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After owning a digital then an upright piano, I am now considering the possibility of acquiring a baby grand piano (166 cm / 5'5" according to the manufacturer's website). But since a grand is, well, grand, I will no longer be able to stuff it inside a tiny room with relatively controlled environment anymore. As such, I am now considering the possibilities of having it in the living room.

The following is an approximation of how I would like to have it positioned:

A top view of a living room with an open kitchen. There is also a bathroom.

  • The hole at the top is how you reach the living room/kitchen area. There is no door.
  • The living room is exposed to the kitchen, so I tried keeping the piano as far as possible to limit exposure to cooking.
  • The heat pump unit can generate heat for winter and work as an air conditioner for summer.
  • The windows at the bottom are located south, and on morning, you can see the sun reaching directly into the living room from there. I plan to add movable divider panels for that effect.
  • Neighbourhood is not a problem.

The way I see it, that looks like an optimal place to put the piano, since it will be far enough from the kitchen and will not be directly exposed to the heat pump. Plus, on an acoustic point of view, the sound will be projected directly throughout the entire room.

However, it is relatively close to the 2 windows (as insulated as they are, they are still windows, which can let cold air in during winter), which also lets the sun in during the morning. The dividers might mitigate the problem a bit, but only slightly.

Given the available space, is there a way I can optimise the acoustic while also protecting it from the sun, the kitchen, the heat pump and the windows drafts?

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    What are you worried about related to the kitchen? Seems like the windows are clearly a bigger danger than whatever is happening in the kitchen. Either way, why not locate the piano in the top left corner of the plan as shown and move everything else closer to the windows? Feb 23, 2023 at 3:06
  • @ToddWilcox I used to live in a place where, because of heavy cooking, the walls were stained with grease; that and I read cooking can cause a sudden change in humidity level (already have a dehumidifier that will be placed nearby for that effect). But yeah, the window is what "scares" me the most. As for the top left corner, that's also a location I'm considering; it's just that the TV wall mount are inconveniently located, so the piano would be in front of it (it's not my TV).
    – Clockwork
    Feb 23, 2023 at 7:29
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    You might ask your piano tuner what they think Feb 23, 2023 at 12:26

2 Answers 2

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This setup looks good. By necessity, I had my grand piano by a window for a decade, with no ill effects. However, it did not receive direct sunlight, which is more of a concern. You'll definitely want a shade of some kind.

The biggest issue for pianos is not the temperature (barring radical, rapid changes) but the humidity. Estimates vary, but most recommendations are between 45% and 70%, though consistency is the most important factor. You can purchase a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels, and you can also purchase a dampp-chaser, which can raise and/or lower the humidity level at the piano's soundboard.

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  • Out of curiosity, do you think a window treated against UV rays would be good enough? (Although I think I would rather go for an actual shade)
    – Clockwork
    Feb 26, 2023 at 13:59
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    @Clockwork I don’t know. Interesting idea. Maybe post as a separate question?
    – Aaron
    Feb 26, 2023 at 15:38
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I would optimise stability over acoustics, and follow Todd's suggestion of putting it in the top-left corner. No direct sunlight, no air blower, far from the kitchen, and you no longer need shade panels so you gain space and sunlight in your home.

If you get home after a vacation and it's very cold, take a few days to bring the temperature up. Brutal changes in temperature and humidity can be a problem.

Have you looked at upright baby grand pianos?

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  • The shade panels might still be necessary during some period of the year when the sun rises in a way that it appears perfectly in the middle of a window frame. But yeah, that would still be a much better choice, stability wise. I would just have to see how feasible it is, but it would put me more at least for sure.
    – Clockwork
    Feb 23, 2023 at 8:55
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    In addition to this, I'd recommend rotating it 180 degrees from its current orientation, so the player is in the corner, with the soundboard pointed towards the center of the room. Makes no difference in terms of temperature/humidity, but the acoustics might be better. Feb 23, 2023 at 14:11
  • @DarrelHoffman Interesting. It was my understanding that it was the lid that was supposed to open towards the "audience" (at least in a concert hall), on the right side of where the pianist would be sitting.
    – Clockwork
    Feb 23, 2023 at 15:05
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    @Clockwork Yes, and if the piano is in the upper left corner, then this would point the lid towards the audience. For its current location, the way you have it pointed is correct. But just saying if you're moving it to the other corner, you'd want to rotate it as well. (Maybe 90 degrees CW instead of 180? It probably doesn't matter all that much in a room that size though.) Feb 23, 2023 at 16:27

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