Home Décor with Sound Absorption

Home Décor with Sound Absorption
July 25, 2011 TNH Editorial Team

Why is this simple looking curtain of interest? It’s what’s in it that’s noteworthy. Decorators will tell you: Empty rooms and homes are echo chambers until they are furnished. True. Sound reflects off hard surfaces such as walls and wood or tile flooring. Without absorption the sound reverberates and  makes the space comfortable.  There simple and effective sound treatments!

Soft goods like furniture, rugs and curtains absorb sound waves and are a good start.  However, many decorators and homeowners are unaware of some simple enhancements that can be done for very little money:

Sound absorption from rugs and curtains can be significantly enhanced.  Rugs can be placed over rug pads.  The most basic material – felt – works the best.  Less known is the fact that curtains can be made to include a variety of fabric liners.  Ask your seamstress to add in so-called “bump fabric”.  Of course there are specific acoustical liners that can be installed as well.  They carry much higher price points than the simple bump material.  However, for the majority of rooms bump liner does the job.

One more note: bump fabric is a slightly thicker material, which makes curtains lined with it heavier.  Therefore, be sure that curtain rods are properly secured to offer sufficient support.

Unlike surface treatments like acoustical wall treatments neither rug pads nor bump fabric liners are visible.  Both materials absorb sound and ground rooms.  Your body will know the difference.

Case in point our living room:  it has thick plaster walls, lots of windows, wood flooring and high ceilings. My audiophile husband set out to locate his listening room in this, shall I say, less than ideal acoustical space – the sound was horrendous until simple felt padding was put under the rug and the bump-lined curtain went up along one entire wall.

Finally, here is the high-tech version: Weisbrod-Zuerrer, a Swiss company produces a collection of transparent silk curtains with high sound absorption. The curtain look like sheers but absorb five times more sound according to research institute EMPA

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