There is an under-appreciated aspect of our homes that is a critical component of our overall physical and mental health. One that can contribute to, or adversely affect, our enjoyment of our homes. It is the embodiment of caring for our families, or when ignored, can cause us great embarrassment.
No, we’re not talking about what your home costs or your mortgage payment, though both might be affected. This isn’t about cooking healthy, having a place for everything and everything in its place, or thoughtfully designed outdoor living space, even though each of those is a worthy goal. We’re not even talking about building a stronger/safer home or integrating the latest technology to make out lives better.
No, this is something far simpler and more obvious. Something to be carefully and thoughtfully considered in our home’s design, in how our homes are built, and in product choices made throughout the home. And it’s not something new. Perhaps you heard (or are old enough to remember) the Simon and Garfunkel singing about it in the mid-1960s?
The Sound of Silence
We long for our homes to be our retreats. We yearn for sanctuary, for extended moments of peace and quiet, for an escape from all that life is throwing at us. We want our kids to be healthy and successful. We treasure time spent in our homes with good friends. Still, amidst the myriad of competing goals and decisions to be made when building a home, scarce attention is paid to what we can do to achieve the freedom we seek from unwanted noises.
Loud and annoying noises bring about stress, and stress is a contributing factor in many physical and mental health maladies. Couple that with the difficulties in getting to, and staying, asleep, brought on by interruptive noises, and you have a glimpse into how noise affects our health, well-being, and quality of life. In fact, we at Design Basics discovered that “de-stressing” was one of the four primary lenses women use when evaluating a home’s suitability for her and her household and design our homes accordingly.
Since the majority of us retreat to our bedrooms for maximum privacy, lots of attention is paid to not only the location of bedrooms but also which areas adjoin the bedrooms, in terms of noise potential. Sound isolation can at least partly be achieved through good design, with further steps including additional sound-deadening measures undertaken during construction as well as selecting quieter products such as solid core doors, bathroom exhaust fans, and even cabinetry hardware.
Noise distracts from concentration, learning, and performance. With so many households involved in remote learning and working from home, this benefit’s importance should not be understated. Kids doing homework at the kitchen island or table? Maybe not if you have a loud dishwasher. Do you foresee the sound of Fortnite infiltrating your home office and competing with your ZOOM call? There are multiple ways to help soundproof that wall shared with your family room.
It’s Thursday, and you’ve been looking all week toward having friends over tonight. Dinner’s coming along nicely, but you can’t quite hear what’s being said over the range hood’s whirr. Tomorrow is the big presentation, and you need that blue shirt that’s in the wash. You find yourself wishing you had a quiet, relatively low-vibration laundry pair. You find yourself becoming quite self-conscious when you seemingly hear everything when guests excuse themselves to use the bathroom.
Our relationships are enhanced by the attention we pay to sound deadening in our homes. We make better decisions when we’re not stressed out. Life is good when we get a full night’s sleep. From reading to meditation, pursuing hobbies, connecting on social media, and even taking classes, the absence of irritating clamor is music to our ears. Now you know – taking a little extra time and perhaps shifting your new home budget a bit can help you achieve serenity.
Sound like a plan?
Read more about the importance of quiet homes: Your Health Depends on It!