Have you ever walked into a house and noticed how noisy it was inside? When you hear sounds coming from upstairs, another room, or outside, the home’s soundproofing is negligible.
It’s bad enough when you listen to upstairs or downstairs neighbors in an apartment complex. Do you want the same experience when purchasing your dream home?
And then here’s a thought: if you can hear whnat is happening outside, your neighbors can probably listen to what is going on inside your home.
Thankfully, there are several ways to fix this issue. When you soundproof your home adequately, it can be a life-changing experience!
What to Consider before Soundproofing a Room
Most homes receive enough soundproofing through a combination of insulation, soundproof flooring, and carpets. If you have a hardwood, vinyl, laminate, or linoleum floor, an insulative layer installed underneath those items works to deaden noise transference from one space to another.
When those options aren’t good enough in your house, it is essential to consider these issues when designing a soundproofing solution.
- Sound Source. Are you attempting to reduce one specific sound, such as a television? Does the noise come from inside or outside the house? Once you identify where the offending audio originates, it is easier to develop a plan to reduce its influence.
- Entry Point. Soundproofing efforts in a home must target where the unwanted noise enters the property. If you have outdoor sounds that come from the front of the house, would it do any good to insulate the back half of the property? It may not be an exact location, especially if you have multiple shared walls.
- Reflection Point. When unwanted noise enters a room, the soundwaves can bounce around at the same entry angle. It is typically a straight line, although it all depends on transmission. If you stomp your feet upstairs, the waves will head downward. Banging a broom on the ceiling causes them to travel up. Understanding how each reflects can reduce the impact of the traveling audio.
10 Most Affordable Ways to Soundproof a Room
If you want to soundproof a room correctly, it will take some remodeling work. You’ll need to get into the walls or floor, add the appropriate material, and finish the repair.
Since that isn’t practical for most people, these methods of soundproofing are a simple and straightforward way to manage your circumstances.
Here are the best and cheapest ways to soundproof a room today.
1. Add Upholstered Furniture
When you cannot stop noise entry into a room, your goal must be to stop the potential reflections of the audio waves. By adding upholstered furniture into this space, you’re placing absorption surfaces that prevent ongoing movement.
Interior soundproofing uses dampening techniques to target the unwanted noise at the closest point possible to its entry.
Imagine that you know unwanted sounds are coming from downstairs. You could place an upholstered sofa on top of that area to reduce its impact.
This method also works for exterior sounds that you hear. Placing upholstered furniture next to your walls can reduce the impact of the audio waves in your environment.
You can increase the power of this technique by adding additional absorption elements. Try placing some blankets or quilts over the back of a sofa.
You could use plush throw pillows on chairs or a loveseat to create a similar effect.
2. Add Area Rugs to Your Room
Area rugs function in the same way a carpet with padding does to dampen sound. Although it won’t prevent audio waves that come from the sides or ceiling, this option does work for what originates from beneath the floor.
The thickness and composition of the area rugs will influence the effectiveness of this soundproofing strategy.
Try to use a product that is at least 1/4-inch thick to create soundproofing results. Going up to 1/2-inch or more will increase the positive impact that you’ll receive when reducing the unwanted noise.
The best area rugs cover most of the floor to reduce sound. If you place a small 2-foot by 4-foot rug in the middle of a 300-square-foot living room, the results will be negligible.
You’ll find that the best area rugs to absorb sound are made from cotton or wool. Anything porous will be useful, especially when it is soft.
3. Use Your Home Decor as an Option
Anything made of natural materials is going to dampen unwanted sounds along a wall. If you place a wardrobe filled with clothing against a shared area, you’ll notice a significant improvement. Try to cover everything in that space to create the results you want.
Although you may not want to tear down a wall to change the insulation, building a set of built-in bookshelves is an affordable alternative. Your entire library can serve as a tool to block unwanted soundwaves!
Canvas paintings, tapestries, thick fabrics, or even soundproof wallpaper are easy DIY options that can help you eliminate the bothersome noises that enter your home.
4. Hang Blankets from Your Walls
When your soundproofing budget is non-existent, you can still create a peaceful interior by hanging blankets from your walls. This option creates a second benefit because the materials serve as an insulation resource.
They’ll keep the cool air in when the summer hits while reflecting warmth back to you during the winter.
Wool blankets tend to work the best for this DIY soundproofing technique. You may need to add 2-3 layers to achieve the results you want with this technique.
Hanging the blankets from your walls is relatively simple. You can nail these directly to the sheetrock. If you don’t want to use your bedding for this purpose, try buying a few of the massive moving blankets that protect furniture during relocation.
Blankets can get glued to the walls, hung from a curtain rod, or tossed over any hard surface.
The one potential issue you may encounter when soundproofing a room this way involves the windows. You must cover them to obtain the best results.
That means you’re getting rid of natural light in that room in exchange for less unwanted noise. You might find that to be a tradeoff that you don’t want to have.
5. Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency Rating
One reason why unwanted noise persists in a home involves old gaskets, seals, and tape. When gaps exist under doors or between the window and its frame, audio waves receive an unobstructed path into a room.
If you can shut off that area, the sound might get dampened to an undetectable level.
Use weather stripping where your windows and doors touch their frame. Rubber gaskets are another option to close these gaps.
Installing these products correctly ensures that no air can pass through them, reducing the soundwaves’ movement.
Adding a rubber door stopper ensures the gaps between each threshold get reduced. You’ll know if these are necessary because your doors tend to open and shut with air pressure changes in the home when they’re missing.
Even soft draft blockers that you slide underneath a door are better than nothing. Use products made from textiles to reduce the risk of experiencing floor damage.
Stationary rubber thresholds sit on the floor instead of the door, eliminating the need to restore a temporary measure to reduce sound.
These permanent installations take about a day to cure, but it is a small price to pay for having more peace at home.
When your budget doesn’t permit any of these DIY ideas, you can always sacrifice a bath towel. Roll it up, place it in front of your door, and receive a reprieve from the unwanted soundwaves.
6. Add Soundproof Window Treatments to the Room
Curtains and draperies offer a visual barrier against curious neighbors or strangers that pass by your home. They also prevent unwanted soundwaves from passing through the window to create a noisy room.
Lacey, thin materials are not going to provide much help when your goal is to dampen noise. Thick draperies are the best solution. The materials can absorb the extra sound, act as an insulator at the window, and offer some charm to your home décor efforts.
The best draperies to dampen sound are the ones designed to keep the outside cold from getting in during the winter.
You want dense materials, sometimes marketed as “blackout curtains,” with enough length to cover the window entirely, read my other post to find the best soundproof curtains.
You may want to consider adding a valance to your drapery or curtain installation to reduce potential upward soundwave reflections.
If the heavy curtains reduce the natural light too much for your tastes, you can install loops or hooks that let them part during the day. You’ll lose some of the soundproofing benefits by taking that action, but it may be worth the small compromise.
7. Place Egg Cartons on an Affected Wall
If you don’t have ways to block unwanted sounds from coming into a room, you can at least take steps to stop the audio waves from reflecting. Any smooth surface in your home can cause an “echoing effect” that amplifies what you hear.
When you take away those smooth surfaces, you might discover that the noise isn’t bothersome.
Although adding egg cartons to your walls may not seem like a stylish option, it is an effective way to stop soundwave reflection.
Most are made with cardboard or organic materials, making them porous. The uneven shape traps the unwanted noise, encouraging the waves to stop.
Egg carton soundproofing can also be somewhat effective at stopping reverberation problems. Since they are easily accessible in most communities, it won’t take long to build up a collection to install in sensitive areas.
8. Build Soundproofing Panels
If the idea of hanging blankets from your walls doesn’t sound appealing, you can turn those materials into a work of art by creating panels.
The recipe for this DIY project is rather simple.
- You need 1 heavy moving blanket.
- Get one sheet of plywood, cut in a 4-foot by 6-foot square.
- Have staples available to attach the materials.
Since most plywood sheets aren’t sold in the 4×6’ shape, you’ll need a saw to cut it to the appropriate size. Whether you borrow one from a noisy neighbor is up to you!
The moving blanket may need to get cut to fit this shape. You’ll want it to be 5×7’ to have some overlay on the backside of the panel.
Wrap the blanket over the plywood so that it covers the outward-facing side in its entirety. Next, place the panel on the floor, with the bare wood side facing you. There should be material that overlaps each edge.
Fold the blanket around the plywood, stapling each corner to create a “tack” that holds it in place.
Once you have the blanket secured, finish attaching it to the plywood with several staples along the material’s edge. You’re creating a “hem” that keeps it in place.
You have the option to glue the blanket to the plywood, although it usually needs epoxy for an appropriate hold.
When you have it complete, hang the panel from your wall like artwork. Since the final product has substantial weight to it, you’ll need to affix it to a stud using an anchor. You could also find more stylish acoustic panels like these on Amazon, which might save you a ton of time, not to mention, they look amazing!
9. Use Window Plugs to Stop Unwanted Sound
If your windows are the cause of your sound troubles, consider building a “plug” that fits into the current frame when life gets too loud.
This option gives you two advantages.
- You can prevent unwanted noise from getting into your home.
- You stop the neighbors from hearing what is happening inside your room.
The process is straightforward. You’ll take a plywood board cut to the height and width of your interior window frame.
Attach a heavy moving blanket to the plywood, cut to the same shape and size with a 12-inch overhang so that you can affix it to the wood’s surface.
It helps to measure twice before cutting once with this idea. If you cut the plug too small, it won’t prevent soundwave transfers. When it is too big, it becomes unusable.
Once you have the blanket attached to the plywood, drill a small hole in the middle of the board.
Next, take a drawer handle pull and affix it to that location. This step lets you place or pull the window plug based on your daily needs.
You can install these plugs as a permanent solution, if you prefer. Another choice is to install hinges along the top of the window frame, making this DIY project more like an interior shutter.
If you use this idea, it serves a secondary purpose. Since you’re blocking the window with the plywood, it provides an extra security layer for your property.
10. Install Carpet
Although you may love your hardwood floors, area rugs require significant cleaning and maintenance to keep clean. If you don’t have a soundproof underlayment, there is no other way to reduce noise transfers except by placing carpeting and a pad on top.
There is one advantage to this process. Since the hardwood serves as a prepared floor, you won’t have any removal or preparation costs for the carpet. Your installers can come in, measure your room, and get to work.
Most professional carpet installations cost less than $1,000 per room. If you have a small area to manage, it may be under $500.
When you have a plush carpet installed, the floor will feel soft and warm underneath your feet. The noise reduction benefits will shine through immediately.
How do you take care of a carpeted floor installed over hardwood? You must avoid liquid spills.
Most liquids do not come out of the carpet or foam padding in their entirety. This moisture seeps to the wood underneath, eventually getting through the sealer and varnish to start rotting.
If the hardwood floor requires repair, you’ll end up pulling the carpet to complete the work.
Carpets trap allergens, which means daily vacuuming is necessary for most homes.
Although high-quality carpet can be expensive, the entry-level products may only give you 5-7 years of use before they require replacement. Buy whatever option that you can afford for the space that requires modification.
11. Add Texture to Your Walls and Ceiling
Popcorn ceilings became popular because the added texture eliminated the smoothness of the original surface. The roughness stopped soundwaves from reflecting multiple times.
What you may not know is that wall texture provides the same benefit.
Adding rough textures to your walls and ceiling is not suitable for every room. Kitchens and bathrooms can trap moisture in those areas, encouraging mold and mildew to form.
You can add texture onto any currently painted wall. You can choose to put it on drywall or sheetrock directly.
Once the material dries, paint over it with your preferred color.
12. Place Foam Packing Sheets on Your Walls
Foam packing sheets are one of the most affordable ways to add a dense layer of soundproofing material to a home. They are lightweight, often made of plastic, and use air pockets to provide cushioning.
If you receive an order shipped to your address, save the foam packing sheets that come to create a quieter room.
Other packing material uses a dense foam sheet that may have the same thickness as plywood. You can affix these panels to the wall at any problem point.
If you don’t like the look of plastic or foam on a wall, consider installing corkboard instead. This natural material offers the same qualities while providing a natural element to your home décor.
Are You Ready to Start Soundproofing Your Home?
Soundproofing a room takes some effort, but it doesn’t need to be costly. When you implement one of these ideas, your work can create a peaceful environment.
Every room has different qualities to consider. Your style and personality should influence your choices.
You don’t need to limit yourself to one option. Many of the methods listed here can work together to create tremendous results!