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Design Inspiration

Keeping the Silence in Tight Quarters: Easy Acoustic Fixes for Small Spaces

April 19, 2024

Loud noises come in all shapes and sizes that aren’t limited to affecting only large, expansive spaces. While these extensive, open spaces can amplify and easily carry unsolicited sound across and back, small spaces can also be hotbeds for distracting disturbances. Attenuating these more compact spaces requires a slightly different approach.

Unlike warehouse-sized projects that can benefit from rows and rows of arrayed acoustic modules, smaller areas pose unique challenges. Sound behaves differently in these compact spaces, bouncing off hard surfaces more and creating a distracting cacophony. Understanding these nuances is vital to effective attenuation.

We previously approached how best to attenuate new, open spaces here, covering how open office layouts lead to more noise without proper attenuation. But today, let’s focus specifically on smaller spaces.

These inspirational ideas can be used for more compact offices, say a startup company, or simply a cozier space like a conference room, team office, reception area, or breakroom.

Small Room? Go with Large Acoustics

“Index Exchange” Toronto, CAN, Gensler. Photo by Ben Rahn/A-Frame.

When you are short on square footage but need to make a significant design impact, go big with large-scale acoustic modules. The contrast of these massive systems in a smaller space will surely leave an impression. These custom SoftSpan® acoustic trellis modules are shown here in a Soft Sound® Wood Texture finish.

Create a Partition with Wall Panels

“Grubhub” Philadelphia, PA, Shive Hattery. Photo by James John Jetel, Inc.

Acoustics aren’t just for ceilings; these wall partitions made of our Soft Sound® material offer more portable attenuation. In smaller rooms, acoustic wall partitions like this SoftScreen® offer improved acoustic quality, privacy, and versatile design options. They can divide areas within a larger space and be used as branding opportunities.

Maximize Narrow Spaces with Perpendicular Baffles

“Expedition Technology” Rockville, MD, IA-Interior Architects. Photo courtesy of Bognet Construction.

Hallways and corridors can be hotbeds for excess noise and require acoustic noise control despite their size. Linear ceiling-mounted baffles can add definition to even the smallest of spaces. These SoundBar® modules are staggered with various sizes to create a more dramatic effect.

Get Geometric in Conference Rooms

“Werner Co” Barrington, IL, EWP Architects.


Acoustic attenuation doesn’t need to come in a linear package; for a more creative approach, look no further than geometric ceiling clouds. These TriSoft® modules can be tiled together to create a textured and depth-filled array across a ceiling. These clouds are perfect for conference rooms and other small spaces.

Cluster Clouds Together

“Ajinomoto HQ” Itasca, IL, Shive Hattery. Photo by AJ Brown Imaging LLC.


For a concentrated dose of attenuation, install multiple acoustic cloud modules in tandem to form a creative, unique array. These SoftGrid® Flux modules not only look great together, but they can absorb even more excess noise, leading to a more comfortable and wellness-centric space.

Create a Flow with Linear Baffles

“Brookfield” Gardena, CA, Wolcott AI. Photo by Benny Chan.

Linear acoustic baffles are an excellent solution for smaller spaces because they can add definition to even the narrowest of areas. They create a flow through the space, directing sound and minimizing echoes. These Atmosphera® Analog 3D baffles come in various sizes and shapes, allowing for adaptable solutions to fit any small space.

Concentrated Acoustics Where Needed Most

“Advanced Clinic” Chicago, IL, BOX Studios. Photo by JJ Jetel.

When you can’t outfit an entire office or room with acoustic modules, pick and choose where they will be needed most. Conference rooms can be great for collaboration, but they can be filled with distracting noise without the proper acoustic systems. Cut through the chatter and place SoftGrid® Flux acoustic clouds directly above conference tables to ensure everyone can be heard clearly.

Sprinkle Attenuation Throughout

SoftGrid Sine- Delta Dental- Seattle, WA_web-01
“Delta Dental” Seattle, WA, NBBJ-SEA. Photo by Sean Airhart/NBBJ.

If you have a slightly larger, open area and want to attenuate it without breaking the bank, go for a more controlled approach. You don’t always need to fill an entire ceiling with acoustics. A few strategically placed cloud systems can do the trick. These SoftGrid® Sine clouds ensure this breakroom is a calm and relaxing place for employees.

Acoustics for Spaces of Any Size

Attenuating small spaces can be just as vital as soundproofing larger spaces. By understanding the unique challenges of compact areas and utilizing the right acoustic modules, you can create a comfortable and distraction-free environment for your employees or clients.

Whether it’s through large-scale acoustic modules, wall partitions, linear baffles, or geometric ceiling clouds, various creative solutions are available. If you want to learn more about acoustic attenuation for your workspace, contact your local rep today.

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