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Iceni Magazine | December 3, 2020

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Sound advice from Chameleon Interiors


Acoustics are an integral part of interior design


One of the leading trends in interior design is for modernity – clean-cut minimal interiors with very clinical spaces featuring lots of hard surfaces and few, if any, soft furnishings.  Whilst these sleek schemes may be easy on the eye, they’re not always easy on the ears – particularly for people with hearing problems who may find it difficult to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Sound has a strong influence on how you experience a space.  A room, be it a commercial or domestic, without any acoustic treatment, such as acoustic panels in the walls, or softer flooring, has a long reverberation time; noise is amplified and speech is difficult to understand.  There are also health and safety issues associated with constant exposure to loud noise with an increased risk of high blood pressure, headaches, heart disease and ulcers – and too much noise at night can contribute to significant sleep disorders.

There are lots of materials now available to designers to minimise the ambient level of noise.  On walls, textured acoustic panels, made of materials such as wool or polyester, and nearly invisible, can help to diffuse sound. Floor options like cork, or under-floor products that help acoustically, also make a huge difference.

A client may have a problem with one room or a whole house and, whether it’s a domestic or a commercial project, Chameleon Designs will look at the space, how the client uses it, and what they want its functionality to be.  It’s a visual and practical science – and whilst soft furnishings play a vital role it’s not just about colours, furnishings and curtains.

Emile Azan offers the following pointers for anyone looking advice on the acoustics in their interior…..

  • Consider the overall layout of the house and if possible separate noisy activities from quieter ones.
  • Avoid overly high ceilings in areas such as dining rooms where background noise may be difficult to control.
  • Try to remove or reduce background noise from sources such as music, machinery and air-conditioning.
  • Look at the layout of both the room and the furniture – whilst the preferred focus may be on the TV or feature fireplace, a scheme where the seating is arranged so guests are facing each other may be a more practical solution for people who have problems with their hearing.
  • Keep spaces open spaces with clear sight lines from one area to another to assist with communication between users.
  • Consult with an experienced interior designer who will advise on the latest acoustic options available.


Acoustic wall panels are available in striking contemporary designs.

About Chameleon Designs…

Based in SE London and Norfolk, interior design consultants Chameleon Designs offer a combination of strong dynamic design and creative skills along with peerless project co-ordination to exceeding clients’ expectations in design, innovation and level of service.  Founder and creative designer Emile Azan is a member of the British Institute of Interior Designers, the regulatory body for Interior Designers in the UK.

The business was started 10 years ago and was based solely in London, but with an increasing number of requests and subsequent completed projects in the East Anglia area, a Norwich office has been opened to best serve clients in the region.

Chameleon Designs select the best suppliers, materials and tradespeople for each project according to each client’s brief and budget.  Before transforming any interior a full specification is drawn up to the client’s brief and includes architectural layouts, detailed finishes, lighting solutions, soft furnishings and attention paid to the acoustics.

For examples of the full range of interior design services offered by Chameleon Designs visit

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