A restful night’s sleep is almost priceless and understanding how to soundproof a bedroom can be invaluable in many situations. Sound pollution from outside or an adjoining room can interrupt your ability to fall and stay asleep. Consequently, you may find yourself wondering how you can reduce sounds that enter and reverberate around your bedroom to give you the peace and quiet that you can only dream about. Fortunately, there are methods to soundproofing your bedroom that won’t break your back or the bank.
Soundproofing is the term for reducing noise traveling either to or from a room. There are five ways to reduce sound:
By considering each of these in turn, you can significantly reduce the noise in your bedroom. Low-cost solutions like placing a rug, curtains, and other soft furnishings can absorb sound effectively. Whereas, the addition of mass in the form of furniture, drywall, or panels, are inexpensive methods to reduce sound reverberation and propagation. One of the cheapest things you can do to reduce noise is to fill in the gaps in doors and windows to prevent sound entering the room at all.
Before we go into the 9 different soundproofing methods, let’s take a step back and establish a few things that we need to consider.
Soundproofing is concerned with preventing sound entering a room. There are five principles to reducing noise:
The higher the mass, the less the noise can propagate in space. Mass includes walls, doors, windows, furniture, furnishings. Whatever you do to limit noise during soundproofing, it is often partially based on applying mass and using it to prevent sound from getting in.
This is the technique of placing air or another substance between two solid objects, like a wall. The air pocket makes it harder for sound to travel through it, helping limit the distance noise can travel.
Absorption appears to lower the sound because it stops sound echoing and minimizes its harshness to our ears. Typically, this is done with soft furnishings. However, it doesn’t block noise the way that mass does.
When you dampen a sound, you are reducing its resonance. When this occurs, sounds waves are converted into heat energy. The result is that less sound travels through the dampening material.
Naturally, the further you are from the sound, the quieter it becomes. The energy of the noise is reduced the greater the distance the sound waves have to travel. It might be the most effective method for soundproofing, but not one we can use this technique in a room!
If you consider each of these principles when you are soundproofing your room, you will be able to maximize the effect each solution provides.
The first 5 solutions on my list are simple things you can do with various furnishings you may already possess.
How it Works
Soft surfaces absorb sound, and incorporating soft furnishing into your bedroom is an excellent cheap way to reduce the reverberation of noise inside a room. The great thing about these solutions is that they are easily reversible and portable. Therefore, if you are living in temporary housing, you can still invest in these items and take them with you to your next home. It also means you won’t frustrate your landlord with some of the more permanent soundproofing options.
Doing Home Improvements
Solutions 6 through 9 will take a bit more work and a little know-how, but they are not as hard as someone might think.
What You Can Do
If you are somewhat handy, then there are some easy, inexpensive alterations that you can make to soundproof your bedroom. Most of the solutions below are concerned with filling gaps around the door and windows of the room.
9 Ways to Soundproof Your Bedroom
Reducing noise in your bedroom is vital to let your brain rest and help your mind and body recharge at night. Luckily if there you have issues with noise pollution, there are straightforward, inexpensive solutions to solve the problem.
1. Rugs, or carpets
Live with hardwood, tile, or concrete floors for a few days, and you will quickly realize that the sound of every footstep, each cup that’s set down, and every conversation carries through the house easily.
Rugs (or the more permanent option of carpets) are a great solution to dampening the vibrations. While a rug won’t eliminate noise, it will reduce the harshness of that vibration in the home. This is especially effective if you have loud upstairs neighbors as a rug will reduce the amount of noise you hear from them. Just place it below where the most noise comes from.
Blanks, throws, comforters, and pillows can all be used to eliminate noise in your home. You can think of noise vibration like a draft and use covers to eradicate it. If the sound is coming through a gap in the door or a window frame, you can use a blanket to fill in the hole.
You may have read that comforters can be affixed to walls to add mass and reduce sound coming through it. However, they aren’t big enough to have much effect. A better use of covers is to place them on the opposite side of the room where the noise is emanating from. That way they can dampen the sound and stop sound echoing off a hard surface.
These are not only great for light pollution but sound pollution too. Multilayered curtains can help absorb sound that can get through cracks in window frames as well as damping sound that is vibrating through the glass.
There are such things as soundproof curtains, like these found on Amazon, but their performance is somewhat debatable. Necessarily, soundproof curtains are heavy curtains with a layer of foam or high-density black yarn between the layers of fabric, but results are inconclusive as to whether this is more effective than heavy curtains alone.
If you can’t afford heavy/soundproof curtains, you can try to find some at a local goodwill or thrift store. If you have the skills, you can make your own heavy curtains too. Look for materials like velvet or velour in your design. If curtains are too expensive or you are looking for a quick fix for a couple of nights, and you have a curtain pole, you can always hang a few large blankets over the pole. Layer the covers on the pole for extra soundproofing.
One of the most effective ways to lower sound in a room is to place furniture in it. It is a highly inexpensive method as you probably own the furniture already.
The heavier the furniture, the more mass it has, therefore, the better it is at soundproofing. While the minimalist look may help you feel serene, adding in soft furniture like a couch, ottoman or chairs make this method most effective.
A table decreases the echo from a floor, and a bookcase is a large mass object that will absorb sound from the wall. So, if you hear audio from an adjoining room, place a cabinet on that wall, and you’ll find the room will be quieter. Place the furniture strategically to break up and dissipate soundwaves wherever you can.
5. Door seals
Any gaps between a door and its frame allow sound to escape and enter a room effortlessly. A mounted seal on the bottom of entry will permanently eliminate this cause of sound pollution in your room.
When you are choosing your seal, make sure that it will fill in the gap entirely, otherwise, it is a pointless task. You can choose the materials used in your seal, from metal or rubber.
Here is a good one found on Amazon that I find to be very effective.
Gaps in windows don’t just mean that there is cold air getting inside your room; it also results in sounds from outside ruining your bedroom’s serenity. Weatherstripping is a cheap solution to closing those gaps. Yes, they are designed to stop air penetrating the indoors; however, they will also keep sound away too.
The thin material (made from EPMD rubber) used in weatherstripping lies against the glass window, and the strip adheres to the frame. It is best to use self-adhesive weather strips for this. You can, and should, also use these on doors. Here are some that are specifically designed to help with soundproofing.
7. Acoustic sealant
If weatherstripping is too much work, or perhaps a bit bulky for some small cracks, then you can use an acoustic sealant for your windows and doors. You would use it in a similar manner to caulk, and it might be tempting to use that product instead, as it is cheaper.
However, caulk will shrink and crack, allowing sound in. Conversely, the acoustic sealant remains flexible, keeping the seal tight for years and years.
Here is my favorite type of acoustical caulk, found on Amazon.
8. Soundproofing panels
Soundproofing panels, like these found on Amazon, are inexpensive dense panels that add mass to a wall. This is a solution if you are dealing with a lot of sounds.
You need to cover an entire wall for this method to work. If you cannot affix anything to the wall, you can make soundproofing panels in a frame. To do this:
- Make wooden frames and cover one side with some kind of material.
- Fill in the frame with insulations, e.g., Rockwool.
- Cover the other side of the frame with more material.
Suddenly, you have a cheap, portable soundproofing panel you can move from place to place.
9. Drywall, airgaps, and damping compounds
If you have the skills to install drywall, and your housing situation allows for permanent modifications, this is a cheap method to reduce sound in a room. By adding mass to the wall, there is more material for the sound waves to travel through, reducing the noise.
If you have a large room, it is good to leave an air cavity between two layers of the wall, as this creates better insulation against sound waves compared to a thick wall alone. If you can spend a little more, instead of an air gap, you can put Green Glue or QuietGlue Pro on instead. Both are fantastic products that convert mechanical energy from sound into heat.
This isn’t a heating solution, though, it doesn’t make enough heat to lower your energy bills. They are best used when you are trying to reduce low-frequency sounds, such as music, television, and construction machinery.
There are several low-cost strategies that you can undertake to soundproof a bedroom. Through understanding how sound waves propagates through the room, you can strategically place items to have the most significant effect.
No matter what you do, your aim is to limit any gaps or cracks in the environment while also placing soft furnishings around the room to absorb and dampen any sounds waves that enter the room. You can also add in some permanent features in an inexpensive manner, including adding drywall. Combining these techniques are needed to soundproof a room; individually, they will not have much effect.
Helpful Related Products
Here is a summary of a few of the recommended products that I covered in this article:
- Soundproofing Panels
- Rockwool Insulation
- Soundproof Curtains
- Bottom Door Seal
- Window Weatherstripping
- Acoustic Caulk
Will Egg Cartons Soundproof a Room? Despite the commonly held belief that egg cartons are the principle of low-cost soundproofing, it is sadly not the case. Alas, the material in egg cartons is far too thin to reduce sound waves effectively. What egg cartons can do is limit the echo in a room due to their irregular shape and uneven surfaces. Therefore, soundwaves bounce off of egg cartons in various directions spraying in the sounds and dispersing it.
Which Insulation is Best For Soundproofing? Insulation seems like it would have a substantial effect on soundproofing a room. However, it has a minimal effect on damping sound. If you are getting insulation solely to provide soundproofing, stick with standard fiberglass insulation. It is less expensive than mineral wool but will give you the same effect. Avoid foam insulation, though – it won’t do much for soundproofing.
How Do you Prevent Sound Escaping A Room? Preventing noise from entering and leaving a room is somewhat similar. You want to close all gaps that would let the sound out and place thick materials on the floor and ceiling. You’ll want to go further and seal off vents too. The best way, though, is an expensive one, and it is building a room within a room using soundproofing drywall and unique panel materials. Buy the best soundproofing materials you can to get the best result.