How to Soundproof a Room & Restore Your Serenity
Are you tired of incessant noise infiltrating your personal space? Do you feel like street noise is practically in your living room?
Are your apartment neighbors loud walkers and talkers? Or maybe your teenager has just joined a punk band?
Over the years, home building and renovations have trended toward open concept design, leading to fewer walls and more noise. And with a constant stream of emerging technology and gadgets, sometimes it is hard to get a moment of peace.
Unwanted noise can be much more than just an annoyance, it can add stress and anxiety into your life, and even interfere with your sleep. Learning how to soundproof a room can make a significant difference when it comes to creating a serene and quiet atmosphere.
The following tips are easy projects that you can try to cut down on noise without breaking your budget.
Soundproofing Panels & Curtains
Foam and sound absorbing materials can be affixed to your walls and ceiling and covered with a decorate fabric that you choose. You can also buy acoustic soundproofing panels in foam, or pre-covered wood frame panels with NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient).
If the source of the noise is stemming from outside your windows, another convenient option is to buy soundproof curtains. There is a wide array of styles to choose from that can match your decor as well as block excess noise.
Obviously, hard surfaces can cause noise to ricochet, amplify, and carry. Using textiles to soften these sounds is a convenient way to cut down on harsh noises. Soft surfaces absorb noise instead of reflecting it.
There are a number of ways to implement this technique in your home. The first step would be to evaluate the source of noise. If your flooring is the culprit, than installing padded carpeting can alleviate sounds caused by hardwood, tile, or laminate. Or if your existing rug is thin, you can always add a rug pad underneath for additional protection from sound produced by foot traffic.
A common misconception is that the floor is the only place for rugs and carpets, but adorning these materials on walls, and even ceilings, is an efficient way to soften noise as well as decorate your home.
If curtains are not what you had in mind when it comes to blocking sound that is coming through your windows, there are alternatives that do not involve completely replacing the windows themselves.
Window inserts may be just the ticket to enjoying a quieter home. The inserts are installed to your existing windows and can be custom built for unique shapes and sizes. Many companies boast a 50%+ reduction in noise by utilizing this technique.
There is no damage or permanent adjustments necessary, and in addition to sound moderation, you can enjoy better temperature control. Without embarking on complete renovation, window inserts can be extremely effective in cutting down outside noises.
It is no secret that the farther sound has to travel, the quieter it will be. This concept can be put to use if you are experiencing sound through a shared or thin wall.
Think about rearranging the space so that a bookcase, or built in shelving is up against the noisy wall. Adding more space will muffle sounds and can increase storage. In addition to books, consider adding baskets or wooden crates for decorative and functional purposes.
The more layers between the wall and the room, the quieter it will be.
Weatherproofing the Front Door
It is amazing how much noise can make its way through a seemingly small crack under or around your door, not to mention the amount of hot or cold air that can creep in and out. Over time the seal around the door can wear out, and many times older homes may not have any seal to begin with.
Weatherproofing is a quick and easy solution for door soundproofing and is extremely cost efficient. You can order most of the parts online or visit your local hardware store to pick them up.
The basic components are weatherstripping and a door sweep or draft guard. For under $5 you can purchase 17 feet of self adhesive rubber weatherstrip seal that is simple to install yourself. And an additional $10 or less will get you an under door guard that can protect from noise and outdoor elements.
Online tutorials and YouTube are a great way to make sure that you are installing the weatherproofing materials properly. This Old House has detailed instructions on more intensive weatherstripping or a quick and easy fix.
Similar techniques can be used for interior doors to block out sound that may be coming from specific rooms within the house.
As we know, not all noises are coming from outdoors. Some houses are just noisy, especially older ones. Creaky walls and loud pipes are a much more complex problem to fix, but many homes have outdated appliances that should be replaced.
If your dishwasher, refrigerator, or washing machine causes you to cringe when they turn on, it might be time to shop around for a new one. Newer models are built with sound regulation in mind and are much quieter than older designs.
Sleek designs and higher efficiency can cut costs on utility bills as a bonus.
Peace and Quiet
Our homes are our refuge from the outside world. That is why irritating noises such as dogs barking, noisy neighbors, and traffic, can seem like an assault on our privacy. And often times, obnoxious noises are originating from within the home itself.
The first step is evaluating where the noise is originating from and what your budget is to fix it. Weatherproofing and window inserts are affordable and easy projects that can make a dramatic difference to the noise level of your space.
But soundproofing doesn’t have to be all about functionality. Don’t be afraid to get creative and find ways to incorporate decorative elements that will also serve as noise barriers. Textures and padding will go a long way in softening abrasive noises.
And although it may not be the most cost efficient method, sometimes house upgrades are the only way to really eliminate overbearing noises. Shop around for used but newer models on appliances if you are on a budget.
Try One of These Options
Unless you are living on a remote island, there will always be noise. And even then, you will have nature noises to contend with. Some people thrive on noise and chaos, while others find it difficult to concentrate or relax. If you are one of those people that need quiet to achieve peace of mind, try these soundproofing techniques and learn how to soundproof a room.
Whether you are a homeowner or renter, or live in a house or an apartment, you can apply these soudproofing practices with minimal cost and maximum results. Don’t be confined to a life of noisy distractions. Take a deep breath, and revel in your oasis of serenity. Or make as much noise as you want without annoying your neighbors!
Here are few sites that offer helpful advice when it comes to soundproofing materials and techniques: