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4 Ways to Improve Acoustics

Apr 19, 2020 by Marc Rapport

Now that many folks are spending a lot more time in their homes as a result of recent stay-at-home orders, they may have noticed that things are a bit noisier than they like, especially if they're living in close quarters with other people.

Even if you live in an apartment or condo with limited authority to make structural changes that could make your home more acoustically pleasing, there are things you can do to deaden the sound.

Leveraging some of the advice below can not only make your home a more relaxing place to be for you and your housemates but can also enhance its appeal to the next buyer. And they're relatively inexpensive to achieve, so you can make improvements no matter your budget.

1. TV, TV on the wall

Flat-screen televisions mounted on the wall are pretty much ubiquitous nowadays, but unless they're on the inside of an exterior wall, the sound can easily be shared with the room on the other side of that interior wall; it can even be amplified. The easiest way to solve this issue, and keep the TV on the wall and off of a stand, is to use external speakers that point the sound into the room.

2. Insulation

Older homes, especially in warmer areas, often don't have adequate insulation beneath floors or inside walls. Proper insulation not only helps regulate the temperature -- and save energy -- it slows down sound waves, too. For a really comprehensive look at insulation, from attics to crawl spaces, including recommendations on what to use and where, check out the U.S. Department of Energy's guide on insulating homes.

3. Fabric and furniture

Big, soft couches and chairs are not only comfortable to sit on but they can be good for the ears, too. They can also help absorb sound, especially in newer homes that tend to be designed with a lot of open space. But they're also beneficial in smaller square rooms, where sound can bounce off the walls and the room corners themselves can act as an amplifier.

4. Carpeting and floor covers

One of the quickest and easiest ways to mute the sound in a house is with floor coverings. Tile, laminates, hardwood floors…they all help sound echo around a room. Carpeting and rugs naturally mute a lot of that. Even in homes with a lot of open space, strategically spaced rugs can add beauty and improve the acoustics at the same time.

If you can, leave floor coverings behind or put some inexpensive replacements in if you're selling an unoccupied, unfurnished home to mute the echoing from footfalls and voices when the property is shown.

These are just a few of the relatively inexpensive and easy steps that do-it-yourselfers can take to improve a home's acoustics and create a more peaceful living environment.

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