Importance of Interior for Room Acoustics - Getting Your Room to Sound Awesome

By Chloe Taylor 

Many people tend to overlook the importance of internal acoustics in assembling a perfect living environment.  The focus is put on the art of painting a visual landscape, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, indulging all senses is the ultimate reward for those who turn to jazzing their home up and face the music. You would not have to tickle the ivories, but make some small, inexpensive adjustments.

In the air

Sound originates from the vibrations in the air and other materials. Sound waves move about freely through open air, but closed environments are a different story. We are all used to some cacophony in our homes, and an uneven frequency response. These sounds drum into people’s heads, affecting their mood and psyche. They are particularly important in work or learning areas, because these processes are closely tied with the aural communication.

All that jazz

Home recording is about the flow of airborne sounds and how they interact with surfaces and objects. Normally, many sound reflections occur at the walls and household objects before the sound wave escapes below out hearing threshold. It is within your power to control these reflections. However, to pull it off, you must first understand what in god’s name is happening in that invisible world of sounds. Well, the good news is there are only three possible scenarios: Sound energy can scatter, reflect or be absorbed by the surface.

Laws of reflection

All these processes are of the utmost importance, and most of the objects include all three to varying degrees. Due to its softness and shape, a sofa produces scattering and absorption. On the other hand, something like a flat glass surface is an example of pure reflection. The third case is a rug, a warm and fuzzy object.  Its basic characteristics make it an outstanding, versatile sound absorber, which is on par with specialized acoustic materials. So, to do some fine tuning, you need to access the room’s acoustic properties.  

Clap hands

It is a tough call to predict the propagation of sound, but there are some tricks to figure out how the room holds up on the scale. For example, walk around the room and clap your hand as loud as you can. Listen to the reverberations closely. If you hear a pleasant reverb, not a harsh metallic sound, everything is in order. You can assemble your home theater in the room, or even record music there. If nothing else, it will be a great place to chill out and melt your stress away.

The balance

Now, if the result is closer to the metallic ringing, you need to do some “drying”. Foam and mineral wool are excellent if you need materials that soak in the sound on the walls. Every new addition should make the annoying sound less prominent. Just note that the purpose is not to kill all the reverberations, but to restore the natural balance. For that, you also need sound diffusion, which is most efficiently achieved by multi-faceted surfaces. They often include materials like wood or plastic which enhance the quality of sound.

The sound of silence

Since sound waves always find a way around the barriers, try to fill the gaps and holes. Those who want to minimize the level of sound that passes through walls turn to upgrading insulation. However, unless you have sensitive neighbors, your focus should be on the sound reflections within the room. Finally, remember that good room acoustics are almost unnoticeable, and that they must support the activities in the certain room. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution, only steps taking you closer to the sound haven.

Tuning in

Do not make the mistake of underestimating the value of acoustic treatment. A sonically comforting space enables you to open your senses and embrace the spellbinding symphony around you. What matters the most is our perception. It can be faulty, though, so mind the physics as well. Do some planning, budgeting and shopping before pulling it all together. Make your home sing a different tune, one that always welcomes and snuggles you and your family.

Chloe is an art historian, recreational ballet dancer and a contributor at She is passionate about photography, dancing and music. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world with her husband and take stunning photographs of beautiful places. She also enjoys learning and writing about home design, since she is crazy about aesthetics. You can find Chloe on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.