Sound can carry, especially inside a home. However, sometimes you need some peace and quiet just to think. If you have a home office or a music room, soundproofing is even more essential, as distracting sounds can hamper your ability to work or practice at home.
No matter your reasons, you can learn about both some DIY and more professional renovations that will quiet and insulate a room. Follow these tips to learn how to soundproof a room, then get started on the improvements that matter most to your household.
1. Rearrange Your Furniture
Furniture arrangement is step one since it’s both easy and good for interior design. You want to push bulky furniture, such as bookshelves, against your walls. The decor can help reduce noises coming from your neighbors, while also opening up space in your floor plan.
Also, consider the type of materials you use. Soft furnishings will absorb sound better. Decorate with upholstered furniture, creating more surface area for sound to vibrate through. Acoustic curtains and paintings can also assist with absorbing sound as it travels through walls while adding a great opportunity to personalize your home decor.
2. Lay Down Carpeting
Placing carpets and throw rugs can dampen interior noises. Start by focusing on areas of the floor that receive the most foot traffic or those that require added focus, like a work-from-home space or dedicated office.
Look for a rug that is thicker or consider stacking multiple rugs. If you need to increase the thickness, add an underlay: a soft mat between the carpet and flooring. You could even install wall-to-wall carpeting.
3. Cover Your Floors
Floor mats can help drown out the sound and are soft under your feet. They can also work well as carpet underlays.
Another option is installing floor underlayment, a layer between your flooring and subflooring. There are multiple options for materials, such as rubber or foam. You can also take the chance and replace your flooring altogether. Consider using mass-loaded vinyl for its density.
4. Buy Weather Stripping Tape
Weatherstripping your windows can help reduce energy loss in cold weather. But did you know it can also block outside noises, such as traffic? There are multiple types of materials to choose from for weatherstrippings, such as foam or rubber, and you can find these at most home improvement centers fairly easily.
Before applying the strips, check for any signs of cracks and clean your casement. Then measure your window and cut the material to the correct size. Sealing your opening can also reduce energy waste and prevent drafts.
5. Apply Acoustic Caulk
Ready for a more advanced DIY tip to help you learn how to soundproof a room? Acoustic caulk can help seal wall cracks and prevent sound from escaping. Look for cracks around windows, doors, and floorboards first. You can also use a thermal camera to identify where cold air is entering.
To apply the caulk, you will need to use a caulking gun. After applying the sealant, push it into the holes using a glove.
6. Purchase Thicker Blinds
Your window covering can also impact sound absorption. Try replacing your thinner blinds with thicker materials, such as rubber or vinyl. Also, look for blinds that have collapsible air pockets.
When shopping, find cellular or honeycomb blinds with blackout features for an even more soundproof option. Blackout blinds aren’t for everyone, but they can help filter out both light and distracting sounds for the uneasy sleeper.
7. Divide the Room With Curtains
Hang room divider curtains to separate the space into smaller sections. It can help reduce the number of surface areas sound waves can bounce off of. This is often used by renters in studio apartments, but could also work for large spaces that need subdivision in your home — like separating a basement fitness area from the sitting room.
You will need to find the right installation tools for the curtains. A tension or ceiling rod may do the trick if you don’t have one already. Otherwise, installing ceiling rods is a fairly beginner DIY tip you can try on your own.
8. Place a Door Sweep
Sound can enter from the gaps under your door. Install a door sweep at the bottom of the entryway using nails or an adhesive. The devices can be made from various materials, like rubber, metal, or plastic.
Keep in mind the sweep may make the door harder to move, so you might need to work on your arm strength or avoid installing this for children’s rooms. You can also make your own stopper using an old pillowcase stuffed with rice, though we do not recommend leaving dry rice around your home for long periods of time.
Also, doors made from lightweight material can make it easier for sound to enter and escape. Consider upgrading to a sturdier solid wood entryway.
9. Hang Soundproof Blankets on the Walls
Soundproof blankets can help reduce loud noises coming from other rooms. You can glue them to the walls or hang them over doors. They can even act as a substitution for traditional curtains.
The blankets are made from fiberglass or polyester materials, which do an excellent job absorbing sound. They’re great for rooms where soundproofing is critical, or where environmental noise is loudest.
10. Install Acoustic Panels
Looking for a more professional solution? Place acoustic fabric panels on your walls. These are fabric-wrapped, insulation-packed wooden frames. The material is sturdier than tile but requires a more complex mounting process.
First, sand and level the surface. Then screw the brackets onto the mounting surface and apply adhesive to the back of the panel.
11. Build a Bookcase
A shelf filled with books creates a mass that will absorb sound. Make sure the furnishing extends from the floor to the ceiling for the best results. Consider color-coding the books to create a visual appeal.
Suppose you’re not an avid reader? You can still fill the ledges with magazines or decorative pieces. Potted plants and mementos are fun items to add to your bookshelf. The bookshelf can also be a handy way to store things, especially with a smaller space.
12. Add More Drywall
This may be a more extensive process, but it can be very effective. It adds an extra layer of sound resistance so you can focus better. While covering the walls, use sound-deadening drywall instead of the standard material.
How to Soundproof a Room
Soundproofing your space is a great way to help you concentrate and tune out your noisy family. There are many noise-canceling materials out there, from rugs to wall panels. So, try some of these tips to soundproof your space today.
Bio: Evelyn Long is the editor-in-chief of Renovated, a home improvement publisher with advice on gardening, decor and DIY projects.