How do I prevent an echo in my home?

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Perhaps buy a smaller house.

An echo is a reflection of sound.  Sounds travels in waves, and just like light it can literally bounce of surfaces.  Some surfaces of course reflect more sounds than others.  That is because some surfaces absorb more of the sound than others.  An area rug, or wall to wall carpeting, can reduce the echo in any room, but sometimes it’s just not enough.    Other factors can increase or decrease an echo.  A dining room table is a large flat surface that reflects sound very well, it’s almost like having another wall.  At the least a large table will reduce the effectiveness of the rug underneath it.

  • Some ways to reduce an echo are more appealing to some than others; it would depend on what you’re comfortable with.  I’ll list a few here.
    Simply putting more furniture in the room that has an echo will reduce the echo.  While a table may not help very much at all, a soft couch will.  Obviously some rooms re just not meant to have couches in them, but most furniture will do something to reduce the echo.  The reason being is that the sound will have more items to be absorbed by.
  • Hanging paintings or other wall decorations will help.  Again the paintings will absorb some sound, and reduce the amount of space on your wall that will bounce sound back.  A wall tapestry may be a good option, they’re pretty much just big wall carpets.
  • Sounds boards do exists for some appropriate spaces.  Not everyone will want to put a large board up somewhere in their house, but they do come in different colors and maybe you would rather a sound board than an echo.  Here’s a link to a site that will help you should you choose to take this option.
    http://www.acousticalsurfaces.com/echo_eliminator/wall_panel.htm?d=0
  • Kitchens can be bad because of the cupboards, there are many flat areas for the sound to bounce off of.  You probably don’t want to put carpet up on the cupboard doors, and you may already have a couple area rugs put down.  One thing that can increase the effectiveness of an area rug is a cork underlay.  The cork is especially good at sound absorption.  Even a cork board on one of two cupboards may help, cork is a natural sound killer because it’s fifty percent air.  The sound is easily trapped, bouncing around in the cork.

Good luck.

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