Parents have pretty sharp ears that pick up noise (or lack of) letting them know what kids are up to but they do expect noise in the family room. Games + kids + activity = NOISE. It’s the noise level that can get irritating. So how can parents reduce the noise level without spoiling the fun?
Guess what? The 5 key Family Room Design Essentials apply to noise control too. If you haven’t already read it, do that first then come back here. Here’s how the 5 keys help with noise control.
Key 1: Focus – Knowing what type activities can direct you to specific solutions. Video games with a sound system blasting will require a different approach than toddlers playing with toys or teens playing pool. Know your focus.
Key 2: Space – Some zones need more acoustic help than others depending on the activity and size of the space. Craft areas need less acoustic attention than game or TV areas. Look at your space.
Sometimes noise control can be as easy as closing the door on the space, unless the area is open to other rooms or sound is traveling through the walls. This is where remaining keys are important.
Key 3: Finishes – Hard surfaces reflect sound, bouncing it around and to the next room so minimizing or reducing hard surfaces is important. Acoustic ceilings and wall panels can be added to absorb more sound in any room.
Carpet or area rugs absorb sound. Cut pile absorbs more than loop pile. Carpet over cushion absorb more than carpet alone over concrete. Carpet the entire room? Depends on your focus and how space is divided. Area rugs can absorb sound in noisy zones leaving some open areas for hard flooring.
Key 4: Furniture – Fabric also absorbs sound so upholstered seating, including seats on wood chairs will help reduce noise. Use upholstered ottomans instead of coffee tables and minimize size and number of wood or hard surface tables.
Key 5: Lighting – Avoid large, flat ceiling fixtures opting for longer, thinner lighting or recessed cans instead. Why? Less surface area to reflect noise.
So, parents, instead of using earplugs or turning off the sound, try adding some sound absorbers to the family room so you can enjoy the laughter and squeals of delight as your kids spend time together.
For more on Family Room Design Series see:
- Family Room Design Essentials
- Family Room Design: Tots to Kids
- Family Room Design: Tweens to Teens
- Family Room: Kids’ Media Central
- Family Room Noise Control