Sound-proofing a room is an appealing project. Especially if it’s a bedroom and noise is a problem for you at night. Unfortunately, sound proofing can be expensive. But there are some low-cost things you can do to reduce sound in a room. The idea is to keep sound from entering your space. And also, to keep the sounds that do come in from echoing around the room. Hard surfaces reflect sounds, so the goal is to add soft materials to floors, walls and ceilings.
Sealing under doors is easy and a very good first step. A lot of sound can sneak through under a door. Installing a door sweep is fast and inexpensive. Also look around the spaces between the walls and light fixtures, outlets, air conditioners, and windows. If you find any cracks, crevices, or spaces in any of those places, use an acoustical sealant and fill the gaps.
Door Sweep: $8 to $12
One tube Acoustical Sealant: $7
If your floor is hardwood or concrete, wall-to-wall carpeting would be an ideal project. But wall-to-wall carpeting can be expensive. Every throw rug you place on the floor will help dampen sound. Thick rug pads under your rugs will increase their sound reducing factor.
5 X 8 Area rug: $20.00 and up
The walls also are important to address. Tapestries and wall hangings can help with sounds coming from the other side of the wall. In a pinch, hang decorative quilts and blankets. If you don’t care too much about aesthetics, old mattresses up against the wall are excellent sound dampeners. As are egg cartons. Those are sort of free if you ask people to save them for you. They’re not attractive but they’re good at spreading sound waves about – instead of bouncing them back into the environment. You could make a “decorative” panel of egg crates to hang on a problem wall. The insulation between walls is a factor in how much sound gets through. If you can increase the insulation, you will reduce the transfer of sound through walls.
The windows will need some attention. Seal them if there are gaps and then consider hanging thick curtains. If a curtain looks like it would absorb a lot of water, it’ll be good at dampening sound as well. The right curtains can dampen sound quite a bit.
Weather stripping: $10
Sound dampening curtains – 2 panels 38 x 96: $10 and up
Actual sound-proofing materials can get costly. But if you only have one problem wall, you might consider spending some money on that one wall.
Most people can improve their sound environment quite a bit by addressing the basics of sound dampening.