By Lara Ceroni
Lara is an experienced writer, editor and social strategist having spent over a decade working for major global publications, as well as national newspapers.
Whether it's noisy neighbours, bleeping garbage trucks or thudding footsteps, unwanted outside noise at home can be infuriating. Thankfully, there are several ways we can minimize those sounds so our home is a peaceful, tranquil oasis. Here are some of our favorite soundproofing solutions.
1. Use sound-absorbing rugs and carpets
Hard surfaces reflect sound waves while soft surfaces absorb them, so materials like padded carpeting will help reduce vibrations. Uncovered, hard floors—like bare wood, tile or laminate—will emphasize footsteps, so for rooms requiring extra quiet, like a study or a bedroom, wall-to-wall carpeting is your best bet. If committing to a fully carpeted room isn't your style, a few well-placed rugs will work wonders. Opt for thick, plush fabrics to absorb as much sound as possible and don't forget a carpet pad underneath. Thankfully, we hear shag rugs are making a comeback!
2. Fill in the cracks
Close-up Of Person Hand Applying Silicone Sealant With Silicone Gun On Window
Sound is like water; it can seep into any unsealed space. From gaps under doors to airflow coming through or around your windows, gaps let in clamour, so a very easy and affordable strategy for soundproofing your home is by simply filling in the cracks. A few ways to seal away outdoor sounds include:
- Caulking around switch and receptacle boxes for a tight seal;
- Placing weatherstrips under your doors;
- Installing weatherstripping along the edge of windows;
- Filling in cracks in drywall (a major cause of noise) with caulking;
- Filling in any cracks you find in floorboards; and
- Installing storm windows.
3. Hang heavy drapes
Windows are often overlooked as sound disruptors but they can let in a lot of noise. This is a particularly fine point for a bedroom to ensure better rest and relaxation. Spring for lined drapes, which greatly help in blocking sound from entering through the window from outside. Got a lot of noise? Heavy-duty soundproofing window treatments act as an extra-efficient barrier for reducing racket. Remember, the thicker the fabric, the better it will be at reducing sound.
4. Muffle sounds with a heavy bookcase
Here's a fun hack that doubles as storage. If you have thin walls, consider installing a built-in bookshelf as a partition. Books and other objects can help reduce sound wave vibrations and noise coming from the other side.
5. Invest in new doors
Most interior doors are hollow-core, so to reduce noise, invest in new composites, like particleboard-core, composite-core or solid wood doors. They will work much better at providing a sound barrier.
6. Install acoustic panels
Made of porous expanded polypropylene (PEPP), acoustic sound panels are meant to improve the acoustics inside a room (for example, a home theatre), but they're also great at blocking outside noise. Some manufacturers even offer custom-printed fabrics to turn your panels into wall art. Installation is relatively simple: just attach with clips and velcro.