Whether you live in a large city with tons of noise from people and traffic or a quiet neighborhood but want to soundproof a room in your house to be used as an office or a recording studio, how to soundproof on a budget can be an issue.
You may want to block out noises from inside your houses, such as barking dogs or noisy kids, or noises coming from the outside from noisy neighbors or trains going down the railroad tracks that are located close to your house. Either way, there are plenty of things you can do to block out noise or to soundproof just one area of your home.
Soundproofing a room in your house does not have to be expensive and neither does making your house more soundproof in general. You can do things like add weatherstripping to windows and doors or you can install door sweeps under doors to block out some of the noise.
Installing soundproof windows or soundproof drywall is extremely costly, although there are ways to install these items over top of the existing ones they are still pricey to purchase. If you are on a budget like I am, there are ways to soundproof without going broke.
I am currently working on turning a walk-in closet into a soundproof area to record audiobooks and to create podcasts. Some of the items I am using I already had on hand at my house and others I have had to purchase or will be purchasing but they are all pretty inexpensive and will give me the desired result of blocking out noises that could affect my recordings.
Below is a list of many things you can use to soundproof a room in your home that will not break the bank and keep you on budget. Keep in mind that even if you rent your house or apartment, these suggestions are not only inexpensive but most are easy to reverse when you move or need to take them down for whatever reason.
Weatherstripping and Door Sweeps
As mentioned above, you can use weather stripping under doors and around windows to block out some amount of outside noises. You can purchase weatherstripping at any hardware store, many retail stores, such as Walmart and Target, or you can order them online from home improvement stores or places like Amazon.
Weatherstripping does not cost much and is easy to install by yourself. You can use it on exterior doors as well as interior doors. You can also purchase door sweeps if you prefer the look of those and they work basically the same way, are still inexpensive, are easy to install.
Soundproof Pet Crate
For safety reasons, a crate is not able to be completely soundproof. Some crates are more soundproof than others, while some are better at reducing noise for your pet. A soundproof crate is made from materials that absorb sound. These materials cover all sides of the crate. Every side that is covered will help prevent noise from entering inside the crate.
Soundproof Room Dividers
There are a great number of benefits to soundproof room dividers. The most obvious one is they absorb ambient noise. They can typically absorb more than 75 percent of the noise that prevents you from peace and quiet. Loud work environments often lead to difficulty concentrating, which can lead to a reduction in work production.
Whether you live in an upstairs apartment with noisy neighbors downstairs or your office is upstairs in your house but your kids’ toy room is downstairs, you can use rugs with thick padding underneath to place down on the floor to dampen the vibrations and noise. If you can score a fluffy wool thick rug it’s even better because wool will trap the sound in the fibers of the carpet and cut down on the number of sounds that make it into the room.
You can also hang rugs over windows or on walls to have the same effect. Keep in mind that many of the items on this list make great sound absorption in sound deadening options but may not make a room completely soundproof as you would need more expensive materials to achieve that such as soundproof drywall, soundproof insulation, and soundproof windows.
If you have hardwood floors, laminate flooring, marble floors, or tile floors in the room in which you want to soundproof, you may want to cover them with carpeting. This is especially important if the room you are soundproofing is a drum room or band room. Carpet helps reduce the sound of impact which would include the base of a drum.
Not only is carpet a great way to absorb sound waves, but it is also pretty and comes in a variety of colors so you can choose the one that you love the most. Similar to rugs, a fluffy wool blend of carpet would be best for soundproofing since the fluffy fibers trap the sound in the carpeting. You will also want to ensure that the carpet is installed with thick padding to help muffle sounds even more.
If the room you want to soundproof is not very large, you can pick up remnants of carpeting and thick padding for pretty inexpensive prices at a carpeting store. You can also install the carpeting yourself using a staple gun or carpet glue so you do not have to pay someone to install it for you. This option works great in a variety of rooms in your home.
Moving Blankets and Furniture Pads
Moving blankets are a great option to hang on walls, in doorways, or over windows to block out sound since they are very thick. They even have wool versions of moving pads which is even better for soundproofing a room. Usually, people use these to move furniture and appliances when moving from one location to another but they are great as extra thick padding to help soundproof a room in your home.
Acoustic or Blackout Curtains
Acoustic curtains make a great option for covering the windows in a room you want to soundproof and are especially good if you are going to use your room as a recording studio or a place where your band practices or records music. They can be a little on the pricey side though, so you could just simply opt for a pair of blackout curtains that you can purchase at places like Walmart and Target.
These are curtains have extra padding on the backs of them that help to block out noise and sunlight and are a favorite among people who work the night shift and have to sleep during the day. The great part about these types of curtains or drapes is that you get to choose the color and style you want that will go with your home’s décor and style.
These types of curtains and drapes will not only keep outside noises away from the room you are soundproofing but will also keep noises inside. This means if your band is practicing at your house, your neighbors will not get upset because the sound will be muffled to a certain degree.
Homemade Window Blockers
Window blockers are another great option for keeping sound from coming into your room through a window or leaving the room and going outside. While curtains and soundproof blinds work very well for this, you can also soundproof your windows by using a window blocker. This can be as simple as putting a cushion into the window if the window is small enough for the cushion to be wedged there and not fall out but if not, you can make your own window blocker.
You can use plywood or a multitude of other materials to make a window blocker that you fit into the frame of your window and secure there. You can even use an acoustic sealant, such as Green Glue or caulking, to secure your frame to the window blocker. This will help even more with soundproofing and secure it in place at the same time.
If you are worried about what it looks like from the outside of your house, you can always paint it a pretty color or even paint some type of mural on the other side that faces the outside of your house. Along with the sound, this option will block sunlight but it will also block cold air so it may just save you some on your heating bill also.
Heavy blankets are a great option to use especially if you’re in a hurry or have no money to soundproof a room and need it done quickly. You can identify where the sound is coming from so you can muffle it with the blankets. You can hang blankets on walls, over doors, and certainly over windows.
The thicker the blanket the better and if it is a wool blanket it will muffle the sound even more than others. You can attach blankets to a curtain rod for your windows or with nails on the wall. I am using a very thick blanket as a door to my studio in my home that I use to record audiobooks and podcasts and it seems to be working well.
I simply nailed it to the door frame in the closet. In a pinch, you can even use quilts or tapestries to blackout sound.
Install Some Bookcases
If you have plenty of books and even a bookcase already in your home, placing them in a room you want to soundproof is a great idea. A solid wood bookcase would add even more soundproofing protection, but you can use any type of bookcase, including one that you construct yourself. This may be a great option for you and an aesthetically pleasing one since bookcases are pretty to look at the functional at the same time.
The bookcase you construct or purchase to help soundproof your room should go from the floor to the ceiling and the shelves must stay filled with books, magazines, and photo albums to make this option work correctly.
Strategic Furniture Placement
If you place your furniture in the room you want to soundproof in a strategic enough manner, you can break up the sound waves coming into the room in even cause these sounds energy to dissipate faster than it normally would.
Like we talked about in the above suggestion, you can use bookcases for books to help soundproof a room but you can also use upholstered furniture, including couches and chairs, that will work as a sound dampening agent to prevent the wall they are sitting against from amplifying the sound vibration as a drumskin does.
Doing this option should not cost you any money because you can simply use the furniture you already have in your home to help make your room soundproof.
Cardboard Egg Cartons
It may be a myth or an old wives tale, but you actually can use egg cartons to dampen the sound in a room, at least a bit. It is not the best plan but biodegradable pulp fiber egg flats that are used to store up to 30 larger small eggs is a great option to put on the walls of a room that you want to soundproof.
Since the egg cartons are made of cardboard, they are very inexpensive and can diffuse sound waves through their shape and the paper materials that are used in creating them. While they will not completely soundproof a room, they will reduce the sound within the room and the sound coming into the room by diffusing the sound waves when the waves are spread out from the shape of the egg cartons which also changes the way they move into the room.
Sound Deadening Spray
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The sound deadening spray is a very unique option, and it is also known as boom mat spray. It is pretty expensive but can work well in any room to help with reducing sound coming into the room. The sound deadening spray will reduce any unwanted noises in vibrations. You only have to apply a thin layer of this spray to reduce sound and vibrations.
It is usually made of rubber or vinyl which is what it looks and feels like after you spray it on your wall, car doors, room doors, windows, or other surfaces. The sound-deadening spray will even cut down on road noise so I am hoping it works for the trains that I have that come by my house every 15 minutes.
Sound Deadening Paint
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Sound deadening paint can dampen the sound coming from the outside and is a great option to use in a room that you want to soundproof. It is a little more pricey than the sound deadening spray but can be used on larger areas, including the walls of your room. The paint can be rolled on or sprayed on like any other type of paint which means you can do it yourself and not have to pay anybody labor costs to do it.
This type of paint is environmentally friendly and it is non-toxic so it will not hurt you to breathe it as you use it or any children or pets who live in your home or visit your business. Once it is on your walls, doors, or other areas, it can be cleaned easily with just soap and water so it’s easy to care for and maintain. You simply apply it with a brush or roller or spray it on with a hopper spray paint gun.
It normally comes in a bright white color with a flat finish so it will go with any decor and style. It is a soundproof paint that has been called a myth by some people, although many people who have used this product for soundproofing proclaim that it works just fine. You can also paint it onto your wall as an underlay and then use the color you want on top of it.
You can even paint your walls as part of a soundproof barrier before adding but some of the other things on this list, such as acoustic panels, carpeting, or other sound barrier materials. Customers who have used this paint say that it works best in conjunction with those other soundproofing options but it definitely helps and is not a myth.
Since we know that when you soundproof something the thicker the material is the better for it to block and absorb sound, you can pretty much expect that the soundproof paint alone will not be the solution to your noise problem but in conjunction with other things it’s definitely an added layer of protection no pun intended.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
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Mass loaded vinyl is great for soundproofing basements, apartments, recording studios, filming studios, conference rooms, utility rooms, and other rooms. It is often used in vehicles to noise-proof it or for appliances and machinery. It is a great material to block out the sound of traffic and other outside noises.
You can buy this material in mats that can be hung on walls used on floors or in a variety of other places in which you want to cut down on noise going in or out of the room. You can use it on almost any type of surface which makes it even more versatile.
Acoustic Panels and Homemade Panels
Acoustic panels are basically a wooden or metal frame that is filled with sound absorption material such as cellulose, open-cell foam, fiberglass, mineral wool, or a combination of some of these. They are then wrapped in the fabric in a variety of colors and patterns so they will look pretty on your walls.
They almost look like a large picture frame and a decoration when hung on your walls. Some people like these better than the foam-style panels because they think they are more attractive. These panels absorb sound waves to reduce the amount of general noise and they will help to clarify speech Ann limit reverberation in the walls of the room you are working in.
They work pretty well in reducing mid to high-frequency sound waves but do not block the outside noise entirely. You can purchase these already made or make your own if you so choose to. Basically, they are created to be sound absorbers more than sound reflectors.
Acoustic panels are sometimes referred to as sound panels or sound absorption panels. Although these panels are pretty inexpensive to purchase, you can actually make your own. You can buy some of the mass-loaded vinyl that we talked about or acoustic foam and use that inside the metal or wooden frames that you already have at home or ones that you can make on your own.
These work just as well, and you can even use other materials inside the frame, such as thick wool material, thick padding, in other types of materials that will help block out sound.
Mattress Egg Crate Memory Foam Topper and Mattress Pad
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While egg crate acoustic foam panels work well for sound absorption, regular mattress egg crate foam toppers and mattress pads will only absorb some amount of sound and will not completely soundproof a room.
If they are made of memory foam, however, they will absorb more outside noise is due to the fact that memory foam is a much denser material than regular foam so a memory from an egg crate mattress topper or pad may be good to put on the walls or ceiling inside a room in which you are attempting to soundproof, but it should be used in conjunction with other soundproofing tools.
I have an egg crate mattress pad or topper that is not being used currently in my household and I was considering using it on the ceiling and walls up my walk-in closet to diffuse some of the outside noises. Learning what I have from this article, I think that I will opt to use other materials and only use pieces of it in certain places as needed.
It is good to know though that it is a viable option if need be and it certainly a cheaper option if you already have one like I do lying around your house somewhere just taking up space.
Noise Proofing Compound
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A noise-proofing compound can help reduce the sound coming into a room and it can be used on floors, doors, and ceilings. The Green Glue products seem to be the most popular when it comes to soundproofing materials and they come in the same type of packaging as caulking does that you use around countertops and bathtubs.
It is super easy to apply and is great to use around sound dampening materials that are either in the construction of your soundproof walls or the materials or outlets that are in or on the walls of the room in which you want to soundproof. It will seal holes, gaps in the walls or ceilings, seams in the drywall, the open space around outlet plugs, and any other open spaces.
You simply apply it around things like electrical fixtures, screw holes in your wall, electrical boxes, or around any other open spaces that can weaken the links in your soundproofing project throughout the wall space in the room in which you want to soundproof. It will reduce noise leakage which means it will keep noise in if you are recording music with your band, for example, and it will help to keep noises out of the room, studio, office, or other structure, from the outside world.
Created with open-celled foam which is a material often used in soundproofing materials, acoustic foam can be used in a variety of places and is not limited to recording studios. Many people use them in their home theater or gaming room. They look cool on your wall and come in a variety of color options.
These acoustic foam pieces are not too pricey and can be purchased via the internet on a variety of sites, including Amazon, as well as music stores and other places. This foam is designed to attenuate airborne sound waves while creating a reduction in their amplitude. Acoustic foam is great for noise control or noise reduction and the energy created from the sound is dissipated as heat.
Acoustic foam comes in a variety of sizes and thicknesses as well as different colors but does it really work when it comes to soundproofing? The answer is no, not that well. The egg-box style foam will not stop all of the sound coming from noisy neighbors but it is a great option for sound absorption which means it will muffle the sound.
It is great for improving the sound in a small size room, as my closet for instance, or in a smaller boardroom, home recording studio, and home theaters. Acoustical foam is slated to be non-dusting which means it won’t crumble over time which is a definite plus. Since it comes in a wide range of colors it will also make your studio look sophisticated and chic but again, if you are going for total soundproofing of your room, this is probably not going to be the best option.
Sound Absorbing Foam
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Sound absorbing foam is different than acoustic foam since it is created by using a closed-cell foam that is tightly woven to create a more dense material that works great and absorbing low-frequency sounds. You can use this as an alternative to the acoustic panels or in conjunction with them. These also come in an array of different colors, shapes, and sizes and will look more attractive on your walls to spruce up a home theater room or sound recording studio without the look of the cheap egg crate style of the acoustic foam.
Although the egg crate style is not as attractive the foam spikes trap sound in between them which makes the acoustic panels better for soundproofing than these, although these are way better than not having anything at all on the walls of the room in which you want to reduce outside noise and make the sound inside better. I have these on the wall in my home studio and they do seem to help cut down on outside noise.
Put Down Some Cork Soundproofing
If you are doing any renovations in your home and if those renovations include laying down hardwood flooring, you can use a cork underlay that is laid down underneath your flooring to help noise from traveling between the floors in your home. You can also lay this down underneath carpet or rugs or use it on your walls to diffuse some of the noise coming into your house or a specific room that you are trying to soundproof. Cork is a natural material which means it is biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
Not only is it an excellent thermal material that will save you a little bit on your energy costs, but it is great for soundproofing and also has anti-vibration properties. You can apply it to your walls, ceilings, and floors as a soundproofing layer or as exposed panels on the surface.
Add Extra Drywall
Soundproofing drywall is one of the best products on the market for soundproofing a room, house, or building, but it is very costly. You can simply add an extra layer of drywall that is at least one-half of an inch thick to achieve a great level of soundproofing. You can also add mineral wool or fiberglass insulation in between the original drywall and the new drywall for even more soundproofing capabilities. You can do this to the ceilings of the rooms you want to soundproof also.
Install Resilient Channels
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Installing resilient channels is a great way to soundproof a room but it is costly in the fact that you will have to first strip your walls of the room you want to soundproof down to the bare studs to install these channels. If you are renovating the room you want to soundproof or you are building a new home, installing resilient channels will be pretty easy to do. They are shaped like the letter Z and they are metal strips that go between the wall studs in the drywall inside your walls.
The channels are flexible and springy so they will create what is known as a decoupled wall which effectively stops sound waves from passing through.
Corner Acoustic Foam
If you are attempting to soundproof a recording studio in your home, a gaming room, or a home theater room, corner acoustic foam may be the option for you to use. They are also known as bass traps and are a great way to step up the sound of the movies you are watching or the recording you are creating. They also look aesthetically pleasing and come in a variety of color options.
They help prevent ambient noises and sounds from coming into the room you are soundproofing. The bass trap acoustic corner foam piece will trap the sound and absorb the bass in the corner of the room, giving you a better sound quality of recordings and much less noise in the room you want to soundproof.
Sound Absorbing Foam
Sound absorbing foam is created with a closed-cell foam that is tightly woven to create a more dense material that works great at absorbing low-frequency sounds. You can hang these on your walls instead of acoustic panels or in conjunction with them. These are available in a variety of different colors, shapes, and sizes.
These foam panels look more attractive on your walls to spruce up a home theater room or sound recording studio without the look of the cheap egg crate style of the acoustic foam. Although the egg crate style is not as attractive the foam spikes trap sound in between them which makes the acoustic panels better for soundproofing.
Install Soundproof Insulation
Soundproofing insulation is great to use inside of the interior walls and the ceiling of a home, building, or room. This option is better if you are renovating a room or several rooms in your home and can add soundproof insulation but if not, this may not be a good option for you. The soundproof insulation is great, though, if you are renovating or building a new home or business so that you can add this product in place of regular insulation so less noise will be heard inside your domain.
Install Soundproof Windows
Installing soundproof windows in your house can be expensive but it will definitely be worth it in the long run. The great part about installing soundproof windows is that they can be installed over top of the ones you already have in place. You can even use soundproof insulation around the edges of the soundproof windows which will add even more of a barrier to the noise outside. If you are not soundproofing your whole house but just a bedroom, office, or studio, this may be a very viable option for you.
There are many different options of items that you can hang on your walls of the room you want to soundproof that will help you in eliminating and reducing outside noises. You can hang soundproofing drywall over top of your existing drywall but that is extremely costly, time-consuming, and difficult to do. Instead, you can cover your walls with thick blankets or rugs and it is suggested that you use wool since that type of material is the best sound barrier.
If it is fuzzy wool it is even better because the sound waves get trapped in the wool fibers of the carpeting.
You can also hang moving blankets, sometimes referred to as moving pads, since they are much thicker and more durable than regular blankets or you can use a tapestry or a quilt to hang on your wall. Virtually any material that is thick and can absorb sound is great to use. You can even use an egg crate mattress pad on the ceilings and walls of the room you want to soundproof although those are not very attractive or aesthetically pleasing.
I happen to have one at my house that no one is using so I plan to use that on the ceiling area just to add more of a sound barrier to outside noises in the closet I am turning into a home studio to record audiobooks and podcasts. Hard surfaces, like drywall, plaster, and tile, reflect and amplify sounds. So, it only makes sense that soft surfaces absorb sounds, making rooms much quieter. Cover walls with thick blankets, moving pads, tapestries, or quilts. Virtually any soft material will work, though thicker ones absorb more sound than thinner materials.
Mineral wool will trap sound waves and deaden vibrations. It is created from any fibrous material, including molten mineral material or rock materials which will create a highly dense material that It is a great tool for noise insulation and will minimize the noise coming from the outside into places like bedrooms where you want to get a good night’s sleep and even your house that is close to busy roads. It is also fire resistant but it is an insulation-style material so it may not be very easy to install in a room that is already constructed. It can be done it will just be more difficult and time-consuming.
Install Soundproof Fiberglass
Soundproof fiberglass can be used in insulation but you can also purchase it as a sound insulation board which will not only absorb echoes in the room you are working in but will make your wall look pretty since they come in an array of patterns and colors. These panels will deaden the sound coming from the outside as well as the sound coming from the inside and they are great for the walls of a recording studio, a home office studio, entertainment theater rooms in your home, and on the walls of offices to cut down on the noise between each office. It can also help cut down on energy costs and make your house warmer in the winter months.