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  • Writer's picturePat Ziv

How to control noise in your space

Can you hear me now?

Acoustics, the science of sound and its effects within a space, is a serious matter in the interior design of your space. Be it your office, a theater, or your home.

Too much noise is distracting and makes us feel uncomfortable affecting our well-being and desired sense of calm. The study of acoustics helps us attain an optimal

Level of sound in a room so that you can easily decipher the spoken word or enjoy the music.

Sounds or noises are in essence waves and vibrations of the air. They arrive at our ear

where they enter and manipulate the inner ear and are then interpreted by the brain. Different intensities and frequencies may either annoy us or enthrall us.

There are restaurants that are so loud you can’t even carry on a conversation at a small table. AS everyone attempts to speak louder, the overall volume of noise is augmented. If you pay attention, you can actually feel the crescendo and fall of voices clamoring for attention and then subsiding over and over again. It may be more subtle in your home or apartment yet still uncomfortable.

You can address these issues with the interior design of your space. Here are just a few solutions to improve your personal acoustics.

Interior Design solutions for Noises from the Outside:

A neighbor’s quarrel, a baby’s screams, or the television next door may enter your space. High

heels may click or wooden clogs may thump from above and we all know when the plow truck finally comes by. These are noises that come into your space from the outside and need to be intercepted or insulated from your space.

  • Sound attenuation blankets much like insulation material can be installed in the cavity of the wall.

  • Openings need to be addressed and closed as much as possible as you would when insulating against the cold. Sound waves can go under doors and through openings in the electrical outlets or through your heating ducts.

  • The double and even triple-pane windows available are not only extremely effective in keeping your conditioned air inside but also in preventing noise transmission into the home. Sound waves can vibrate single pane glass windows passing outdoor noises into your home or office.

Sound waves can sneak up above your ceiling if there are any openings in the hung ceiling or light fixtures and travel from room to room. This is why you may hear conversations from a doctor’s office in the adjacent treatment room or from a conference room in the hallway or from your living room television in an upstairs bedroom. It can come from all directions.

Interior Design solutions for Noises from Within:

The noises from within may be your own television set or family quarrels or your beautiful screaming baby. Hard surfaces such as tile or wood floors, hard walls, and ceilings reflect the sound waves allowing them to bounce around augmenting the sounds and making us uncomfortable. These noises need to be absorbed in order for us to feel comfortable.

  • Soft surfaces such as carpets can absorb heavy footsteps while insulating the floor for those below. This is why apartment buildings require a minimum % of floor area to be carpeted.

  • Window treatments, upholstered furniture, and acoustical wall/ ceiling panels absorb or muffle sound to lessen the noise level within the space. These acoustical panels and partitions are placed strategically to catch the sound waves in such a fashion as to reduce the noise significantly.

Sound Masking is the introduction of an additional sound into a room so as to camouflage an unwanted sound to enhance privacy. This can be seen at a therapist’s office or in a restaurant bathroom or even in the ubiquitous earbuds that have become the iconic symbol of today’s youth.

Various sounds must be treated differently. As an Interior Designer, I enhance my designs invisibly with added knowledge and implementation of the various methods of treating, or more importantly, preventing the non-desirable sounds found in the everyday world. I strive to keep your conference room private and your rooms echoless.

In specific instances, such as a soundproof room or a surround-sound home theater, I partner with an acoustical specialist to achieve optimal results. Noise can affect your productivity and be extremely disturbing to your well-being and ultimately

the enjoyment of your space.

Let me assist you in solving your spaces’ acoustical phenomena.

Call me at 201 233-4636 or e-mail me at

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