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Improve The Acoustics & Soundproofing in Your Home Office
As working from home becomes the new normal for many people, you may be experiencing some sound issues in your new home office. Whether the acoustics in the room aren’t quite right, or your noisy neighbors are home all day, you may need to improve the soundproofing and acoustics of your home office.
Home Office Acoustic Panels
Although uncommon, your home office may require acoustic treatment if you experience too much echo within the space. You might notice that when you’ve emptied out a room completely, that the echo really starts to get bad. If the only furniture you put in that room is a desk and computer chair, that echo probably isn’t going to go away. Echo can negatively impact the sound quality in your office and make it hard for your coworkers on the telecon to understand you.
In order to correct the acoustics in a home office, you’ll need to add furniture that is plush, such as a small couch or love seat, some area rugs, and even some heavy curtains. If the echo and reverb are severe, you should consider installing sound absorbing panels on the walls.
Acoustic wall panels come in 1″ and 2″ thicknesses, and while 2″ panels perform better than 1″ panels, the 1″ panels will suffice in a home office setting. 2″ thick panels are only required where intense sound absorption is required (restaurants, churches, offices, conference rooms).
Reduce Noise from Getting in to Your Home Office
Now that your neighbors are also home all the time, they might seem a bit louder to you than they once were. For example, some of your neighbors might mow their lawn during the day, or let their barking dogs out more often while they work from home. Either way, you now have to deal with loud neighbors and hearing all their noise form your home office.
Consider treating the windows in your office with soundproofing curtains to avoid getting disturbed by your neighbors. Soundproof curtains are made using a commercial soundproofing material known as mass loaded vinyl, which, with an STC of 21, can reduce outside noise by about 60%-80%.
Whereas you might not have been home before with any of your kids, you might be now. Although you love them, if they’re running around, watching TV or crying, it’s probably hard to get any work done through the distractions. For any noise coming from inside of your house, you should soundproof the door or doorway of your home office.
Depending on the severity of the sound in your house, you may need to employ multiple products to soundproof the door to your home office:
- If you’re on a budget, start by installing door sweeps and seals to minimize air gaps around the door that are letting in sound.
- For more severe noise issues, you’ll likely need to invest in a soundproofing door cover. Similar to soundproof curtains, soundproof door covers are made with mass loaded vinyl at the core.
Residential Office White Noise to Decrease Distractions
One very low effort, but very highly effective way you can reduce the amount of outside noises that disturb you while you work, is to purchase a white noise machine and plug it in in your office. White noise, or sound masking, machines are typically used at the commercial level in large office spaces. However, they won’t have desktop units in large offices, they’ll have a whole system of hundred of commercial grade speakers installed in the ceiling.
White noise machines work by masking background noises that would otherwise be distracting to you. They do this by raising the background ambient noise level, so sounds that would have once seemed much louder with the lower background noise are no longer quite as jarring or distracting. This is also a way to make sure that no one else in your house can hear any sensitive work conversations you might be having in your office.
Improving Home Office Acoustics
So you’ve got a new home office, but it’s really hard to get any work done with the poor acoustics and outside noise from neighbors and house mates. In summary, here are a few tips to improve the soundproofing and acoustics within your home office:
- Furnish the space with plush furniture, such as a small couch, love seat, area rugs, and drapes..
- Install 1″ or 2″ thick acoustic wall panels, and spread them evenly throughout the space
- Soundproof the door to your home office with door sweeps and seals
- Use a soundproof door for heavy duty soundproofing on the office door