Whether you live in an apartment building and want to minimize noise from the neighbors, or are looking to jam out without impacting your sleeping children, soundproofing can be a solution.
Soundproofing works by absorbing soundwaves from airborne noise (like a TV playing) and structure-borne noise (like the footsteps of a person upstairs), says Ludovic Chung-Sao, founder of Zen Soundproof.
To soundproof a room, you need to focus on the walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and windows, since these are the areas through which noise passes into and out of a room, says Bailey Carson, a home care expert at Angi.
Here are five ways to soundproof your room, whether you're looking for a temporary or permanent solution.
Soft materials like rugs, blankets, and curtains help absorb noise. brizmaker/Getty Images
Sound travels in waves, which cause vibrations. Hard materials, like metal, amplify sound waves, while dense, soft materials, like blankets or pillows, absorb them.
One of the best ways to soundproof a room is to increase the soft materials you have around, like blankets, rugs, and curtains. This is also a temporary way to soundproof that's perfect for renters or folks with a lower budget.
"The heavier the blanket, the more effective it will block airborne noise," says Chung-Sao.
For the most sound deadening, purchase soundproof hanging blankets or curtains. Their core is filled with dense fiberglass or wool, which are great for absorbing noise. The blankets can be hung up when you're anticipating noise, and tucked away when it's quiet.
Closing the door will stop some noise, but most interior doors aren't sealed tightly enough to prevent noise passing through.
"Doors are a major culprit when it comes to letting noise in and out of rooms," says Carson.
Adding weather stripping around your doors will create a tighter seal that can help minimize noise. It won't change anything about the door and can be removed, so it's a great option for renters. Putting a soundproof blanket on the back of the door will also absorb sound without making permanent changes to your space.
For a bigger, more permanent project, consider replacing a hollow door with a fiber door, which has sound-absorbing foam in the center.
Quick tip: If you're replacing an exterior door or building new, minimize noise with sliding glass doors, which are durable and sealed for maximum noise reduction, says Carson.
Acoustic panels are wood frames filled with foam. The foam absorbs all frequencies of noise, which can soundproof the room you're in, reduce echoes, and keep you from hearing the people on the other side of your walls.
"Soundproof wall panels block out noise from adjacent rooms, which can be particularly helpful in apartment buildings, condos, or homes with a lot of residents," says Carson.
These days, acoustic foam panels come in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can customize them and integrate them into the decor of the room you want to soundproof. They can be placed temporarily on the wall like a picture frame, so they're a great solution for people who aren't able to implement permanent solutions.
Opt for foam flooring in high traffic areas. Rupert Weidemann/Getty Images
Lots of noise can pass through the floor, especially in multi-family dwellings. Simply installing carpet can help reduce noise passed through flooring.
EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam flooring is also great at absorbing noise, says Chung-Sao, and works well in high-impact areas, like where you do your home workouts. These are laid like puzzle pieces over the existing flooring and don't stick to the ground, so they're great for rented spaces.
For a more intensive solution, consider installing sound-absorbing underlayment when you renovate your floors. "They are foamy, which means soundwaves will struggle to propagate through them," says Chung-Sao.
These can be used with tile, wood, carpet, and other flooring. If you're DIY-ing your floor, you can install them yourself, otherwise, ask your contractor to use sound-absorbing underlayment.
Quick Tip: The sound-absorbing efficiency of underlayment and other building materials is measured by impact insulation class (ICC). The higher, the better, says Chung-Sao. Look for underlayment with an ICC of 60 or higher, and request that your contractor use underlayment with that rating if you've hired a professional.
If you're willing to consider a larger renovation project, adding layers of building material will help soundproof your room.
"Mass is one of the main soundproofing principles," says Chung-Sao. "When a sound wave encounters a wall with a high mass, it can't vibrate the wall and transfer the sound to the other end."
The easiest way to do this in a room is adding a second layer of drywall. Incorporating green glue noiseproofing compound between layers will make it even more effective, Chung-Sao says. On the ceiling, textured paint can also help absorb noise. All of these are permanent and labor-intensive projects. If you're an experienced DIY-er you can probably handle them, but in most cases it's best to call the professionals.
To soundproof a room, focus on absorbing sound waves. Having more soft, absorbent materials like foam, carpet, blankets, and acoustic panels will help deaden sound. Making sure that your doors and windows are properly sealed will also help contain noise or keep your room quiet. There are plenty of temporary sound-proofing solutions for renters, so you can enjoy peace and quiet no matter your living situation.
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