Every home has its fair share of noisy distractions. And unless you have soundproof walls, that goes for the haven of your home office as well. Listening to neighbors' conversations and clattering household appliances can make focusing on your work next to impossible. Fortunately, there are plenty of clever, inexpensive strategies that can help block out or absorb office noise. Use these noise reduction tips to create a quiet home office where you can be your most productive self.
Tone It Down With Headphones and White Noise
When it comes to effective noise reduction, start at your ears. A pair of high-quality headphones blocks out or muffles outside noise so you can work at your desk with no distractions. Noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds are especially useful if your home office is in a shared space, an environment in which eliminating ambient noise is often out of the question. Just be sure to choose padded, lightweight headphones for all-day comfort. Put them on to soak in the silence, or when you want to jam to your favorite tunes to lift your spirits.
If you want to tone down unwanted noise without blocking out all outside sounds, go for a good set of speakers arranged in the corners of the room. That way, you can fill the office with your preferred sounds and dampen the ambient noises outside. Put on some soft instrumental music or a calming white noise soundtrack, such as falling rain, to cloak exterior sounds. Other options for white noise include a fan blowing in the office and decorative indoor fountains.
Use Office Furnishings to Absorb the Noise
If you're tired of hearing lawnmowers and barking dogs, it's time for a little redecoration. Some furnishings can actually absorb sound for a quieter work environment when placed in the right area of your home office. Start by covering any ceramic or hardwood floors with area rugs or carpet, and consider hanging a heavy tapestry on the wall. The thin glass panes of many home windows let in much more noise than necessary, so install thick drapes made of heavy fabric to dampen the sounds. The more fabric and soft material you have in the room, the better.
Looking to rearrange or buy new office furniture? Take the opportunity to help reduce noise levels by lining shared walls or those that face outside with tall furniture such as bookcases and vertical storage cabinets. Also try to cover as much of the wall as possible without creating a crammed look. Keep in mind that even hanging cork boards, wall panels and hanging organizers play a role in absorbing sound.
Add Finishing Touches for a Quiet Home Office
The right audio technology and home office setup are essential for noise reduction, but a few extra tricks can leave your office even more silent. During your next office session, pinpoint which home appliances and devices are bothering you the most, and try to find new places for them on the opposite end of the home. Don't forget to check the office itself for devices that may be irritating, such as ticking clocks or ringing landline phones.
Also, block out some noise by sealing cracks in your home office's door and window frames. Run foam, neoprene or weather-stripping tape along the cracks, pressing firmly to help the adhesive stick. Search for any other cracks that may be letting in noise, such as those between floorboards. To finish the sealing process, find a small floor rug that fits under the crack of the office door, and place it in the entryway.
While soundproofing materials and acoustical products can make a dent in your home office budget, many of these simple tricks help reduce noise without the high cost, boosting your productivity in the process. Prepare all your acoustic devices before starting each work session, and don't forget to set some "quiet hours" for your household to remind family members to keep the noise down.
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