A little bit of sound absorption, some bouncing back for a surround feel, the right placement, and some volume adjustment – that’s all it takes to elevate many a listener’s experiences.
Perhaps your dining table could be placed slightly to the left for better reflection? Or maybe your curtains need to be closed for perfect absorption? I have found several acoustic treatments that contribute to better sound quality.
However, one very important thing to remember is that acoustic treatments vary not only from the living room to living room but also from sound to sound!
Your hi-fi speaker systems may struggle to sound amazing in your living room when you play Super Bass (Niki Minaj) but may sound impeccable when you are watching Top Gun with the same settings.
Many of my guests have noticed how well my living room sounds, regardless of what I am playing. This is because I have adjusted my acoustic treatments to suit the type of music or movie I am enjoying at any given time.
And that is our topic for today. I will go over some of the best acoustic treatments for your living room to help you understand what you can do for a better experience overall.
Best Acoustic Treatments for Your Living Room
Curtains are great for acoustic treatments because they can be used for both absorption and diffusion. When closed, they will absorb sound, which reduces echo in your living room.
When open, they will diffuse sound, which means the sound will bounce off of them and create a more surround sound feel.
Types Of Curtains & Their Effects
There are a few types of curtains that you can use for acoustic treatments, and each one will have a different effect on the sound in your living room.
Remember, these tips aren’t just for your hi-fi speakers but also for your musical instruments.
- Absorbent Curtains: These curtains are made of materials that absorb sounds, such as velvet or thick cotton. They are great for reducing echo in your living room.
- Diffusive Curtains: These curtains are made of materials that diffuse sounds, such as sheer fabric or thin cotton. They are great for creating a more surround sound feel in your living room.
If you are looking for absorption, it is a good idea to keep your curtains closed. However, if you want to bounce the sound back, it is a good idea to keep them open with the windows closed.
One more thing: bouncing the sound only works best if you have the primary subwoofer or the center channel right in front of the window. Otherwise, the sound may come off as a bit too dispersed and ruin your experience.
This shows just how important the source of the sound is. Ideally, you need to make acoustic treatments for absorption and bounce-backs until the entire sound reaches you (and your audience).
Carpets are also great for acoustic treatments because they can help to reduce echo in your living room.
They do this by absorbing sound, which prevents it from bouncing around the room and creating an echo. Of course, this means that the sound does not reach you from the ground, which may not always be the perfect solution.
If you have hardwood floors, for instance, and are watching an action movie, it would be better to remove the carpet for a while. This will help you “feel” the sound even more.
However, for music, absorption is usually a very good idea.
Types of Carpets For Better Acoustic Treatments
Just like there are different types of curtains, there are also different types of carpets that you can use for acoustic treatments.
- Loop Pile Carpets: These carpets have a shorter pile and are made of tightly woven loops of wool or synthetic fiber. They are great for absorbing sound and preventing echo.
- Cut Pile Carpets: These carpets have a longer pile and are made of wool or synthetic fibers that have been cut. They are also great for absorbing sound and preventing echo.
If you are looking for a sound-dedicated carpet that will help reduce echo in your living room, choosing a loop pile or cut pile carpet is a good idea.
These types of carpets are specifically designed to absorb sound and prevent it from bouncing around the room.
Here is an anecdote for you to give you a better idea of the difference that carpets can make.
I had a friend who used to live in an apartment with tiled floors and no carpets. He would always complain about how the sound would echo in his living room, and it was very difficult for him to enjoy movies or music.
However, once he got married and got carpets, he found the sound much more pleasant and easy to listen to.
The guy had to get married just to get better sound quality. I could argue with him that it was all about acoustics, but why ruin a perfectly good thing, right?
Furniture can also be used for acoustic treatments. This is because some furniture is specifically designed to absorb sound.
Types of Sound-Absorbing Furniture
There are a few different types of furniture that you can use for acoustic treatments.
- Upholstered Furniture: This type of furniture is made of materials that absorb sounds, such as fabric or leather. Upholstered furniture is great for reducing echo in your living room.
- Bookcases: Bookcases are also great for acoustic treatments because they can be used to diffuse sound. When you place a bookcase in front of a speaker, the sound will bounce off of the bookcase and create a more surround sound feel.
- Couch. These act as absorbent material. Couches don’t make much of a difference usually, as you may be seated on them while watching a movie or listening to music. Of course, the sound does get absorbed if you aren’t on the couch.
- Coffee and dining tables. Coffee tables (and other tables, for that matter) offer a reflective surface for the sound to bounce off of. This doesn’t always translate into great sound quality or listening experience, though. Yes, people across the room get to hear the sound louder than before, but the sound also loses quite a bit of its fidelity while getting there.
4. Acoustic Panels
Acoustic panels are another great option for acoustic treatments. They are specifically designed to absorb sound and reduce echo.
Acoustic panels are available in various sizes, colors, and shapes. You can even get them custom-made to fit your specific needs.
If you are looking for an acoustic treatment that will help reduce echo in your living room, choose a panel specifically designed for that purpose.
These panels can also act as sound soundproofing insulation for acoustic treatments. These panels are specifically designed to absorb sound and reduce echo.
There are a few different types of soundproofing insulation that you can use for acoustic treatments. Two of the most common ones I’d recommend include:
- Fiberglass Insulation: This type of insulation is made of glass fibers designed to absorb sound. Fiberglass insulation is a great choice for acoustic treatments because it is very effective at reducing echo.
- Polyurethane Insulation: This type of insulation is made of foam designed to absorb sound. Polyurethane insulation is also a great choice for acoustic treatments because it is very effective at reducing echo.
These are just a few of the best acoustic treatments that you can use for your living room. Remember, the goal is not just to reduce echo or bounce the sound backward to give you a “3D” feel.
Instead, you also need to ensure that the sound reaches you (and your guests) first in its best form before spreading across the room.
A passion for writing and ongoing research projects gives Catherine an incredibly broad knowledge of all things. She has authored an incredible number of articles and can be found in the wilderness when not attached to technology or listening to podcasts.