We are all familiar with the noises in a house – a few creaks here, some rattles there, groans in the corner and a few squeaks now and then. While noise within the four walls of our homes can’t be completely avoided, in the long run, and especially when it is disturbingly loud, it can grate one’s nerves. Since everyone wants a quiet and relaxing environment at home, today, we show you how to use a few simple tricks to reduce sound and noise. From choosing the right type of furniture and planning the perfect living space, to using appropriate devices and helpful accessories and making repairs and improvements, we present some tips with which you can create a comfortable atmosphere that can soothe your ears and nerves while you are at home.
It’s a well-known fact that open, spacious rooms and large, smooth surfaces reflect sound and ensure that it spreads unhindered and sometimes even intensifies in volume. Accordingly, one should take precautions when one wants to reduce noise in rooms. Glass doors and windows have the advantage of not creating optical restrictions in terms of spaciousness and brightness, and they also help to absorb the sound. Creating room dividers or partitions or using small pieces of furniture or a combination of large closet areas and airy shelves helps to break the sound, deflect it and distribute it inside a smaller space. This happens due to the creation of barriers in open spaces and in front of large walls, which hinder loud sounds from travelling quickly.
Textiles are reliable sound absorbers, which significantly reduce the reverberation of noise in the room. If you have bare walls and smooth surfaces everywhere, sound has a free run of the place and even relatively small noises will quickly become amplified, causing a disturbing factor for both you and your neighbours. With thick carpets, curtains on the windows and upholstered furniture, you can greatly reduce noise within your four walls, while simultaneously providing a cosy touch to the space. In the children's room, especially, where a certain level of noise cannot be prevented, one should absolutely use fluffy carpets. These also have other advantages, because they keep your little one’s feet warm, protect against injuries, and when something is dropped accidentally, it does not necessarily break or shatter. Experts say pleated curtains are an excellent choice for windows and walls to reduce noise in rooms, as the larger the number of folds, the better is the noise protection. If it suits your style, you can also reduce sound by decorating bare walls with modern wall rugs or large tapestries.
For design ideas on using the right treatment for your windows, see Sensational window coverings.
The kitchen is one of the noisiest rooms with clanging dishes and other similar sounds that can hardly be avoided. However, here too, you can reduce echo and contribute to a quieter environment with some tricks and ideas. First and foremost is the use of the right electrical appliances. Dishwashers, hoods, blenders, and other appliances were earlier so annoyingly loud that one couldn’t hear any conversation when standing next to them. In the last few years, manufacturers have made great progress in creating quieter appliances. Modern dishwashers, for example, are now less than 50 decibels, which is no louder than a soft conversation. It is advisable to buy certified appliances, as among other things, these products are less noisy. This also applies to gadgets outside the kitchen, such as the vacuum cleaner, the washing machine or the hair dryer.
See this kitchen from Home Makers Interior Designers & Decorators for ideas on using quiet appliances that reduce noise in the kitchen.
After you've chosen a modern, quiet electrical device, do you feel that it's still too loud for you? Or, is your budget restricting you from getting a new, quieter washing machine, especially if the old one is in perfect working condition? No problem! In such cases, insulating with rubber bushes and mats can help to reduce heavy vibrations and rumble that cause disturbing sounds. However, electrical appliances are not the only loud occupants within the four walls of a home. With contemporary tiles, smooth wood, concrete or stone replacing carpets as floor covering, household noises cannot be isolated as easily. Thus, even the simplest daily movements such as climbing up the stairs or the clickety-clack of high-heeled shoes on the floor create an annoyance. To prevent this, placing mats or rugs on the floor can help to reduce noise. Other disturbing sounds such as those occurring due to moving furniture can be eliminated by felt pads under chair and table legs, or by quirky chair socks and step mats, which considerably dampen the sound. These bushes, pads and mats are, nowadays, available in a wide range of shapes, materials and colours, so that they can be perfectly matched with the modern décor, without being perceived as an old-fashioned element that clashes with the overall look.
In multi-storey apartments or homes, you often hear more noise than you would like from the neighbour’s home, including the toilet and shower. The reason is that running water produces strange noises in the pipes, which are then transmitted by vibrations to other elements and can thus spread relatively unhindered. To reduce noise, the corresponding pipes must be decoupled with pipe clips, and there should necessarily be an insulation layer to achieve the desired level of noise-reduction. Tubular shells, which can be pushed over pipes, also provide insulation from loud sounds. Of course, pipes in the wall are not the only source of indoor noise. Wood floors often creak and groan uncomfortably, especially when they have reached a certain age. This mostly happens, because nails have come loose. Getting a carpenter to fix this error can remove this disturbing noise with relatively little effort.
It’s not just the noises within the home that can get on one’s nerves. Some outdoor sounds are often considerably disturbing. While it may not be possible to control them, one can contain them with a few skilful measures. Since most of the sound penetrates through the windows, make sure that the insulation between the window and the wall is unaffected, and if necessary, make repairs and corrections to fix the gaps. Roller shutters in front of the windows also provide relief from the noise outside and guarantee quiet nights. Additionally, doors should be looked at carefully, especially if one feels that there is too much noise coming in from outside. Using self-adhesive sealing tape can help to plug the gaps and reduce noise. If it is still too loud in the apartment, one should think about sound-proofing the walls. This can also be incorporated at a later stage by attaching sound absorption plates to the inner wall. Suspended ceilings with integrated insulation can also reduce noise in rooms.