Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Piano Etiquette

It IS possible to incorporate a good quality piano into a beautiful design plan without offending even the greatest of musicians ...


  • Below are images of beautiful rooms, with piano placement that is crying out for some simple intervention -- usually involving no more than a fur throw, shawl or light rug to throw over it. 
  • It is so much than a decor accessory! 
  • It is an intricate, magical instrument, almost always made of wood, that deserves the respect equal to that of a valuable antique. 
  • Many pianos are antiques. Or, they will become family heirlooms. 

David Hicks design  via.  Heavy drapes would protect from the sun.
  • Correct placement : interior wall, no sunlight, low humidity, no dust.
  • In most interiors, however, you simply cannot avoid "bad" or less-than-ideal placement.
  • In that case, it is important to know and implement the correct "antidote"... 
  • If the sound is too loud or "sharp" for the relatively (not a concert hall or ballroom) small space, lowering or closing the lid and / or putting a rug underneath helps a lot.
  • It is not really so hard to do it right....
You could put all-white or richly colored/patterned shawls or heavy throws all over that gorgeous white piano. Steinway now has an Imagine series modeled after the white grand that John Lennon presented to Yoko Ono.

This piano below is the happiest of the bunch:


The piano below is placed just fine  thanks to the drapes.

 In addition to getting the piano tuner over twice a year, 
here are the major considerations:
  • Humidity, below 35% or over 65%, and temperature fluctuations can be harmful --  it is made of wood.  So avoid a/c & heating vents, fireplaces,  and areas of unprotected sunlight (Use Drapes!)  
  • Sunlight will damage the finish on a piano. If it must be in the sun, even indirect sun, a beautiful rug, huge shawls, etc to cover it will help.
  • Dust is the enemy of the Grand Piano. So, for those who like to keep the lid up, a piano string felt cover is available from piano dealers. Basically all this is is a sheet of felt, any color, cut to fit inside the piano and over the strings and tuning pins. According to many piano tuners, this may be even more effective than closing the lid!
  • Be aware that if the lid is open, & it is close to and facing the wall, the sound may be distorted. And the piano really doesn't look "right" that way.
  • A rug underneath a piano helps the sound from being too harsh. 
  • If you have an Upright or Vertical Piano, it will of course have to be against a wall, and the lid stays down. However, it is still made of wood, and the guidelines still apply.

Here's a pretty one --needs heavy drapes for certain times of day.

   This  piano needs to be AWAY from the fireplace, 
or a  large, heavy screen needs to be at the ready  :

Very nice.  The drapes are perfect:

(Photo Suzanne Beard/National Geographic) via

Ahh -- here we go. Perfect :

                                                                This one is JUST right:


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