Restaurant Acoustic Design

by | Oct 29, 2018 | Commercial, Interior Design

Restaurants are by far the worst designed spaces you will ever experience. This is because restaurant acoustic designed is so commonly overlooked. Everyone spends so much time concerned with what the restaurant will look like but nobody cares what the restaurant sounds like.

People in restaurants make noise. There is talking, pulling chairs in and out, silver wear clanging on dishes, restaurants are noisy places. The easiest way to mitigate noise is with soft surfaces.


Restaurant Noise Problems

I am a New York architect with an office in Manhattan. So I am often going to different restaurants for lunch and dinner. The other day I was having lunch in a restaurant with one of my employees and it was so damn loud in that restaurant we practically had to scream to have a conversation. The food was great but the experience of the restaurant was quite terrible.

Why was it so loud in restaurants?

It was so damn loud in that restaurant because with the exception of the people inside and their clothes the restaurant had no soft surfaces or surfaces that would absorb sound. Hard surfaces reflect sound making the sound bounce around the room. This intensifies the sound and creates that unbearable restaurant clammier that you may be familiar with. In this particular restaurant the entire place was covered with ceramic subway time. The walls and even the ceiling had ceramic tile. This tile was reflecting the sound around the room like crazy and therefore making it near impossible for us to have a conversation.


Restaurant Noise Reduction

Restaurant noise can be reduced by adding soft surfaces and acoustical materials. The photo above shows a landmark diner we renovated in NYC years ago with acoustical tiles in the ceiling. This is really the easiest way to add some acoustical absorption to a restaurant. Of course there are many other ways to reduce restaurant noise.


Ideas for restaurant acoustics design:

  • Acoustical Ceiling Materials
  • Acoustical Wall Panels
  • Drapes / Curtains
  • Soft Sound Absorbing Upholstery 


Curtains for Restaurant Acoustics

Curtains for Restaurant Acoustics



Thank You for Reading Our Blog Post Restaurant Acoustic design.

I hope this was helpful. You can leave questions or comments below. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect please feel free to contact us directly. We will be happy to help.


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Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.