Soundproofing 101: How to Soundproof a Room Without Breaking the Bank

There are a lot of reasons you may want to soundproof a room. Perhaps you live in the city and you want to cut down on the noise coming into your bedroom so you can get some sleep. Or, maybe, you want to soundproof your home office so you can hear better on those important phone calls and have fewer distractions. Perhaps you live in an apartment and your neighbors are loud or you are tired of listening to footsteps through the ceiling from the apartment above yours. One of the most common reasons is that someone in the home is learning, or wants to learn, how to play a loud musical instrument and needs to be able to practice without disturbing the entire house.

If you have been hesitant to let your child take music lessons because of the noise, we’ve got some tips to help you soundproof a room in your home so that he or she can practice without driving you nuts! In fact, with online music lessons from Music To Your Home, your child could take his music lessons right in your newly soundproofed room, without you ever getting one complaint from the neighbors! It doesn’t have to be expensive, either. We’re going to tell you about some quick fixes as well as some more advanced techniques to help you get the level of soundproofing you need, without breaking the bank.

The Purposes of Soundproofing

Your soundproofed room will most likely serve one of two purposes. It will either be made to keep external noise out, such as your noisy neighbors. Or, you want to keep the sound contained (and absorb it) such as for a home theater or learning a musical instrument. The purpose of your soundproofing can make a difference in the methods you choose to apply.

How to Soundproof a Door

The obvious place to start is with the door to the room you want to soundproof. There are a few easy ways to cut down on the noise coming through and under a door.

  1.       First, try hanging some heavy blackout curtains over the door. Make sure they cover the entire door and overlap it by several inches on all sides, even the bottom. If you hang them with a nice curtain rod, they could even add to the look of your room.
  2.       Use a draft blocker across the bottom of the door. There is usually a gap between the door and the floor. A draft blocker will fill that gap so sound can’t come in or out under the door. For exterior doors or doors that face your apartment building’s hallway, you can add a door sweep to the bottom of the door instead. Putting one on both the inside and outside of the door will give even better noise protection.
  3.       For an exterior door, you can also add weather stripping around the perimeter of the door to help prevent the transfer of sound.

Soundproofing the Room’s Windows

Another common place for noise to enter or leave a room is through the windows. Windows are possibly the weakest area of the home when it comes to sound transfer. Here are some things you can do that don’t involve replacing expensive windows.

  1.       You can buy special soundproofing and acoustic curtains, but they can be a little pricey. Blackout curtains or drapes with a heavy liner will do a decent job, and they can be found in colors to complement any room.
  2.       If you need to block noise, but you still want to have the natural light coming in, you may want to consider window inserts. Window inserts are installed right over your existing windows. They are usually made of glass or clear acrylic. They can reduce noise transfer by up to 50% and they are custom made to have an airtight fit. You can even use them in a rental because there are some that can be just popped in or out. It’s a great option for a room with one or two small windows, but it would get pretty expensive for rooms with a lot of big windows.

Adding Soundproofing to the Floor of a Room

Soundproofing the floor of a room is usually meant to keep noise in, or absorb it, like when a child is learning a musical instrument, for example. In this case, you are trying to absorb the sound. This would be a really important step if your child is practicing in an upstairs bedroom, and you want peace downstairs.

  1.       Start by adding a thick rug to the floor. You could even place it right over existing carpeting for extra sound absorption.
  2.       Take it even further by adding a thick pad under the rug for even more sound absorption.

How to Soundproof the Walls

There are ways to add soundproofing to the walls of the room that don’t involve ripping out the drywall to add thicker insulation. In fact, you may not have to soundproof every wall in the room either. For example, an exterior wall with no close neighbors probably wouldn’t need to be soundproofed. For the walls that do need to be soundproofed, here are some easy ideas that don’t require major modifications to your home.

  1.       Hang a thick rug on the wall. Much the same as the floor, the rug will absorb some of the sound before it passes through the wall.
  2.       Another great idea is to place a large bookcase against the wall. Fill the bookcase up with books, and you’ll have a nice, thick sound barrier.
  3.       Acoustic panels can be hung over the wall. Acoustic panels come in the form of either boards or fabrics. They stop noise from bouncing off the hard surface of the wall and can be very effective at blocking noise from either entering or leaving a room. Acoustic boards can be used on the ceiling of the room, too.

Soundproofing a room doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. And it doesn’t require permanent modifications either. With a little imagination, you can sondproof your room without sacrificing style!


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