Open Family Room is too loud- what can I do to quiet the space down?
March 8, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Any ideas would be appreciated. My family room has an open floor plan- it has a sloped ceiling and the upper portion of the wall has openings to our upstairs making it very loud upstairs. It has two tall french doors on one side and opens to the kitchen, office and hallway on the lower level. You can hear someone eating cereal in the kitchen in the mornings- we have to tiptoe while kids are trying to sleep and forget about watching tv at night....... What can I do to buffer the noise? The room itself isn't very large- 16x20 and it has sky lights which I feel are necessary for light in the room- otherwise, I'd consider putting a ceiling over it. Or maybe I do put a ceiling over it but redesign it?

Here are some photos of the room- thanks Houzz people.
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There are several things that could be done. You could add wall to wall draperies; acrylic panels or glass panels. If you added both glass panels and draperies they would not only block the noise, but block light to the bedrooms as well.
0 Likes   March 8, 2013 at 5:11AM
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Fabric absorbs sound. Your house is decorated beautifully and traditionally. You could pull off adding creamy white curtains to the arches. Sewn back to back so that you see the finish on both sides. Draw them back with tie backs during the day...drop them for noise control at night..
3 Likes   March 8, 2013 at 5:13AM
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How about French doors between family room and kitchen? That way you could eat cereal and make coffee without waking the kids.

I agree that filling in the arches with glass would help reduce sound transmission. You could also convert the railings to half walls and then put glass above.

Another option is to look for a different room to put the tv in. Some people use a small den with doors instead of a large room for the tv. Other people keep a tv in both rooms and use whichever is best at the time.
0 Likes   March 8, 2013 at 5:23AM
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Do you close the bedroom doors at night? Another idea would be to turn the inside of the doors into a padded bulletin board. Some batting and an attractive fabric, criss-crossed with ribbon would add some soundproofing and a place for the kids to hang favorite pictures without making holes in the walls. [houzz=
2 Likes   March 8, 2013 at 5:27AM
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If budget allows consider installing glass panels in the openings to balance the light and noise isolation.

1 Like   March 8, 2013 at 5:40AM
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Thanks for the ideas- I really appreciate the responses. I like the double sided curtain idea-maybe there are some particular fabrics that absorb sound well? I'll try hanging some quilts over the openings for the weekend and see if it makes a difference. If not- putting glass panels would be my next option.
2 Likes   March 8, 2013 at 7:58AM
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My friend's home has the same problem. If you sleep in the guest suite above the garage you can still hear her hubby snore at the opposite end of the house. An open upstairs just magnifies the sound from below like a tunnel. Try drapes on a decorative rod at each opening. Country Curtains has Hyde Park Velvet (good insulator) curtains in six colors. They could be pulled closed at night and opened to stack back during the daytime. CC will do these particular ones custom if you wanted them doubled, but the off-the-shelf ones come up to 108" length and 98" wide per pair. They will send out ten free swatches to see and feel. 1 800 876-6123
0 Likes   March 8, 2013 at 8:56AM
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Thanks for the curtain information- probably a lot less $$ than having custom done. And if I did it myself it probably wouldn't happen at all :)
1 Like   March 8, 2013 at 9:05AM
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