It’s difficult to relax in your home if there’s a constant background noise disturbing you. External is a normal thing for both apartment and homeowners. However sometimes it gets to the point where turning up your tv or putting on some headphones isn’t practical, and a more permanent solution is needed.
Soundproofing is seen as a permanent fix but can also be a costly process especially depending on the type of home you currently live in. However, there are many quick and cheap ways to soundproof your bedroom so you can get quality sleep without being interrupted.
If you’re continually being disturbed while you sleep this will decrease the amount of time that you spend in deep sleep meaning that you may wake up in the morning feeling tired. We’ve outlined several ways that you can block out external noise to get back to the quality sleep that you deserve.
Soundproofing vs Sound Absorbing
Soundproofing aims to stop external noise from being heard inside whereas sound absorbing is about lowering the amount of noise that’s generated within your living area.
Sound absorbing is most commonly an issue in spaces where there are multiple groups of people interacting with each other at the same time such as a restaurant or function room. However, in the home, this could be if you have a room where someone DJ’s or plays the drums.
Easy ways to soundproof a room
One of the easiest ways to soundproof a room to reduce external sound is by adding furniture and interior décor to your living area. Sound naturally bounces off hard surfaces like hardwood flooring and blank walls, so if your room lacks furniture, then the effects of this will be worse.
To increase the effects of soundproofing, adding upholstery and furniture will absorb sound.
Do you live in an apartment with noisy neighbours below you? If you do, you should consider adding either thick carpet or thick rugs in the living spaces that you spend the most time.
Rugs are a better option than carpet because they're cheaper, less time intensive and more temporary compared to carpeting larger areas.
The rug or carpet material will be able to absorb large amounts of sound to make your living space quieter.
Buying furniture will provide your space with more areas for sound to be absorbed and reduces the amount that the sound waves move throughout the room.
It can be chairs or couches and is ideal if you’re moving into a new living space or the room already needed sprucing up so you’ll already have the budget for it.
If you don’t have space or budget for additional furniture, then thick blanks or thick pillows can have a similar effect.
Sound proof curtains
Now just like you probably are, I was sceptical about the claims of soundproof curtains, but their effectiveness will depend on your expectation levels. If you’re looking for a single solution to block out all noise, then this won’t be it.
The sound will still get into your home from outside, so you’ll need to pair this with other noise blocking solutions to full snuff out the sound.
Soundproof curtains can reduce the amount of sound both inside and outside of your living space. They are designed to be thick with multiple layers of sound absorbing material so that sound echoes will be reduced.
The difference from this will be noticeable especially for blocking out echoing sounds such as cars and construction machines that may be right outside your window.
The best soundproof curtains will be securely woven and weighty.
The aim is to cover as much area around the windows as possible from the ceiling to the floor to increase the effectiveness of the curtains at absorbing sound.
Use a bookcase
If you’ve got a thin wall, then this can cause a lot of sound disruption especially if this wall connects to a neighbours property. One rarely used trick is to add mass and density to the wall which a bookcase can do effectively.
A bookcase is large and can resist vibrations which will reduce the number of sound waves that can pass through. The other benefit of a bookcase is that they usually have a flat back which means it can fit flush and flat to the wall, so there are no air gaps for sound to travel through.
Using a bookcase is ideal if you already have one in your home, so you don’t have to go out and purchase one. If you have no use for a bookcase, then you may need to consider a different option for reducing noise disturbance.
If you have any draft coming in around your windows, then this can also let sound in which can disturb you. All you need to do is you adhesive strips of plastic or rubber that are placed around the edges of your window. This is more effective if you have visible holes or cracks.
The thicker the material you use, the more effective it will be at blocking sound. Installation is easy, and you need to peel off the adhesive label and use force to place it around the border of the window permanently.
Add door sweep
Due to the bedroom door being a principal source of noise interruption, one quick way to soundproof is to identify if it has any cracks where sound or air can travel through. If this is the case, then you can use sealing tape on any cracks or holes.
Most doors will have a gap between the bottom of the door and floor, and this space can often be a few centimetres which enough to cause a lot of sounds to enter.
To combat this, a door sweep can be bought and installed which will close this space. They’re very affordable and do the job well, but if this isn’t an option, then you can also place blankets to cover the gap. Of course, you’ll need to move them every time you open the door but can work well when you go to sleep.
Reinforce your bedroom door
The key to reducing the amount of noise pollution is to pin point where the sound is coming from. One forgotten remedy is to soundproof the door to the room which can make a significant difference.
The first thing you need to do is identify the type of door you currently have, with there being a high chance that it’s not an entirely solid door but has hollow sections.
The hollow sections allow greater proportions of sound to pass in and out of the room which can create disruptions. Solid wood doors can be a significant investment upwards of £100 depending on the quality, but there are several DIY options so you can enhance what you currently have.
One solution is to affix MDF board or other solid wood to your existing door which will add thickness and weight. An alternative option is a fibreglass panel or thick blanket that you can also fix to the door.
The cheapest way to soundproof
If you’re soundproofing on a low budget or it’s simply a temporary fix, then blankets can be a useful solution. This is great if you don’t have the means to go out and buy a new set of furniture or curtains, then blankets can provide a shield for external noise.
All you need to do is gather up the blankets that you have around your home, but it’s important to remember that the thicker the blanket is, the more sound it can absorb. If you’re trying to block sound from coming in you, need to put blankets on walls that have the source of the sound.
Once you’ve decided where you want the blankets you now need to a attach them to the wall which can be done with a range of fixings including nails, screws or clips. Your attachment method will depend on how heavy your blankets are, the type of wall you’re attaching them to and how permanent this solution is.
Best ways to soundproof a room
If you’ve tried every easy way to soundproof and they’re just not working, then you may need to step up your efforts and budget. This is especially the case if the noise is just too loud such as noisy neighbours or loud traffic then you’ll need a more effective solution.
If you have a more budget to allocate to this, then continue reading below as the following solutions aren’t as cheap, but they will be more effective at blocking and absorbing a range of sounds.
Walls and ceilings block and absorb sound waves whereas glass windows permit sound vibrations to pass into your home, so your windows can be the main culprits for external noise entering your home. So to limit this, there are several options for you to soundproof your windows.
To limit the amount of sound that enters the windows you need to create a more effective barrier between the sound and your ear which can be done in three ways:
• Increase the gap between the window panes
• Increase the thickness of the glass
• Use laminate soundproof glass
Laminate soundproof glass is the most effective of the solutions and uses two panes of glass with a layer in between made from Polyvinyl butyral. This is used to increase sound insulation effectiveness.
Can Double glazing be used for soundproofing?
If soundproof windows are out of your budget, then double glazing can also be an effective soundproofing measure.
Generally, the higher the gap between the window panes the more effective the sound insulation. This can be enhanced further by ensuring one pane is thicker than the other, i.e. one 4mm thick pane on one side and the pane on the other side being 6mm thick.
This creates a more effective sound barrier than to equally thick panes because the difference in thickness forces the sound wave to change as it enters the window.
Acoustic foam is commonly found in music studios so that you can be assured of its effectiveness. Acoustic panels are great at absorbing sounds and can be easily hung on the walls of your rooms. Although they can be expensive, they are lightweight, and you can easily match them to the colour scheme of your room because they come in a range of colours.
The higher quality acoustic foam allows for easy mounting to the wall and can be connected to make a single large panel. This is ideal if you want to cover a full wall. Acoustic foam is also suitable to stop sound escaping such as if you're going to play loud music or films without disturbing neighbours or other people in your home.
What If I don’t like the look of Acoustic foam?
Understandably the look of acoustic foam is not for everyone, and we aren’t all blessed with interior design skills to make it look aesthetically pleasing.
If you still want to use acoustic foam, then an alternative solution is to buy low-cost canvas art and place it on the walls. You can then cut acoustic foam to fit into the hollow back of the canvas so you can still benefit from sound absorption.
Budget Acoustic Foam
If acoustic profession foam is out of your budget, there are still cheaper foam alternatives that won’t come with all the bells and whistles that the top brands have, but will still provide the primary attribute of absorbing sound.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to turn your room into a peaceful sanctuary exponentially improving the quality of your sleep. Depending on your current living situation, different methods will have a different effect on your circumstances.
The majority of these tips can be done over a single weekend while not needing a huge cash outlay. It’s important also to be realistic that you may not remove 100% of the sound, but you should aim to make significant reductions.