Even if you’ve nailed the background, got your standing desk, and hung your favourite art on the walls, bad acoustics and unnecessary echoes in your home office will still make it feel...uncomfortable. It’s hard to put a finger on why exactly echo ruins a space, but it definitely has something to do with what feels “natural”. When we’re working, especially from home, we want to feel like we’re in a space where we belong. When a room is full of echo, it makes it feel temporary, unfinished, and unwelcoming. It also sounds ridiculous on zoom calls, which is just as important.
Anyway, the good news is that there are some great ways to reduce the echo in your home office, and if you’re lucky, it’ll even make the aesthetics better, too.
One last thing to note before we jump in - a lot of these tips, tricks, and products work great in conjunction with each other. There may not be one silver bullet to give you Abbey Road-levels of acoustic balance, but with a few tweaks, you can get close (enough).
We’re gonna start nice and easy (and obvious) here, but you should definitely consider a rug. Your floor is one of the biggest surfaces in the whole room and you better believe sound is bouncing all over it, especially if it’s concrete or hardwood. Personally, having a chair that's half on the rug and half on the floor is in my top three biggest pet peeves, so make sure the rug is either under your chair and desk space or somewhere behind it. There are great ways to style both.
2. Accent Furniture
This one definitely won’t be a silver bullet, but it will look great. The more you’re able to fill your space, especially with soft fabrics and leathers, the more sound will be absorbed. Personally I love the idea of having a couch, or at least an accent chair in the office. Somewhere to “get the creative juices flowing” or “brainstorm” or “kickback” or “reset” or… ok I’ll stop. But seriously having another place to sit other than the office chair is a dream, and if it helps reduce echo, I’m even more excited about it.
3. Sound Absorbing Acoustic Panels
I know what you’re thinking. That could mean a lot of things. But no, I’m not talking about red and black foam triangles stapled to your wall. There’s some acoustic panels, like these wood slat wall panels, that may as well be art pieces. Not only that, but they boast Class A sound absorption, depending on how you mount them. If style and function is what you’re after, this might be your best bet. The panels come pre-assembled, so they can pretty much be installed with as little as a drill if DIY projects aren’t your thing (not judging).
Yeah, that’s right. Take those vats of knowledge sitting in storage and put them on your walls! First of all, they belong in your office as they signal to whoever’s on the other side of your zoom call that you aren’t totally faking your way through your entire career (and life). Whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter! Books look great, they signal intelligence, and… oh right, the echo. Yeah. Books actually reduce echo too! Well, sort of. If you compare a bookshelf to a blank wall, a bookshelf will not reflect as much sound. Good enough?
5. Curtains over Blinds
If you’re practical like me, blinds make sense. But if you care about acoustics and aesthetics like me, blinds don’t make sense.
It’s time to make a decision.
Just kidding, it’s not even a question. You need curtains! Stop trying to blackout your office like you’re Bruce Wayne, accept that sunlight is good for the soul and you need it. Get some curtains.
Heavier curtains will also reduce echo significantly, but I’ve chosen the light sheer ones because they look so beautiful and I don’t care that they block no light and absorb no sound. Do nice acoustics look good on Pinterest?? Didn’t think so!
If you’ve learned anything here, it’s that we’re not willing to sacrifice aesthetics for acoustics, sorry. No foam, no bass traps, no felt curtains. But there are still a few options that can please your ears without disappointing your eyes.
If we’re being honest, having a sound absorbing yet decorative wood slat wall sounds like the perfect office makeover, but what do you think?
Let us know in the comments ;)