Listening rooms are the latest wellness/design trend and anyone can enjoy their benefits even if space is tight

Listening rooms are the latest interior design trend all about nurturing our wellbeing. Here's how to embrace one in your home, even in the smallest of spaces

A green themed hobby room with a media wall with speakers
(Image credit: String Furniture)

Listening rooms are one of the best interior design trends that we've spotted on the horizon for 2023. Music is universally recognised as one of the best ways to help us relax and unwind, and with more of us incorporating spaces in our homes that nurture our wellbeing, it comes as no surprise that these particular rooms are becoming more popular. 

If you're wondering what a listening room is, the clue is in the name. Often called a vinyl room or a music room, it's a space in your home to enjoy to kick back, relax and enjoy your favorite tunes (or to put on your dancing shoes, if you're so inclined!). 

'A listening room is a space one can go to for rejuvenation and respite from the daily chaos of life,' summarises designer Chad Dorsey of Chad Dorsey Design. 'During the pandemic, more homeowners wanted to have specific areas in their home allotted for enjoyment and leisure. Our listening room designs resulted from clients needing a separate, calming space for listening to music' 

It's likely the listening room trend has also been spurred on by vinyl records sales hitting an all time high. With all those new records, having a designated room to display your vinyl collection and your beloved record player is every music enthusiast's dream. In response to our demand, IKEA will even be launching their OBEGRÄNSAD collection next month in collaboration with Swedish House Mafia which includes a record player, speaker stands, and an armchair. 

Unfortunately, most of us can only dream of dedicating an entire room in our home to listening to music, however there are ways to embrace this trend even if your space is limited. These designers will bring music to your ears with their suggestions on how to incorporate a listening space in your home, be it a whole room or just a corner. 

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to sharing articles that help readers keep up-to-date with changing styles and embrace emerging trends. For this piece, she spoke with designers to gather their best tips for how to incorporate a designated listening area in their homes, regardless of space limitations. 

1. Turn your spare room into a listening room 

A room with desk and sound system with mixing decks

(Image credit: IKEA)

If you're lucky enough to have the space available, why not be bold and redesign your spare room or hobby room to make the perfect place to play your music? 

Designers Neville Johnson have seen a rise in the designated listening room over recent years. 'Vinyl rooms have become particularly sought after since the resurgence of popularity in vinyl in recent years,' says Natalie Byrne, spokesperson for Neville Johnson

While first and foremost a place to listen to music, for most of those who have one, a listening room is also about displaying their music collections, be it CDs, records or even instruments. Think about what storage or shelving would be most suitable for this, and don't forget to add comfortable seating to relax and unwind. 

'Our designers create bespoke storage to suit client’s pride of joy - their vinyl collection,' says Natalie. 'Other impressive features, such as a compact bar or a display area for instruments, are often incorporated too.'

To improve the acoustics in your listening room, don't skip on the soft furnishings. 'The use of soft surfaces can be a great way to minimize sound reverberation,' explains Chad of Chad Dorsey Design. 'This can be achieved through rugs, window treatments, and acoustic panels.' 

He continues: 'Custom built-ins are another great way to help manage acoustics, and they can serve as the perfect display piece for a collection of vintage records or art.'

2. Try a media wall 

If an entire room dedicated to your favorite music just isn't feasible, try designating smaller areas in your home to this popular past-time instead. 

A media wall is a great way to pay homage to your music collection and fuel your listening habits without taking up too much space - all you need is a spare wall. Make space for you passion by fixing shelving to a wall in your bedroom or living room, adding a chair nearby to designate the area to listening. Specially designed shelving is one of the best ways to display vinyl

'Shelves should be a reflection of our personalities and exhibit the objects that we have collected throughout our lives,' says Bo Hellberg, CMO at String Furniture. 'Our media shelf is designed specifically for turntable aficionados' they're great for showing off your album covers.'

According to Chad, listening rooms should draw upon more senses than simply the ears alone. 'They're about creating a sensory experience and having multiple visual points of interest including art and bespoke items that you’ll want to get lost in for hours,' he says.

Cambridge Audio record player displayed in a modern interiors scheme

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)

3. Designate a cozy corner

If your space is truly limited, a small corner is really all it takes to add a listening space to your home. A designated corner for your record player and smart speakers is the perfect option for renters who aren't able to drill shelving into the walls. 

Choose a corner with a window nearby and use a record player stand for your turntable or docking station. Angle your speakers towards the middle of the room to improve the sound. 

Don't forget to add a comfortable lounge chair with cozy cushions to help reap the soothing benefits of your favorite music when you need it most. 'Listening rooms should be designed as a living space for family and friends,' says Chad. 'Selecting comfortable furnishings that support the function of the household is important.'

By the way, this speaker was the one our tech editor thought was the best on the market to buy right now. 

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.