An echo is a sound that often occurs in an empty or barely furnished room and it is often not something aspired for. This article will provide you with tips to help solve the echo problem. If you had to make a choice on where to control echo, I suggest you pay attention to rooms persons tend to spend their time in. That includes offices, living rooms and conference rooms.
So if you’re thinking of how to eliminate echo in room space, then you’ll know that it is only reasonable to want to eliminate echo in a room where people would likely spend a significant amount of time. Echoes will definitely make conversations weird and uncomfortable like something from a spooky movie scene.
Imagine being in a conference room and voices echo during a serious business meeting. That would be weird, right?
If this might pose to be an issue for you soon or in the future, I will share with you simple things you can do wade off an echo in your room. Before I divulge the steps, let’s take a moment to learn why some rooms have an echo in the first place. After that, I’ll hop right into how you can make that a thing of the past.
Why Does Your Room or Office Space Have an Echo?
Talking in an empty room and listening to your voice echo might seem like fun initially but, it is likely not something you would like to continue for hours. Are you curious as to why empty rooms produce echo but fully stocked and well-furnished rooms do not?
To satisfy your curiosity, we just need to recall basic physics. In an empty room, sound made meets with no obstacle and only comes in contact with the floor and walls in a room. That causes reverberation as the sound bounce off the walls and floors. Rooms filled with furniture and other things do not have this problem.
It might be a bit more difficult to manage echo in bigger rooms, especially offices with high ceilings. There is still enough space for sound to travel around even in the presence of some furniture.
In that case, you will need to fill up space with more materials that can absorb sound. A conference room, for instance, might just have a few chairs and a table, decorative plants and maybe a television set, but you will rarely find anything else. Some of these elements might help reduce the echoing effect.
To tackle the issue of echo, you’ll have to make sure noise doesn’t jump off from hard surfaces. Floors, for instance, generate an echo. The harder the surface, the more echoes it will produce.
Softer surfaces, however, help absorb sound or dampen it. The best way to prevent echoes will be to fill your room or office with soft surfaces. Floors in a room or an office can be covered with rugs or carpet.
Best Materials and Techniques for Cancelling Echoes
As I explained earlier, echo occurs due to the free movement of sound waves in a room with little or no obstacle. With more obstacles, the movement of sound is constantly distorted and sound waves lose energy faster than when they only bounce off of the walls and floors.
Usually, tables, chairs and some other furniture are made from hard materials like wood or metal. These materials do not do a great job of preventing echoes. Softer and fluffy furniture like the sofa is ideal. They absorb sound better than hard furniture.
Materials that are widely used as sound absorbers are made from foam, fabric and other soft materials. Alongside their soundproofing effects, these materials also help improve acoustics in a room. We have three types of sound-absorbing materials, they include:
- Porous Absorbers: foam, textiles and wool insulation
- Membrane or Panel Absorbers: Furniture, floors, doors and windows
- Resonance Absorbers: distort noise by oscillation
Tips for Reducing Echo in a Room or Office
It is time to discuss practical things you can do to reduce echo in a room. There are aesthetic and professional options amongst them, although a few aesthetic options will have professional alternatives.
Hang Curtains or Tapestries
Hanging heavy and thick curtains around a room (including the walls) will soften the effect of echo and reverberation in that room. All you will need are some rails, rods, brackets and a drill. You can purchase these at the nearest hardware store. If you are lucky, your room might already have curtain rails.
If you need some help to get it done, simply hire someone to do it for you and save yourself the trouble. Or, you can roll up your sleeves and get the job done. You can also get soundproof curtains.
For a professional or official look, you can opt for these sound insulation curtains – a grey or dark coloured curtain. However, you can choose a colourful design to beautify and complement your living room. Curtains can be used in rooms at home and also in an office.
Use Fabric Blinds Instead of Metal Blinds
As we know, softer surfaces are better for preventing echoes. Fabric blinds will dampen noise, on the other hand, metal blinds are hard and sound will simply bounce off of them.
In addition to metal blinds allowing echoes, they are also noisy. They are annoyingly noisy when the wind rustles over them or when you try to arrange them unlike their counterparts, the fabric blinds.
Place a Rug or Carpet on your floor
A rug or a carpet does more than beautify your room and make it appear more homely. It also helps with sound absorption as it is a softer surface than the hard floors. To get the best outcome, cover every inch of the floor from wall to wall. Doing so, you reduce sound echo to a significant level.
A rug or a carpet contributes to the overall appearance of a room. Thankfully, they come in different patterns, colours and design, so, you can choose one well suited to your personal taste. You can also be a bit more decorative and hang up rugs just like a curtain. On the other hand, rugs are not ideal for decorating an office. A carpet will be more suited for an office or a business room.
Get a Couch
I have mentioned a few times how softer surfaces are better for absorbing sound. A couch is an example of soft furniture. Sofas made out of fluffy, soft cushiony materials will absorb more sound than those made with leather.
Although, they will both obstruct and absorb sound. When arranging or decorating a new empty room, you can try switching furniture positions or adding more till you feel the echo in the room is well dampened.
Arrange Books in a Bookshelf
To prevent echo, we are trying to fill up more space so we obstruct the unrestricted frolicking of sound waves, right? One way to do that is to arrange books in a bookshelf, preferably a wooden shelf. Paper is a good sound-absorbing material. Filling up your shelf with books will help manage echo.
I recommend getting a bookshelf without back panels. Back panels are known to transfer sound waves to the hard surfaces behind them and that allows a level of echo. Those with back panels, however, dissipate the sound waves that come in contact with them and by so doing, reducing echo.
Get Some Cushions and Blankets
Just like couches and curtains, cushions and blankets will also help with sound absorption. This option, however, might not be best for an office or a conference room. Cushions and blanket make a room appear homely and welcoming and that is not exactly desirable in an office.
Blankets are used as a cheaper soundproofing option and it also helps improve acoustics. Drummers can make use of blanket to prevent echo and reverberation from their drum set. You can totally take advantage of the soundproofing effect of a blanket. Just like you hang tapestries or curtains, a blanket can also be hung on the wall.
Apply Acoustic Foam and Fabric Panels
For persons who would like to improve acoustics in their room, acoustic foam is a great example of a porous absorber. You can order these highly rated acoustic foam panels or simply purchase at any home improvement store. The acoustic foam absorbs sound trying to make their way to a wall.
You can apply acoustic foam to your walls and ceilings with adhesive spray. Acoustic foams influence the appearance of a room and they are available in various colours, shapes and sizes. Acoustic fabric panels are equally usefully in preventing sound from bouncing off walls.
Lower High Ceilings
The height of a room also influences the amount of echo in a room. You might need to lower your ceiling to successfully reduce echo in your room.
You will probably need to hire professionals to help construct a new ceiling. Or, as an alternative, you can stick with options mentioned above like applying acoustic foams to your ceiling directly or decorative materials like chandeliers and mouldings. These would act as obstacles for sound waves that would naturally bounce off the ceiling.
Add Plants to Your Room
Another beautifying and sound-absorbing element to add to your room is a plant. You can have plants in your rooms at home and in your office. It is more advisable to get aesthetic plants as you won’t need to care for it as much as natural plants.
Final Thoughts on How To Eliminate Echo In Your Room Or Office Space
If you read through this article, I’m sure you have learned different ways to both decorate your room and reduce echoes. A quiet fan is also a good option to have in your room.
Before trying the more complicated methods, I suggest you try something simple like getting a potted plant or some blankets and see if you are satisfied with the outcome. Bear in mind that each room is unique, so, you might have to try different methods and readjust furniture till you get the perfect design that eliminates any trace of echo.