The Importance of Acoustics in Hotel Interior Design

The acoustics of a space doesn’t just refer to how well sound travels and presents itself – it is also about how you soundproof specific rooms, and make spaces feel welcoming with a balanced ambience that is neither too quiet nor too overwhelmingly noisy.

In hotels, acoustics play an integral role. Everything from wall structure to materials and the finer details can transform how a space sounds and feels to hotel guests.

And of course, bedrooms need to be as sound proof as possible. When selling a great night’s sleep, that’s a given – and something that furniture and supporting materials can help to achieve.

But hotel design goes much further than that, with acoustics an important focus point as early as guest arrival in your reception space. Here’s why – and how to make acoustics work for you rather than against you.

Why is acoustics so important in hotel communal spaces?

Hotel reception area acoustics

The lobby of a hotel is often busy with people checking in and out, phone calls being made, bags being moved, and guests navigating their way throughout the space on their way out for the day or towards the restaurant or bar for a little pick-me-up. What all of this activity means is that the hotel lobby can become a noisy and somewhat distracting space to be in, if the correct steps are not taken to manage the acoustics.

With that, we come to four key aspects of acoustics management in an inside space:

  1. Sound frequency and whether a sound is high or low-pitched
  2. Sound absorption or reflection, impacted by the materials in the space
  3. Sound diffusion and how sound is segmented
  4. Reverberation and how long a sound hangs around in echoes

With so many hotel lobbies using hard surface floors and minimal furniture to maximise the amount of floor space available and to make cleaning and maintenance easy to manage, the key issues with regards to acoustics are reverberation and sound reflection. The noise from footsteps, voices, rolling suitcases, and lift doors pinging can all become echoey as they bounce off the various hard surface in the lobby, if you don’t add acoustic management features to your hotel design.

How to manage acoustics throughout your hotel’s communal spaces

There are a few things you can do to minimise the reflection and reverberation of sounds throughout the lobby, restaurant, bars, and hallways of your hotel – without impacting the functionality of the setting.

By retaining hard floors and minimal furnishings to facilitate easy cleaning, sound is naturally going to be reflected off of the hard surfaces and reverberated throughout the space. However, adding suspended sound absorption materials from the ceiling of your lobby and communal spaces is an effective way of soaking up reflected sound – not to mention it doubles as a fun design feature.

Available in a multitude of colours, shapes, and finishes, these sound absorbers can be created in your branding colours to tie in with the aesthetic of your hotel and the experience you want to present to guests.

Additionally, hotel designers can integrate soft furnishings into the space with sofas and rugs having the same effect but on more of a ground level.

Tips to controlling the acoustics of a hotel bedroom

While the communal areas in your hotel require sound control to minimise reverberation and reflection, in the bedrooms it’s particularly important that the design of the space soaks up sound and contributes towards sound proofing the room.

As touched on in the previous section, materials and soft furnishings are an efficient and effective way to do this – and are far easier to integrate into a bedroom than a communal area. Everything from carpets to chairs, sofas, and the bed itself can help to absorb sound and stop it travelling.

And that’s not all. Sound diffusion can also be integrated into the space through the use of irregular surfaces – for example a cut out headboard which breaks the sound up as it travels thus facilitating a quieter space with less sound reflection and reverberation.

All of these factors, from the furnishings you use to the materials, surfaces, and finishes throughout your space, contribute towards the movement of sound and how it impacts each guest’s experience.

As an interior design company, acoustics is not a last minute consideration for us – rather, we seek to integrate it into the earliest concepts of each project.

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