There are two types of noise transference: airborne and impact. Airborne noise includes voices, music, the TV and so on. Impact noise includes footsteps or the whirring of a washing machine. The remedy for both is the same.
The way to reduce the level of noise coming in is to use a combination of a void and a sound-absorbent material. This is achieved by fixing a simple frame to the interior wall or floor in question to create a void. This could be a basic wood lath frame, but for best results try the lightweight steel frames available for this purpose. Rubbery sound-absorbent material is available by the roll.
Most modern frame and clip kits have a fairly minimal profile, so you shouldn’t lose more than a couple of inches out from the surface of the wall. Where this will start to add up is if three or four sides of a room need to be insulated, since 2 inches from each side will have a significant impact on overall floor space. So again, consider your options with care.
The best way to tackle this issue is with a ducting system. Centered on the kitchen or bathroom, for example, ducting will extract unwanted odors directly to the outside. In some cases, this may be achievable in voids between joists and stud work. However, exposed ducting, as seen in this living room, can make a great feature in contemporary interiors, so don’t worry if you’re struggling to hide it.
The best and most efficient way to use a kitchen ventilation system is not to blast it at maximum speed for 10 minutes, but to leave it on low for a longer time to create a gentle, consistent air flow. If you’re “landlocked” in the middle of an apartment building, with no possible way to duct out a fan, this limits you to a filtered exhaust fan. Be sure to change the filter frequently, otherwise the fan will become noisy and ineffective.
The most common areas from which your home is likely to be seen include patios, terraces, balconies and rooms with huge windows. All these areas are also the spots where you’ll want to enjoy privacy.
The key is to screen the view in both directions aesthetically. Floor-to-ceiling windows like the ones in this bedroom can be dressed according to who is visible to whom and the style of the windows. Options include one-way blinds that still let light through, Venetian blinds and window film.
In exterior areas, nobody wants to build a giant wall — or look at one, either. Instead, choose screening that’s easy on the eyes. Use an attractive rustic brick wall or a plastered wall with lights, for example, and be creative with fencing and plants. Bamboo or lattice, for example, is less imposing than a solid wall or hedge.
Tell us: What steps have you taken to improve the privacy of your home? Share your thoughts and photos in the Comments.