Acoustic office design: 10 simple tips to silence a noisy workplace

November 14, 2022
Rings, pings, beeps and clicks, or laughers, Zoomers, builders and chewers… working in a noisy office can not only be infuriating, but it can seriously slash productivity and morale.

With open plan offices, acoustic office design in Sydney is a big issue. Here’s how to quieten the chaos. 

Just like trying to have a business meeting in a loud cafe, working in a noisy office is bad for morale and productivity. 

A study that simulated an open-plan office for just eight minutes at a time found a significant causal relationship between office noise and physiological stress1. In fact, the results showed that noise heightens negative mood by 25%. 

In another study, over half of office workers in Australia, UK and the US described their offices as “noisy,” and 69% of office workers in those disruptive environments report that it harms their concentration, productivity, and creativity2. Many reported a preference to work remotely as their company is doing nothing to address noise.

Fortunately, acoustics can be enhanced if you know how, and by doing so you can really make your business stand out.

Simple tips to enhance acoustic office design in Sydney

A professional office interior design company will work with you on design or redesigns to create a space that offers privacy as well as collaboration, and enhances productivity. They can help you source materials that match your brand aesthetic while keeping noise under control.

Getting acoustics right is a science and an art. In certain environments, engaging a professional acoustics consultant is recommended. Generally speaking, the key is to incorporate materials that absorb and suppress noise so that it doesn’t bounce and echo across the room. 

Here are a few simple ideas about how to get better acoustics in your office.

  1. Upholstered furniture that combines wood and other textiles effectively absorbs sound
  2. Soundproofing on walls and ceilings, or adding acoustic panels, can be decorative as well as functional 
  3. Select flooring carefully: Concrete, tiles and hardwood are popular at the moment as they look good and are easy to clean but carpets, rugs, acoustic underlays can all help with noise control  
  4. Plants, living walls and other greenery can help absorb the noise and create privacy 
  5. Carefully consider office layout and furniture configuration, allowing spaces for privacy and collaboration 
  6. Liberally add soft furnishings such as cushions, pillows and curtains to dampen noise and create a homely atmosphere
  7. Artwork and wall hangings also help break up echoey walls
  8. Partitions or screens finished with materials to deaden sound.
  9. Use white noise machines to mask disruptive sounds
  10. Pods and booths can provide extra privacy where needed

Acoustics in action

At Vestra we consider acoustics as part of all our designs. With our fully collaborative approach, we’ll take the time to understand your unique business requirements and incorporate them into a stunning office design. Here are a few examples of how we have helped some of our clients.

Meeting pods prove perfect for Axon 

Committed to delivering safe, secure solutions for law enforcement, militaries and citizens alike, Axon needed some private spaces where their workers could concentrate without being disturbed. Working with global furniture suppliers, Vestra co-ordinated the installation of the client-supplied workstations and acoustic meeting pod in the refurbished space in the heart of Sydney. 

Meeting Pod

Acoustic office design in Sydney doing the groundwork helps Uniting Church

Our recent project with the Uniting Church began with discussions about how the current floor plates could be changed to make better use of the workspace for staff, volunteers and board members. 

We identified three distinct areas of focus which all had unique needs: a welcoming reception and lounge area through to the back of house boardroom facilities, as well as office space with separate staff entry. By carefully selecting floor coverings and through innovative use of existing workstations and furniture items, together we created a space that not only looks stylish, but also considers acoustics.

‘Vestra patiently listened to our evolving needs and provided a design and fitout that surpassed all expectations of the management team.’

– Client Side PM, Uniting Church 

Finishing touches make all the difference for Archetype

Vestra was engaged to design and build the new Sydney office for global brand agency, Archetype. Working within a creative warehouse-style shell and needing to focus on both collaboration and quiet spaces, considering acoustics as part of the design was essential. 

By incorporating plants, partitions, rugs, soft furnishings, lamps and more, that all help absorb sound, we created a space that looks amazing and works well for our client’s needs. 

‘They did a phenomenal job from the design phase to completion of the project. They worked with us hand in hand and they definitely had a full grasp of what we envisioned our new office to be.’

– Susanne Mcleod, Office Manager, Archetype 

For more innovative acoustic office designs in Sydney, check out our portfolio of office design projects

Hear from a professional fitout company 

Acoustics are often undervalued, but they are an essential consideration when doing an office fitout, especially now that open plan offices are so popular. And you are likely to get better results if you take acoustics into account during the design and planning process rather than as an afterthought. That’s where a professional fitout company can help. 

The experienced design team at Vestra are experts in creating stunning office interior designs. Get in touch and our consultants will work closely with you to bring your vision to life. 


  1. ABC News: Open-plan office noise increases stress and worsens mood: we’ve measured the effects, July 2021
  2. Commissioned by Interface, Inc. What’s That Sound? The Impact of Office Noise on Workforce Productivity. Published 2019.


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