the room: diffusors, absorbers, plants, books, mdf

I'm just putting my first system into place. I was having brightness problems which lead to rapid listening fatigue. My room is 8' tall, 13' wide and 19' long, thick plaster walls, hardwood floor (large throw rug) and lots of big windows. I've treated the room with covering windows with heavy cotton sheets (drapes are on the way), hanging throw rugs on the corners of the front wall and back wall, bookshelves on the back wall. The sound is much better, however ... it really looks terrible. I'm thinking of placing fiber board covered with fabric (12'' by 8') in the corners, first reflexion and behind the speakers. Also to place book shelves and large plants on the front and side walls. Help before I've started!? What's the best, least expensive way to tweak my room so that it still looks good.

Look here:

Lot's of excellent and inexpensive room tweaks, and you get the satisfaction of building them yourself.
There's no question room acoustics does not have to be an eyesore. I can't stand the look of most acoustical treatment products. All of the things you mentioned have merit and can be effectively used for acoustically treating the room. One thing you might consider is the CARA software. It can help you model the room so that you know how much of what material should be used. I am biased here as we sell this product. Another thing that I would direct you to that might be helpful would be the listening room on our website. It's a tutorial for room treatment and hopefully will provide some helpful hints. You can find it at, just enter the site and go to the listening room.

First read F. Alton Everest's "Sound Studio Construction on a Budget" (or his "Master Handbook of Acoustics", 2nd or 3rd edition--since the 4th is supposed to contain errors) and analyze your room's main resonant modes. Everest goes into lots of commercial and DIY treatment devices. I have designs for RPG-style diffusors, which people sometimes admire as sculptures, and Argent Room Lens clones--please email me if you'd like me to email them to you. If you'll forgive my putting it so, you're in the kindergarten stage, pretty much--but reading Everest will educate you fast. It needn't be ugly though it may not pass for an ordinary room.
Paintings. My roomate paints and I have found a huge improvment by just hanging paintings on the walls. Took me 2 minutes and $0 for an amazing improvement.
Don't do bookshelves on the side walls it creates problems that are hard to correct. The rear is far better. Consider completely carpeting the floor with a commercial fiber pad. If its not a good floor and you can do more structural stuff consider putting a layer of cork and another subfloor then carpet.
Thanks everyone!

andrew =]
I have almost the same problem. Where can I get nice throw rugs or other wallhangings in NYC? Anyone else use them?