Living near other people can have some great benefits, like convenience and security. But noise pollution can hamper those benefits, and make it difficult to find solitude in your own space.
If relocating to a quieter environment isn’t an option, you might consider soundproofing a room in your home. Soundproofing offers respite from the noisy outside world, and there are many ways you can effectively soundproof your home, whether you rent or own.
Seal the Gaps
One of the easiest ways to soundproof a room is by blocking gaps that allow sound to escape or enter your room. When you’re soundproofing a room, you’ll want to seal any gaps around doors, windows, and other openings.
Weather stripping provides a great way to seal gaps around doors and windows. Not only will it help keep your room climate-controlled, it will also keep noise from escaping. Weather stripping is also budget-friendly, easy to use, and easily removed, making it a great option if you live in an apartment or rental home.
When you add weather stripping to interior doors or windows in your home, you can use self-adhesive foam weather stripping. Plan to put it where the door or window closes, so that it presses tightly against the foam to create a seal.
For home entry doors, keep in mind that the door may already have a more permanent weather strip installed. If your home is older, you may opt to remove the old weather stripping and install new weather stripping, rather than slapping the cheaper self-adhesive foam over it.
While the process is a little more involved than foam weather stripping, it will work better at creating a seal and stay more secure over time.
Door Draft Stoppers
With most interior doors, there’s typically a large gap between the door and floor. Sounds can easily travel under your doorway, so sealing this gap is important for creating a soundproof room.
Like weather stripping, using a door draft stopper will not only keep warm or cool air from entering or exiting your room, but can also help do the same for sound. These are great for homeowners and renters alike, with both self-adhesive and slip-on options available.
While sealing off your room will help you isolate sound to and from your room, it won’t work alone to prevent vibrations from escaping. Absorbing sounds will lessen the vibrations that permeate your floor and walls, and also helps reduce echo and reverberation.
As sound travels, it creates vibrations that can travel through hard surfaces like floors. Even in carpeted rooms, where carpet can dampen sound and vibrations, vibrations can still travel to adjacent rooms and create a disturbance.
Using a dense floor mat, such as an exercise mat, can work great for absorbing vibrations. But covering your entire room with floor mats isn’t always feasible. Instead, placing them strategically can take you a long way and help further reduce sound.
For instance, if you’re soundproofing your living room, and you have a subwoofer or floor speakers, you can slip a floor mat under them. This will allow the mat to absorb the vibrations that would otherwise ring through your floor.
Foam Wall Panels
If you’ve ever seen a recording studio, then you’ve likely noticed the walls of patterned foam. These are soundproofing wall panels, and they are a great way to absorb sounds. These panels utilize both an absorptive material and a design that diffuses sound.
Like floor mats, covering an entire room with soundproofing wall panels can get expensive quickly. If you’re on a budget, consider placing them strategically near noisy objects to reduce as much unwanted sound and vibration as possible.
Foam wall panels work great, but they don’t always work well with your home’s decor. That’s where soundproof wallpaper may come in handy.
Soundproof wallpaper isn’t your average wallpaper. Rather it’s a series of 3D wallpaper panels. Like traditional foam soundproofing wall panels, soundproof wallpaper comes in tiled panels, allowing for easy application.
However, soundproof wallpaper is more appropriate for general living spaces and
modest decor. It can also add a vibrant look to an otherwise boring wall.
If your room has a lofty ceiling, you may want a ceiling cloud to help with your soundproofing efforts. Ceiling clouds are large foam panels, similar to wall panels, that hang from your ceiling. You might find ceiling clouds in commercial spaces like offices, and they work great for reducing reverberation and localizing sounds.
Furnishing Your Home
When it comes to soundproofing, wall panels and floor mats aren’t the only thing that can help drown out unwanted sounds. Furnishing your home is also a great way to deaden sound and reduce noise, both indoors and out.
When you move out of a house, and you’re gathering your final belongings, you may notice how much more echo exists in the place you once called home. That’s because your bed, couch, and other pieces of fabric-based furniture are soft and absorb sounds exceptionally well.
If you’ve got the space and money to do so, adding soft furniture to your room can really go a long way to dampen sounds while also providing functionality. If adding furniture to your room isn’t possible, you might consider rearranging the layout of the furniture to change the room’s acoustics and increase the effectiveness of other soundproofing products like wall panels or floor mats.
Rugs and Rug Pads
While carpet isn’t the best soundproofing material, it does help diffuse sounds and absorb vibrations. But hardwood floors are merciless, providing a large surface for sound to bounce off of. While floor mats are one option, rugs and rug pads offer a more elegant solution.
Rugs come in all shapes, sizes, and patterns, offering the benefits of carpeting without the commitment. Combined with a thick rug pad, which is essentially a piece of foam that sits between the rug and the floor, they can greatly reduce sounds and vibrations in a room with hardwood floors.
If you thought drapery was only for windows and blocking light, think again. Drapery is an effective way to achieve both light and sound control.
Hanging thick curtains, blankets, or quilts on your walls will go a long way at reducing the amount of noise that escapes from your room. Thick curtains over your windows can also reduce outside noise, though often at the cost of blocking off sunlight.
If you’re serious about soundproofing, home renovation is one option that can yield fantastic results. Performing renovations can increase the value of your home, and provide the greatest results. Just keep in mind, these are also the most costly and labor-intensive options for serious soundproofing.
Replacing Doors and Windows
While weather stripping and door draft stoppers work great for soundproofing, sometimes replacing your old windows or that hollow core door is the best way forward. This might be necessary if you live in an older or manufactured home.
Doors are fairly easy, and relatively inexpensive. Windows, on the other hand, aren’t as cheap or easy to replace. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you can save some money by doing it yourself. But if you’re thinking about hiring a contractor, prepare yourself (and your wallet) for a large expense.
Walling off Sound
Perhaps the most effective way to soundproof your house is to tackle the largest project of them all – your walls. Since homes are built for living in, and not setting up a recording studio, walls aren’t typically put up with soundproofing in mind.
Using Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is a thick sheet of vinyl that blocks out most noises, and can cover large sections of wall for relatively cheap.
However, the biggest caveat to MLV is that you’ll need to remove your wall to effectively install it. That’s not an absolute rule – there are ways to use MLV without removing anything. In any case, you’ll still need some acoustic sealant and a bit of persistence to i\nstall it properly.
Insulate the Sound
Home insulation is great for keeping your home temperature-controlled. But it can also work well for soundproofing, especially interior walls that may not have insulation in them as it is.
Any type of insulation will work, but if you’ve got a budget that can bear the extra costs, going with stone wool insulation provides superior soundproofing, and has a host of other benefits over traditional fiberglass insulation. However, just like with mass loaded vinyl, this will require you to take down the drywall in your room to install it.
Double up on Drywall
Believe it or not, you can manage to add some heavy-duty soundproofing to your room without removing your walls. In fact, you’ll just be adding a second layer of drywall to your existing layer, making this option the easiest of all the wall renovation methods we’ve mentioned.
Of course, it’s not something that won’t require work. If you’ve never hung drywall before, you’ll need the right set of tools. And you’ll want to prepare yourself for mistakes and learning experiences.
Sound insulation gives you peace and quiet in the place you call home. Whether you’re looking to keep out ambient noises or have a room that is specialized for activities like voice recording or music-making, soundproofing can create that space. If you want to alter the acoustics of your room, there are plenty of ways to do that. Whether you’re looking to block outside noise, keep noise inside your room, or you just want to reduce echo and reverberation, then soundproofing can help you achieve peace and quiet.