. Since then, she has used yelling as her preferred method of “talking” and has gotten stronger — and louder — as she has gotten older. She will often hold out her fists, look you in the eye, and yell when she is excited, happy, angry, hungry or confused. I have noticed that in some spaces the sound is amplified, and in some it’s not so bad.

The trend for quite some time has been open and airy spaces, high ceilings and open floor plans. This allows guests and family members to communicate no matter which room they are in. However, this also has the unintended side effect of creating a louder home. The good news is, no matter your sense of style, whether industrial, beachy, modern, rustic or traditional, there are certain ways you can reduce the noise in an open space.

Hard floors, such as concrete, tile and even hard-wood, amplify noise by reflecting it. Soften it up so that your flooring can absorb the noise instead. Carpet can help to soften the acoustics in a room better than nearly any other material. If this is not an option, add rugs instead. The thicker the rug, the more noise it can absorb.

Another idea is to get artsy. If you are running low on floor space, add some art to your walls instead. Softer materials will absorb more sound, so opt for canvas pieces or cloth textiles. If the pieces you like are hard to find or too expensive, make them yourself. Find a piece of fabric that you like, and get it cut to size. Wrap a piece of blank canvas in the fabric and secure with a staple gun before hanging.

Then, think small. The more objects you have in a room, the more sound can be absorbed. Add throw pillows to a couch or bed, and extra towels in a bathroom or kitchen. If you install shelving, add some soft items to display like upholstered picture frames, books and fabric knick-knacks.

Last but not least, add privacy. Remember, large, hard surfaces will amplify sound. This includes windows and doors. Add curtains to help absorb this noise. Opt for curtains over blinds. The heavier the fabric the better, but sheer fabrics will work, too.

Better yet, layer the curtains with a lighter fabric underneath and a heavier layer on top. This will give you options for different lighting needs.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Send an email to thefixisin@gmail.com.