I have a 2 story living room, tile floor with a large rug and it still echos. What if anything can be done to soften the echo effect to the walls and ceiling other than fabric?
Echos are caused by sound waves bouncing back from large hard surfaces. In a 2 story room, typically there are few if any pictures or curtains hung in the upper half of the room so sounds really bounce around between the ceiling and walls up there. If you also have tile floors, few curtains, and little or no upholstered furniture in the room you get even more echoing. The more of the hard surfaces you can either soften or "break up", the fewer echos you will hear.
Use as much upholstered furniture as you can. Scatter plants around. Put up draperies. And hang pictures - or even better - tapestries or acoustic panels on the walls. You can purchase decorative acoustic panels with art work printed directly on the panel. You can even get your own photos printed onto acoustic panels. You don't have to cover the walls (or ceiling) with acoustic panels. You just have to put up enough to break up the large expanses of reflecting surfaces. And most places that sell acoustic panels can probably advise you on where to place the panels for maximum echo damping effect.
Hope this helps.
Here is a link that might be useful: Acoustic art panels