The problem of sound echo is an annoying one. If you are experiencing it right now, then you know exactly how problematic it can be. If a room has an echo, then it means you won’t be able to play anything loudly as it will result in a chaos of sounds bouncing off each other in a noisy mess. This is quite a common problem actually.
The larger the room, the more the echo resonance. Especially in office conference rooms with glass walls, the echo may sometimes be unbearable. Hard surfaces like glass, tile, and wood, contribute to the reverberating echo in rooms.
Many people undertake a full-scale soundproofing project to get rid of echo in a room. The problem with soundproofing is that it is usually very expensive and will blow a hole in your pocket. But the good news is that you can make a room less echoey without spending an exorbitant amount of money.
15 Cheap ways to reduce echo in a room
Here is a compilation of 15 cheap ways to reduce echo in a room:-
Start echo reduction from your speakers
If you begin the echo reduction project from where the sound originates in your room then the rest of it will fall into place more easily.
That is to say, set some acoustic barrier in front of the speakers so that the first reflection of the sound is stopped or at least reduced to some extent.
This will be especially helpful for those who have home theaters with surround sounds.
An acoustic treatment on every corner where a speaker is located is sure to reduce echo in a room even if by a little.
Acoustic Foam is pretty much a dedicated product to absorb sound waves and reduce echo.
It is one of the best ways of reducing echo in a room cheaply.
Due to its sound absorption capacity, you will see all music production studios and voice recording rooms have walls lined with acoustic foam.
The material is not just capable of reducing echo but it can also scatter sound in different directions according to whichever pattern you choose to install.
Sound recording studios often exploit this feature to add to the unique sound quality of their production.
Cover the windows with curtains
This is a cost-effective and cheap way to reduce echo in a room. As it has been already mentioned, hard surfaces like drywall and glass reflect the sound that causes the annoying echo in rooms.
One way to stop that is to cover up your glass windows with curtains. When you do that, the sound reaches the curtain fabric before it reaches the window and thus some echo is reduced.
Better still if you use soundproof curtains that are specially designed to soak up sound. This not only helps to remove echo from a room but also prevents outside noise from reaching inside your room.
Thus if you want to enjoy a quiet time inside your room, these soundproof curtains should be your go-to choice.
Fill the room up with furniture
You might have noticed that the echo in empty rooms is much more than in rooms that are filled with people or furniture.
The simple science behind this is that in an empty room the sound finds no barrier and freely bounces between walls for as long as it doesn’t die out. But in rooms filled with furniture, the sound will have many hindrances before it can hit a surface far enough to echo from.
Thus if you fill a room with furniture, it will not only be a good investment for your room but also help to stop a room from echoing.
Fiberglass is a very common insulation material and it also reduces echoing in a room. Like acoustic foam, it can absorb sound within itself, preventing it from scattering and causing a reverberation.
Fiberglass is quite cheap but if you want better results and are able to extend your budget a bit, then you go for Rockwool which is a similar material for insulating walls but has superior sound absorption characteristics. However, it is kind of expensive and if you wish to not spend a lot of money then don’t worry, we have plenty of other fixes for you.
Get a rug for the floor
Sounds can echo from the hard surface of the floor as much as they can from walls and windows. Thus an effective and cheap way to get rid of echo in a room is to cover the floor with a fluffy rug.
Rugs however are best when it comes to high-frequency echoes and do not work well with sounds that have a lower frequency. Also, this goes without saying but the thicker the rug, the more will be the sound absorption capacity and echo reduction.
Installing floor underlays
For some, fluffy rugs may cause clutter along with furniture in their rooms. Plus not all kinds of rooms are suitable for keeping rugs. Thus an alternative to rugs is needed in order to reduce echoing from the floor. Installing floor underlays is an alternative that is cheap and efficient.
The floor underlays are installed under the floor so hiring a professional might extend your budget a bit but it will be worth it. The original flooring will have to be removed and then the underlays have to be put in place.
For floors that are made with concrete or marble, the underlays can be put in place underneath a thin rubber carpet and it will serve the same function.
Fill your room with plants
Yes, you read that right, adding potted plants to your room can stop echo in the room. This method is a quite popular choice among many because it only achieves echo reduction but also is a natural and cheap way to do the same.
There are sound-absorbing plants that you can consider getting for reducing the echo in rooms. Besides that, any plant with large leaves is good at stopping sound waves from traveling and causing an echo.
But while you consider getting plants for your room, do consider the type of room you are getting them for. If it’s a personal bedroom, then you may not want plants there even at night when you sleep. This method is most effective if the room is a sitting room or maybe a drawing-room.
Hang Room-divider curtains
If the room is very large then the echo will be very loud as there isn’t any barrier to stop the sound before it reflects off the hard surface. In such rooms, room divider curtains are a great way to stop echo in the room.
You can hang it from a beam in the middle of the room and make the size of the room smaller. Well, the mechanism behind this is giving the sound waves less distance to travel and to cause a reverberating echo.
Room divider curtains can also be hung against the walls as an echo-reducing technique. These not only stop the echo but also can be a great aesthetic addition to the room and also comes in handy for privacy reasons when multiple people have to use a large room.
Fill the walls with paintings and tapestries
Covering hard surfaces is the best way to absorb sound that reflects on it. One way to cover the said walls is by hanging a painting or a tapestry on them.
The fabric of the tapestry or the painting will absorb the sound before it hits the wall thus reducing the echo to some extent. Basically, layering up hard walls with anything soft will curtail the echoing in your room.
Installing ceiling banners
Depending on how extreme the echoing problem in your room is, you should also consider soundproofing your ceiling. While thinking up ways to reduce echo in a room, people often forget about the ceiling completely. Do not do that. After all, the ceiling is also a hard reflective surface.
Installing fabric-wrapped ceiling banners can help a lot when it comes to stopping the contribution of a ceiling in making your room echoey. You can also vertically hang acoustic baffles on your ceiling to achieve the same result.
MLV stands for Mass Loaded Vinyl and it is made up of Vinyl PVC and Calcium Carbonate. MLV is like a thick blanket that is used for absorbing sound and canceling noise.
The process to install these on your walls is quite simple but it is best if you get assisted by someone else. It is an excellent way to soundproof your walls and many recording studios also use it to create that effect of being in a vacuum when recording a voice or music.
Add bookshelves in your room
An alternative to filling your room with furniture is to fill it with bookshelves that are also full of books. Therefore you might consider turning the room with the echoing problems into a library and sitting room where you can utilize the books as well as enjoy peace and quiet.
Books absorb sound very well and are one of the few ways you can cheaply deal with sound waves of all frequencies. Since designated sound-canceling products cost a lot, adding bookshelves can be a great way to deal with the echo in your room without having to install something specifically for it.
Use Acoustic Blankets
Acoustic blankets are designed to efficiently absorb sound waves.
This is the perfect way to cancel echoing in the room with very hard walls and little furniture. This is why recording studios and warehouses use acoustic blankets to reduce echoing in rooms.
Recording studios can greatly benefit from acoustic blankets because these blankets essentially gobble up the sound and thus only the actual voice or the sound of the instrument is recorded. The quality of recording greatly increases when an acoustic blanket is used for echo reduction.
Use Cork acoustic, flooring, and ceiling tiles
Cork is a porous material that is more than ideal when it comes to absorbing sound. Although, covering entire walls with cork tiling will cost you quite a lot. But you can reduce the investment price by combining some of these other methods as well as applying cork tiling. The minimalist architects often use cork as both an aesthetic choice and an effective solution for echoing in rooms.
The best part of cork as a material is that it can be manipulated to make many things such as a floor underlay, rolling floor sheets, wall tiles, carpets, or floor tiles. It can be attached to the ceiling too.
Cork is most effective when it comes to canceling vibrations that sometimes accompany echoes. These days, cork tiles come in a variety of patterns engraved on them as well as a few different colors.
All of the methods that have been provided above are practical and are sure to cost you only a rational amount. However, do not try all of them in the same place or it will result in a cluttered space no more fit for a peaceful existence.
The trick is to utilize a good combination of methods. Such as, if you are using cork tiling on one wall then consider getting a tapestry for the other wall and a bookshelf for another. Also, never add too much furniture into a single room. Similarly covering all the walls with curtain room dividers will also not look very nice.
Most of these methods are DIY and can be done easily, while some may need professional assistance like floor underlaying or installing fabric ceiling banners.
Hopefully, one of these methods is sure to work out for you!