In many commercial office spaces, sound privacy is an important consideration in the design process, as matters of confidentiality are often discussed between teams and clients. While it’s hard to make most offices 100% sound-proof, there are many creative and effective ways to improve overall sound reduction.
Here are three simple ways to boost the Sound Transmission Coefficient, (STC) in your office space without sacrificing design or style.
Balance Out Hard Surfaces With Softer Elements
In boardrooms which are filled with hard surfaces like long tables, adding softer design elements helps to muffle sound. Drapes and area rugs are simple ways to insulate and improve sound reduction.
If hard surfaces are a must, wood is a better insulator than glass. Wherever possible, try to utilize wooden doors instead of glass, as you will get a better seal around the door and less sound transfer through the material.
In addition to easy fixes like these, professional designers go a step further and incorporate special acoustic systems that mask sound and look sleek, such as suspended acoustic felt panels.
Get Creative With Open Spaces
Open concept spaces have increased in popularity lately. It’s absolutely possible to reduce sound in offices with an open layout; It just involves a bit of creativity, science and innovative design systems.
Offices for banking institutions are great examples of this. They typically have large open concept work areas and require privacy for confidentiality purposes. For many of our clients, our team utilizes special sound masking systems that are integrated into the ceiling, much like recessed downlights.
They disperse non-disruptive white noise into the environment that muffles sound in a general area, so if you are standing at opposing ends of the room, you won’t hear what is going on 20 feet away.
Use Sound Baffles and Felt Panels
Utilizing acoustic wall panels is another stylish and effective way to improve sound absorption. In the past five years or so, felt tiles have been upgraded to be more aesthetically pleasing, design-focused and sustainable while retaining their effectiveness at masking sound.
They come in different geometric shapes, not just for looks but specifically for sound-masking. If you’ve ever looked up at the ceiling in a movie theatre or been in a restaurant where you couldn’t really hear the table next to you, you’ll often see felt or wool panels on the ceiling that are different shapes and configurations. These not only look creative but are designed to help deflect sound or refocus it to one area.
There you have it! These are only a few of the many creative ways clever design can help mask sound in commercial spaces. Click here to view our latest projects, or reach out for more information