Once all walls were destined to be white, providing a clean canvas for interior designers to be creative with colorful, edgy furnishings, lighting, and accessories. During the past decade, new styles have entered the scene while the list of requirements for spaces has extended to include solving acoustic issues, too. Inevitably, this challenges designers to think outside the box upon devising the layout of a space and selecting the most appropriate solutions.
Luckily, there are plenty of beautiful and inspiring interior solutions that can be used to treat noise problems. In this short guide, we will dive into some of these, focusing primarily on acoustic wall coverings.
Perform a Google search on acoustic wallpaper, and you will get millions of hits with a variety of wall applications. These range from bulky, acoustic foam panels to almost paper-thin applications, which makes some people question whether or not acoustic wallpaper works. We will answer this question in the following section.
First, let’s have a look at some of the different types of acoustic wall coverings. Up until now, you may have noticed that we have used wallpaper and coverings interchangeably.
Generally, acoustic wallpaper or soundproof wallpaper is used to describe layers of papers that has a foam backing or other suitable material for sound insulation. However, you may also find another type of acoustic wallpaper made from sound-absorbing materials in its entirety. This type is often referred to as acoustic wall coverings. Consequently, there is no additional layers of material hampering the absorption and thereby the acoustic performance.
You may also find another type of acoustic wallpaper made from sound-absorbing materials in its entirety. This type is often referred to as acoustic wall coverings.
Let’s return to the question you’ve been awaiting the answer to. Do acoustic wall coverings really work? In short, the answer is yes, and no. Like any other acoustic solutions, it’s crucial to identify the acoustic problem you wish to solve as the solution will depend on this. For instance, do you want to prevent sound transfers or minimize background noise?
Looking at the performance of acoustic wall coverings, e.g., BuzziSkin Printed, BuzziBrickBack Architectural, and BuzziTile, these are perfect for reducing mid-frequency and high-frequency range noise as the graph shows below. But what does that mean?
The mid-frequency range is typically named speech frequency (250 – 2500 Hz), which is where human speech is discerned. As a result, acoustic wall coverings, like BuzziSkin and BuzziSkin Printed, are excellent solutions in hallways, classrooms, and meeting rooms where the human voice is the main source of unwanted noise and reverberation. Be inspired by some of the examples below.
High-frequency noise (2500 – 12000 Hz), on the other hand, includes everything from ringtones, clicking sounds and typing sounds. High-pitch sound reflections, coming from kids’ voices are another example of high-frequency range noise that can be reduced using acoustic wall coverings. As such, these are very versatile, providing the perfect backdrop for enclosed office spaces or breakout areas alike, as shown in the reference below with BuzziSkin Printed Camouflage combined with BuzziNordic ST200, providing the perfect backdrop for relaxing.
We’ve already highlighted a few of the characteristics and benefits of acoustic wall coverings, for instance, versatility. Available in a wide range of colors, prints, and patterns, they suit almost any space. But that isn’t all.
All of our wall coverings are made from recycled PET felt, providing users with a tackable surface. Pin your crazy ideas, your favorite photo from the last company party or to-dos that you can’t forget.
Another benefit of wall applications is that they are easy to install—no need for hammer and nails or any construction work. The self-adhesive backing makes the installation very straightforward.
Browsing through some of the examples we’ve provided above, you will notice that acoustic wall coverings are ideal for personalizing your space. Of course, there are plenty of other ways to add personality to an area, but it’s hard to beat a jungle or camouflage wall, right?
Until now, we have primarily focused on the acoustic aspects of wall coverings, acknowledging that they do not solve all sound issues. Generally, before you invest in any acoustic solutions, ask yourself what need you’re trying to accommodate. For instance, are you really looking for acoustic treatment? What type of acoustic problem are you facing? We help you detect this in one of our other guides.
Depending on the problem you wish to solve, wall coverings may not be the most suitable solution. For instance, if your issue is linked to sound transfers or privacy challenges, consider free-standing room dividers and screens like BuzziBlinds, BuzziScreen or BuzziFalls Standing. The good news is that these are going to be available in a printed version with the new BuzziFelt Printed! Stay tuned for more news on this. So, if you’ve fallen in love with the printed wall applications, you can match them with your favorite free-standing elements.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking for aesthetic improvements, you can go wild to make your space more visually appealing. Play around with different prints and striking colors or opt for a muted color scheme depending on the atmosphere you aim to create.
All the acoustic wall coverings presented so far are excellent for reducing mid-frequency and high-frequency range noise. However, if you wish to optimize the effectiveness, there are a few additional measures you may take.
Following the size and activity of the space, you may enhance the room with other acoustic solutions placed closer to the sound source. In meeting areas, acoustic lighting adds that extra light output you often need while helping create a more acoustically well-balanced space—like here at New Wave in Maryland with BuzziBell and BuzziSkin.
Sometimes you don’t have to look far in your search for sound-absorbing materials. Soft furnishings, for instance, upholstered lounge seaters or even chairs, like BuzziBounce with a soft shell, are great add-ons for improved acoustics.
Now it’s your turn. Be creative and bring back your walls to life. Remember, life is too short for boring walls.