Buying a piano is a big investment — so it’s important to care for it so it will last for years. Learn what to keep in mind for piano placement in this guest post by teacher Timothy S...
So you went and splurged on your first piano. Even though you can’t exactly play the piano right now. Or maybe you can and your purchase is less a splurge than an investment because some initial lessons have convinced you that some real musical talent resides in your home. Even few of those with the resources to buy a piano are overburdened with too many perfect spots to locate the instrument. So the question eventually comes down to choosing the one spot in your home that is as close to perfect as possible.
Keep Away From the Windows
Sure, the portrait of someone sitting at a piano framed by big open windows may make for a breathtaking view from outside the home, but you didn’t spend all that money to learn to play the piano just so you could admire it from afar, did you? Ever get an up-close and personal look at a piano that has spent years in the path of direct sunlight? Wood, varnish, and paint are not friends of the sun.
Be Wary of Climate Change
Equally damaging is the placement of a piano anywhere in the vicinity of your home’s most extreme fluctuations in climate. The effect of placing a piano in close proximity to the heat emanating from furnaces, radiators, and air vents is a no-brainer; keep your piano away from them. In addition, keep your piano as far away from the kitchen as possible. The fluctuations in temperature taking place in that room can wreak not just havoc, but pure mayhem. The same rule applies to bathrooms, laundry rooms, and any other especially humid rooms in the home.
Think About Acoustics
In most cases, chances are you bought a piano with the intention of actually learning to play. Where the piano sounds best to you is what’s important. If you prefer the muted tones of carpeted room, so be it. If you prefer the more operatic tones produced inside a heavily tiled room, go for it. You are the one who is going to spend the most time listening to the sound your piano makes. For that reason, you should leave the piano wherever it sounds best to you.
Many people like to place a grand or baby grand pianos in a corner. This decision looks good and may even appear to be the most efficient use of available space. Unless, of course, it means taking everything that was in that corner of the room and stuffing it anywhere else in the house where it will fit. The potentially jarring result is the clean lines of a minimalist corner at jagged odds with an otherwise cluttered room.
Others prefer to place the piano more toward the middle of the room. This is a perfectly fine choice that likely avoids the issues of sunlight, temperature fluctuations, and humidity while also affording a much more fluid movement of the sound vibrations produced within. Unfortunately, placing a piano away from corners and walls often results in obstructing the natural flow of traffic through the room. Consider placing the flatter side of a baby grand piano lengthwise against a wall. Horizontal angling of a spinet piano rather than vertical angling can often reduce the need to divert traffic around it.
Different teachers, tuners, and virtuosos all have their own idiosyncratic perspectives on proper piano placement to get the best sound, but that location is just simply not always practical. You do have other household needs to consider, after all. The single most ideal place in the house to situate a piano is where your indoor atmosphere is most well-regulated. Atmospheric conditions related to temperature, humidity, sunlight, and even the expansion and contraction of the floor below are more likely to cause long-term problems with your piano than the minor physical damage that results from putting it the most convenient part of the house.
Timothy S. teaches writing online. He has his B.A. in English from the University of West Florida, and was twice named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Learn more about Timothy here!
Photo by Janitors