It’s no secret that urban life can be extremely noisy. Even if you live in a high-rise apartment and you’re better isolated from traffic and street sounds, there’s still the problem of loud neighbors or other interior noises. Soundproofing your room can be the recommended solution if you wish to sleep better or just to enjoy your favorite activities in a pleasantly quiet atmosphere.
While there are some professional techniques that are used for building soundproof studio rooms for professional audio applications, it’s not necessary to go to such lengths if you simply want a meaningful reduction of noise. That can be achieved through affordable and easy-to-apply soundproofing methods that we’ll explore down below.
Instead of resorting to workarounds such as wearing noise-canceling headphones, you can make use of some simple tips to deal with the struggle of working from home affected by various noises. It’s time to regain some peaceful respite from the noisy chaos outside your home by following our detailed guide where you will learn the most effective room soundproofing methods for all kinds of needs and budgets.
Understanding How Noise Enters the Room
Figuring out where the sound comes from and how it’s getting inside your room can help a lot when choosing the best soundproofing techniques. If you live in an apartment, it’s quite easy to detect where specific sounds are coming from. For example, you can get a pretty good estimation of the location of your neighbor’s loud audio system by pressing an ear to the wall.
Identifying the noise source is also simple when you can quickly recognize traffic sirens and honking horns from outside. Things can get more complicated when the sound vibrations feel more evenly distributed. That’s usually the case of heavy machinery noises that can create the impression that your whole home vibrates.
Standing back and analyzing the way sound enters your room can prove to be essential to detect possible sound leaks. Noises can penetrate more easily through thin walls or improperly sealed windows, for example. Finding the reflection point in the room can also help during the soundproofing process. This refers to the way sound experiences a bouncing effect at a similar angle when it gets in contact with a particular surface. You can break up reflection points and minimize the impact of noise in the room.
Room Soundproofing Methods
1. Weather Stripping
Weather stripping is a term that refers to blocking moisture from penetrating through windows and external doors. This method can also work nicely in terms of soundproofing a room. You can obtain a solid noise muffling effect when you add weather stripping to the doorway. Check out these high-quality weather stripping rolls made from thick foam, available on Amazon.
While using weather stripping for the interior doors may not be too helpful to reduce sound travel, you should consider adding a door sweep to minimize the impact of any small gap. If the room that you intend to soundproof has poorly sealed windows, it’s worth trying out weather stripping for them as well. Take a look at this affordable felt weather stripping that’s ideal for blocking noise coming through the window gaps.
2. Furniture Placement
By making some changes to the way the furnishings in the room are arranged, you might be able to reduce the amount of noise in the room. If you notice noisy vibrations coming from a particular wall, you can strategically place furniture to block it. For example, you can use a large upholstered sofa to dampen the effect of the sound.
Cabinets work great close to the door if you have some gaps that allow sound to travel freely. The noise will be more effectively dissipated so you can take advantage of a superior level of silence without having to make a major overhaul of the room. Bookcases are very reliable when it comes to blocking sound waves so they’re recommended in areas with thin walls to shield the room against intense vibrations.
3. Sound-Absorbing Curtains
Some very thick curtains can do more than just block sunlight. You can also rely on them to soundproof the room. They can offer a fairly significant effect in terms of dampening the noise coming from outside. It’s not really a professional soundproofing method but it will certainly cover the loudest sounds such as those made by traffic and pedestrians. As a bonus, you can also benefit from a nice decorative touch in the room if you choose a thick and luxurious set of drapes.
If you search for curtains to soundproof a room, you may run into blackout curtains that claim to provide a noise reduction effect aside from their primary goal of blocking sunlight. While this type of curtain can offer decent soundproofing performance, it’s recommended to get some special curtains designed primarily for sound absorption. One great example is this model on Amazon that offers a more reliable felt fabric liner for this purpose.
Stopping the noisy neighbors downstairs can be done quite effectively when using the right kind of rug. There are some models on the market that deliver thick constructions to contribute to a solid soundproofing effect in the room. While using a noise-dampening rug isn’t a perfect solution, it can at least tackle the areas on the floor that are most susceptible to vibrations coming from below.
Simply taking care of the edge of harsh noise could be enough to improve the sense of quietness in the room. Rugs can minimize the noise coming to you through the floor and also do the opposite, namely to muffle your steps and prevent any neighbor complaints of heavy feet. Check out this extra-thick area rug with a modern design, available on Amazon. Alternatively, if you don’t want to invest in a brand new rug, you can purchase this kind of thick felt pad for an existing rug that contributes to room soundproofing.
Unless you have properly insulated walls, it’s safe to say that thin walls are very unreliable at letting sound waves pass through. If you’re in the hurry and don’t want to bother with more complicated soundproofing methods, the room can be made quieter by simply mounting thick blankets on the walls.
There are special sound dampening blankets available on Amazon but if you have a soundproofing emergency, you can use any thick blankets that you already own. They can have a similar noise-reduction effect as curtains. You can’t count on them to block vibrations completely but they provide decent sound absorption power. Place them strategically by focusing on the areas that leak the largest amount of sound.
6. Acoustic Panels
These are boards or fabrics intended to create a reliable sound barrier in the room when mounted on the walls. Musicians will usually make use of this soundproofing method not just for blocking outside noise but also to prevent sound waves from bouncing off hard surfaces. By creating a reliable grid of acoustic wedges, you will be able to easily soundproof the room by stopping the majority of sound frequencies.
Acoustic panels can be found in different configurations to allow users to customize the level of noise reduction in any particular room. It’s possible to cover the entire surface or simply to focus on a certain area. Using this type of panel for soundproofing can be a fun project considering the number of available materials and colors. Depending on the quality of its sound-absorption capabilities, acoustic wedge panels can be quite expensive but they still offer one of the most cost-effective ways to soundproof your room.
You can stick to an affordable pack of acoustic panels that deliver a satisfying level of sound isolation with a basic look. Here’s a great example on Amazon. If you have a larger budget and don’t need studio-grade soundproofing, it’s worth trying out some art acoustic panels for a superior visual impact.
7. Acoustical Caulk
Even if you take great care to soundproof the main problem areas in the room, there are still less obvious places that allow sound inside. To fill all those little cracks and small holes around the room, it’s recommended to use acoustical caulk. This is a premium noise-proofing sealant that’s rated for dealing with sound leaks. It’s made by Green Glue and can be found on Amazon. It will prevent sound waves from sneaking through the smallest gaps and fully sealing the area. Keep in mind that acoustical caulk will only be effective together with other soundproofing methods.