Your home office should be just that: An office. It should be a place that inspires you to be productive and on-the-ball, and where you feel comfortable, but not too comfortable. What a home office shouldn’t be is a distraction, but it can very easily become one.
One of the most common offenders, as far as home office distractions go, is noise. It’s hard to block out the din of the rest of your family going about their day as you attempt to go about yours. The good news is that it’s not impossible to make your office space as silent as you want it. Some fixes require a bit of muscle, while others require only a simple switch or accoutrement. No matter which of the following five methods you implement, you’re sure to hear a whole lot of nothing on your next workday.
Turn It Down
Whether it’s the clash of cartoons on the TV or the whirring of an old washing machine, the noises in your home can sometimes be controlled by the click of a button — or the upgrade of an appliance. The latter might be hard to swing, especially if you’ve got a few appliances in need of a swap. However, the results could shock you, since newer appliances are designed to be as silent as possible.
In the interim, you could also have your appliances repaired in order to downplay any clanking, buzzing, squeaking, etc., so that you can work without hearing these avoidable distractions.
Seal the Door
That gap between the floor and the bottom of your door? That little gap can be the difference between all of the noise coming into your office and all of the noise staying out. The same goes for any cracks between the door and its surrounding frame.
That’s why some pioneering renters came up with a plan for sealing all of these gaps with simple weatherproofing strips and aluminum casing. In less than an hour, your solidly surrounded door could be blocking out a majority of the sounds echoing from the rest of your house.
Go Fuzzy on the Floor
Our voices echo in places like caves and foyers because they’re hard surfaces, and hard surfaces reflect sound waves. On the other hand, soft surfaces absorb them, so take a good, hard look at your office to see where you can add absorptive fabrics and textiles to make it more soundproof. You should also consider adding some rugs to the areas outside of your office from which the noises are traveling.
Move the Office Outside
If you can’t beat ‘em, run from ‘em — at least, as far as your home office is concerned. Sometimes, the fix you have in mind will fail as far as soundproofing goes. One surefire way to get your own quiet space is to go somewhere new. Turn neglected or unused corners of your home into usable space, and voila: You’ve got an office that nobody’s going to crash.
Take, for example, the garage. No one really hangs out there, but it’s got plenty of space available. All you have to do is make the garage a comfortable living space, which has more benefits than just added square-footage. By weather-stripping and adding insulation, it obviously also decreases energy loss to make your garage into an office.
Consider Your Remodeling Options
In a perfect world, one of the above tips would allow you to fix your home office without having to do a major renovation on it. Unfortunately, many homeowners will find they need even more to create a productive space.
Contractors everywhere can provide you with ideas as far as soundproofing home-improvement projects go. If the din comes from beneath you, you can pull up the carpets and lay down acoustic boards to block it. If it’s coming from the walls around you, add more insulation to catch it on the way in. You can do a similar project to take care of a loud ceiling.
Fortunately, at the end of any of these big projects, you’re almost certain to find yourself in an office that suits you and your ideal work environment. All you have to do is draw out the game plan that’ll get you there — so let’s get started!