Open floor plans have been the rage in residential architecture and design for years. They however have an unintended side effect: A noisy household! Homeowners and architects are sometimes so focused on the nitty-gritty of a construction project that something intangible, like the acoustics, often gets ignored.
I had this conversation with a client last week that was looking to furnish a beautiful loft on the Miami waterfront. He had fell in love and purchased his place because of the large room with big windows, no wall separation, high ceiling and the minimalist type of look but didn’t realize how noisy it was until he moved in and could hear his steps echo in the room while walking.
So, how do you address this?
Well, the old standbys for dampening noise in a room, like wall to wall carpeting and thick drapes, would feel outdated in a loft.
Here are a few tips:
1. CREATE TEMPORARY NOOKS:
Shades are getting a new look as silk-looking screens, offer homeowners a way to create makeshift enclosure. Gliding fabric panels sliding on a track can divide a room while keeping a big, open feel. The manufacturer Hunter Douglas is a great resource for these shades.
2. THINK FIBERGLASS…:
In a living room, a custom-designed stereo system, with speakers strategically placed in different parts of the room will disperse sound evenly. To bring out pure tone from the speakers, you may install compressed fiberglass in the back of a bookshelf to absorb sound and dampen any echoing. The fiberglass also helps keep noise from carrying to other rooms.
3. …OR SLIDING PANELS:
If you are looking for some privacy screen while hosting guests in your home, check retractable panels. Those fabric panels give people privacy and help dampen sound in a large space. When not in use, they easily stack behind a cabinet.
So remember, trendy open floor plans where rooms aren’t separated by walls mean voices carry. Hard surfaces like granite countertops, ceramic tile and hardwood floors can also amplify sound. But there is always solution to every problem I guess, so call me and let’s talk about this!