Product Spotlight: Carnegie Fabrics Acoustical Sheers

With the growing popularity of open environments in the workplace, I am always on the lookout for unique and interesting ways to address the acoustic challenges these spaces present.  Thankfully, an increasing number of manufacturers are presenting us with creative solutions in response to that need.  One such company is Carnegie Fabrics.


Carnegie has long been known in the design industry as an innovator in the field of textiles. And now, they have developed an original sound absorbing solution in the form of acoustical sheers. 

Using draperies to improve acoustics is not a new idea.  My mind instantly goes to the lush velvet drapery found in theaters and movie houses.  In contrast, Carnegie’s Acoustical Sheers offer similar sound absorbing qualities but with the added advantage of the visual transparency of a typical sheer.  This feat is accomplished by using a breakthrough yarn and weaving technology resulting in acoustical sheers that deliver NRC ratings between 0.4 to 0.7, depending upon the specific material selected.

 Tip:  A Noise Reduction Coefficient or NRC is an average rating of how much sound an acoustic product can absorb. The higher the NRC, the better the product is at soaking up sound. NRC ratings range from zero (no sound absorption) to one (all sound absorbed).

As a general means of comparison, a painted drywall wall has an NRC rating of approximately .05, absorbing only about 5% of the sound that hits it.  Carnegie’s marketing material makes the statement “Fully vetted through third party certifiers, these sheers achieved approximately 40% sound reduction when hung flat and 50-60% sound reduction when draped: that’s over 10 times more effective than a regular sheer.”  Additionally, they are inherently flame retardant, making them perfect for installations in commercial environments.  Below are a few more winning features of these fabrics.

  • Material is available 118” wide allowing for fewer seams

  • Offered in a variety of patterns from metallic/tech looks to classic matte finishes

  • Fabrics with a soft hand & beautiful drape

  • More than 200 fabric choices

 With the emphasis today on natural light and unobstructed views, there is an increasing amount of glass in today’s commercial environments.  These innovative sheers open the door for creating fresh applications that are highly functional in addition to being beautiful.  A subtle and sophisticated window treatment could add visual warmth and residential appeal to the space while unobtrusively addressing the acoustics.  Carnegie suggests their Acoustical Sheers be used along exterior window walls, in glass conference rooms, and in lieu of conventional walls, as space dividers - using light, transparent draperies to create spaces as needed.   From my standpoint, it’s exciting to see drapery finding its way back into many modern and contemporary commercial spaces!