Part of setting up a home recording studio is learning about the qualities of the room you’re using and how they can affect how sound is transmitted. You also need to know the different ways you can improve your studio’s acoustics to produce high-quality sound. One of the things you might be wondering is whether there’s an advantage to putting a rug in your studio.
You should put a rug in your studio to help improve sound and minimize echo. A rug can also cover up the unsightly wires and cables of your recording equipment and instruments, thus preventing you from tripping over them. You can also toss in a rug for aesthetic purposes.
Read on as I talk about the benefits and the disadvantages of putting a rug in your studio.
Benefits of Putting a Rug in Your Studio
A rug is an essential component of interior design, and it’ll help make a room look warm, cozy, and stylish. It can add texture and color to the room and tie all other components together. But when it comes to your home studio, a rug serves a purpose that goes beyond aesthetics.
Here are the pros of adding a rug in your studio:
A Rug Minimizes Echo
Recording studios are considered highly reflective because of the number of hard surfaces like walls, ceiling, floor, furniture, and sound equipment and instruments inside the room. Because of this, your music may sound heavy, like a bass, or may have a reverb effect, which could drown out certain vocals or instruments and ruin your recording.
A rug will help minimize sound reflections from the floor or wall. So you can add a rug if you want to keep unwanted reflections from getting into your microphones.
Professional composer songwriter Michael Tedstone, clarifies, however, that rugs will absorb only high-frequency sounds. According to him, you’ll need thick and dense materials to manage your studio’s acoustics, and rugs can do a good job of dampening shrill high frequencies that negatively affect the sound.
Rugs Cover Wires and Cords To Promote Safety
Having a lot of studio equipment means dealing with all sorts of wires and cables. Keeping the wires all sorted and hidden from view can be challenging because these equipment and devices are typically never lined up against the wall.
Instead, they need to be arranged in an optimal position in your recording studio where they could connect with each other, and that could mean cables are hanging here and there and running across the floor.
The good thing is you can hide the unsightly mess on the floor under a rug. This provides a ground cover that’s thick enough to conceal your above-the-floor wiring network and to keep it down. And it’s an ideal solution because it’s nothing permanent; you can always lift the rug in case you need to take a wire out or move a piece of equipment or an instrument.
Using a rug to cover the wires on the floor is also a safety measure. It keeps you and your visitors from tripping over the cables and accidentally unplugging the equipment. This, in turn, helps you avoid bodily injury and damage to equipment and allows people in your studio to move more freely.
Rugs Beautify Your Studio
Making your studio look aesthetically pleasing may be low on your list of priorities, but we also know how your studio is your personal sanctuary, your “man cave,” or perhaps even your pride and joy.
This is, after all, where you create your best work and you’ve invested a great deal of time, money, and effort into it. So, it’s fine if you make it look welcoming and easy on the eyes by adding certain decorative pieces, like a rug, as finishing touches.
Moreover, a lovely workspace draws more inspiration, and it motivates you to be productive and be more creative. And if you intend your studio to be a place where you can invite your music-loving friends over to hang out and experiment with sounds, then making it more beautiful would make them want to spend more time here.
Rugs Lend Traction to Floors and Keep Instruments in Place
Music instruments and recording equipment like speakers, drum kits, and amplifiers can be prone to movement due to vibration and slippage. Even more so if you have smooth laminate or sealed flooring. So, without traction on your floor, you’ll have to keep adjusting your instruments and equipment.
Adding a rug can provide this traction and keep these grounded instruments and equipment in their proper places. This traction also helps when recording voice or live instruments, and your talents are standing up as they sing, perform, or play an instrument.
Check out my ultimate guide to the best flooring for home recording studios.
Disadvantages of Putting a Rug in Your Studio
Putting a rug in your recording has many advantages. But there are downsides, too.
Rugs Could Cause Muffled Sound With Acoustic Treatment
According to sound experts, the ideal floor for recording studios has a hard and heavy surface. And the ideal approach is to balance this reflective floor with walls and ceiling that are treated.
As such, if your walls and ceiling already have acoustic treatment, putting in a big rug on the floor would result in muffled sounds. That means you would also need more bass trapping in order to keep things balanced.
There Are Too Many Types of Rugs To Choose From
There are too many types of rugs available in the market, and they’re not all created equal. The right choice will depend on so many factors that getting just the right kind of rug could become confusing.
Aside from the size, the color, and the price of the rug, you’ll also need to consider the rug’s material and thickness. And this would depend on the acoustic treatment on your walls and ceiling, as well as on how reflective your floor is.
For example, Persian rugs have excellent sound-absorbing qualities, but they’re just too large for tiny home studios. You wouldn’t want most of your floor area covered by a rug.
There are also thick and flurry wool rugs that are great at soundproofing your studio. However, with acoustic treatment on your walls and ceiling, this kind of rug could result in too much high-frequency absorption and deaden sound too much.
Rug Fibers Could Get Into Chair’s Wheel Bearings
If you have a large and fluffy rug on a small floor area, this could limit your chair’s rolling movement. The frug fibers could curl up and get stuck in the wheel bearings of your chair. This may be a trivial issue, but it would be annoying if you can’t reach certain equipment or buttons quickly and conveniently just because your chair cannot move.
Rugs Need Regular Cleaning
Rugs need regular cleaning. You may not mind the idea of doing this because you also need to dust and clean your equipment, your instruments, and your studio in general anyway. But rugs aren’t something you can just wipe and dust. You’ll need to use a vacuum cleaner because dirt and debris may settle deep into the rug’s fibers.
Cleaning your rugs would be easy if you can just leave a robot vacuum in your studio. But because there are many wires and cables in the room, this might also not be a great idea. Without a vacuum, your only other choice is to take the rug outdoors and do a thorough cleaning.
For more information, check out my article about why musicians have rugs on stage.
When setting up a home studio, the ideal scenario is to install acoustic treatments on walls and ceilings and to leave the floor’s surface reflective. However, putting in a rug when you already have the wall and ceiling treatment will not do any acoustical damage since it can only absorb high-frequency sound.
Using a rug can even be advantageous. You just need to make sure it isn’t too thick and fluffy and only occupies a small area of your floor.
If you’re interested in getting a rug, find out in my guide to finding what kind of rug is best for soundproofing.