What goes on my wall?
April 21, 2009 10:29 PM   Subscribe

What long, decorative item (say, 12'x4') can I hang on my empty wall? If it happened to absorb sound from the opposing speakers, that'd be great.

Here is a very rough diagram of my situation. The area in question is the red line at the bottom. The walls are flat drywall, painted light brown. It seems all the rugs I come across are either too wide (i.e., tall when turned sideways) or are runners that are too skinny (often 2 or 2.5 ft wide). I've been leaning towards a rug to reduce reflections from the speakers, but I'm open-minded. Thanks.
posted by erikgrande to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Um.... a hallway carpet? (The Macy's here has some interesting patterns...) But you've already considered that.

Maybe a nice batik, perhaps something you make yourself or with friends / loved ones?

Does it all have to be one piece? Maybe a triptych or other multi-part painting?
posted by hippybear at 10:56 PM on April 21, 2009

Take a look Ikea as they have rugs in odd sizes. For example, Flokati, a wool shag in natural colour, is 4'7" x 6'7", so two would get you 4'7" x 13'2" - close but not exact. They also have a rug that is 52" square, and all kinds of other odd sized ones. These look better to me than just getting your local carpet store to cut a piece of a 12' bolt.

Or, perhaps diy stretcher frames from the art supply store that you stretch fabric over. A triptych on the wall could work and you wouldn't have to wrestle one large piece. You could put craft bat underneath the fabric to help absorb sound. Normally, I'd say get a feature fabric or sheers and gather it along a rod put near the ceiling, but it sounds like you don't want this to touch the floor. I think a short 'curtain' would look odd. Of course, I don't know what style you're looking for, so haven't a clue whether any of these is suitable.
posted by x46 at 11:09 PM on April 21, 2009

Response by poster: hippybear: Macy's is a great suggestion, they've got much better stuff than I would've expected. Combined with x46's insight that two short rugs next to each other is effectively one long one, that might be the answer. Do I get two copies of the same rug? So, it doesn't have to be one piece, a triptych (thanks, Wikipedia!) would work, but the likelihood of me coming across one that is in my budget (and that I like) seems low.

x46: Yes, several smaller rugs in a row is an excellent idea. I get what you're saying about the short curtain looking weird, honestly I'm not sure what I'm going for either. I guess in my mind it doesn't come near the floor... just doesn't seem right against a wall with no windows, but what do I know.

Thanks to y'all for your help, if pictures or more information would aid you, let me know.
posted by erikgrande at 11:54 PM on April 21, 2009

Maybe a scroll painting?
posted by boeing82 at 11:55 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

You can combine the above ideas with bass traps for your stereo situation.

Link 1
Link 2

You can, and maybe should in a room that big, add corner traps to add even more sound nerdiness and functionality. You can cover these in material or hang rugs in front of them or whatever you want to make things look good, it won't affect the traps because rugs, posters, eggcrate foam, etc. are acoustically transparent.
posted by rhizome at 12:56 AM on April 22, 2009

A tapestry would be a little lighter than a rug and therefore easier to hang, as well as being potentially more attractive. In many performance venues, drapes/curtains are used for what you want, there might be some interesting possibilities for home decor there as well (for example, put some sort of faux window on the wall that could be exposed when the drapes are not in use for their acoustical properties.

Whatever you use, be sure and take flammability into account.
posted by TedW at 5:02 AM on April 22, 2009

Get a raw cotton drop cloth (the kind used for containing painting splatters), fold it upon itself into the proper dimensions (i.e. - get a 12' x 12' & fold it three times for a 12' x 4'), sew it up on all sides with some dowel rods (or interesting wooden sticks) on top & bottom, then get funky and paint a design (or two or three) on it. Cheap, effective, and unique!
posted by torquemaniac at 6:16 AM on April 22, 2009

If you choose to go the rug route, Ebay is a good source of odd-sized ones too - I found ">this Persian runner just now.
posted by Dragonness at 7:22 AM on April 22, 2009

Let's try that again.
posted by Dragonness at 7:23 AM on April 22, 2009

You could get a clean/contemporary look by using 5 or 6 of Ikea's banner fabrics vertically. They're sold on a cardboard roll about 2.5 feet wide x 10' long. Then you can put whatever you want to absorb the sound against the wall behind them. Ikea sells an elaborate curtain hanger so you can slide them across the ceiling, but I just attached straight to the ceiling and it seems to work fine.
posted by iiniisfree at 7:47 AM on April 22, 2009

If you decide to go the runner/rug route, be sure to check out Etsy, for example this shop titled Rags2Rugsandmore, seems to be rug-centric. And there are tons more, don't forget that most Etsy shopowners will entertain custom requests if you like their work but want something a little different.
posted by dnesan at 8:14 AM on April 22, 2009

Total non-audiophile here, but might flor carpet tiles do the trick?
posted by sarajane at 12:02 PM on April 22, 2009

You could buy a blank canvas (or 3 for the triptych) or stretch your own canvases. To do your own you'd need canvas material, stretcher bars, and a staple gun. Its also much easier to do with a partner. I'm not sure if they have 12ft stretcher bars...probably not, so the triptych route might be your best option.

Then, you could get some fabric to cover your canvas. You could even put foam underneath the canvases (depending on how deep they were) for extra sound absorption. Like egg crate foam, or something similar.

Some interesting fabric sources:
-Marimekko (especially good since they are large scale & would look great on a wall- but not cheap)
-Marimekko again
-Reprodepot Fabrics
-Purl Soho
posted by hazel at 8:36 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Habitat for Humanity stores have all kinds of interesting old doors. To hang one you need a stud finder, a level, a drill and an extra set of hands. You can leave it as is or mount art or shelves on it.
posted by auntbunny at 11:58 PM on April 22, 2009

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