Soundproof Curtains: Do They Really Work?


One of the simplest solutions for soundproofing a room is soundproof curtains. They are inexpensive, easy to hang up, and the marketing for the curtains promises the moon. Do they really work, though?

In my experience, soundproof curtains are very effective for sound deadening applications but are almost entirely useless as sound blockers. In a practical sense, that means they are good for reducing echo in a room but will not reduce the decibel level of sounds entering the room.

However, just because it doesn’t do much to reduce the decibel level doesn’t mean that soundproof curtains won’t help your room to feel quieter. How is that possible? Let me explain what I mean.

Suppose you bring your iPhone into the bathroom and play a song on it. Can you hear how annoying the sound is? It reverberates off all the walls and echoes terribly. Now take the phone into your master closet. Although the iPhone is playing the song at the same level, it sounds significantly quieter and more pleasing when you’re in the closet. Why? Because the closet has clothes everywhere, which deaden the echo.

Soundproof curtains work just like the clothes in the closet in the example. They don’t actually quiet the volume of the sound source, but they make the sound die out much more quickly within the room. This makes the room more pleasing from a sound standpoint.

So, Do Soundproof Curtains Work or Not?

Yes!

If you hear a lot of exterior sound like road noise in your room, then soundproof curtains will not be as effective as a true soundproof window, but they are a simple and effective choice to at least make the problem less. Curtains are a fantastic way to deaden sound in your room and keep it from echoing. Curtains alone may not be enough, but it will certainly help.

It’s just like the clothes in a closet, but with the extra benefit of creating a barrier between the window and the room.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Soundproof Curtains

With every purchase you make, there are going to be some distinct advantages, and disadvantages of the product and the same applies to soundproof curtains.

The first thing to remember is that soundproof curtains are often heavy and thick. They are designed like this to keep out light and sound. If the room you are hanging them in needs natural light, then the thick material of soundproof curtains are not something you will want to have in the space. Likewise, if you install them in an office, it may make the room too dark as well.

However, with soundproof curtains, you will find noise reduction, thermal insulation, easy installation, and light blocking. On the other hand, there may be design issues as you try to incorporate them into the rooms of your home and again, the light-blocking may be a pro or a con depending on the room and its need for natural light.

How Do They Work?

Sound reducing curtains are good at dampening noise, but they won’t be effective at completely canceling all the noise. Yes, they are made from a thick and dense material, but it is not going to be enough to make the room completely silent.

The surface of these curtains often has a porous surface that allows them to absorb sound waves which make the room noticeably quieter.

Choosing a High-Quality Soundproof Curtain

Many curtains are marketed as being “soundproof” but are nothing of the sort. It’s simply a marketing term that many companies use to describe any thick curtain.

A truly effective soundproof curtain will be heavy, tightly woven, and will go from ceiling to floor and several inches past each side of the window. The key here is that it covers as much area around the window as possible so that the folds in the curtains can create as much of a seal around the sides as possible.

The two soundproof curtains I recommend are the Nicetown soundproof curtains which have over 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon, and also I like the Best Home Fashion soundproof curtains, which have over 4,000 positive reviews.

Using ceiling brackets to hang your curtain rod brings the curtain closer to the ceiling to block more sound.

Three tips for getting the best sound reduction from your curtains:

ceiling hook

  • Buy FOUR panels for each window instead of just two! To be effective, the more DENSITY you can put between the room and the window, the better.
  • Buy the 96″ curtains and NOT the 84″ long curtains! This will mean that your curtain will go floor to ceiling if you have traditional 8′ ceilings (and will look nicer).
  • Buy ceiling mount curtain brackets instead of the regular wall brackets. This takes the curtain closer to the ceiling and consequently blocks more sound.

Professional Solutions

If you have a higher budget or really need to fully stop the sound from coming through the window, then you should really take a look at Acousticurtains which are available on Amazon.

It’s not cheap, but if you put these over the window AND you get the sound deadening curtains, then you’re very likely to solve the problem without the need of paying for a $1,000 soundproof window and pay an extra $400 to get it installed. In my opinion, the Acousticurtains are actually a pretty decent choice for the frugal consumer with a real sound problem.

More Buying Advice

When you are choosing the best soundproof drapes for your home and space, you should also consider the following:

The Size

You need to determine the size you need for the curtains before purchasing them. Use a tape measure to measure the length, height, and width of the area you will be hanging the curtains in. Keep in mind; you want soundproof curtains to be a few inches wider and longer than the door or window. The bigger the curtains, the more effective they will be at sound dampening.

The Materials

The materials will vary with the curtains you are purchasing. When finding the best soundproofing materials, look for polyester, suede, or velvet curtains – anything made with extra fibers. Thermal insulated curtains, thermaweave, and thermalayer curtains are also ideal and will help even more with the sound absorption and will cover all air gaps.

The Density

Remember that thicker curtains will absorb and dampen the sound better than thinner curtains. For even more noise cancellation, you can also consider doubling or tripling the layers of the curtains you use in the space.

Benefits of Sound Reducing Curtains

In addition to their ability to provide you with a much quieter home or office environment, these noise canceling curtains have a myriad of other benefits to take advantage of as well, including:

  • Shielding you from light intrusion. They create a blackout effect that many people love
  • Extra insulating layers to conserve heat and cold
  • Quick and easy to install
  • Many are designed based on acoustic engineering fundamentals to help block out as much sound as possible

Conclusion

Sound absorbing curtains may not give you as much soundproofing as a soundproof window or other professional methods, but they are an excellent way to make a nice improvement in your sound reduction for a low cost. The curtains blackout most of the light coming into the room as well.

I’ve lived in several homes with sound issues, and it’s definitely worth investing in ways to quiet the room in my opinion. It makes the room more peaceful and quieter. Good luck to you!

FAQ

Do noise blocking curtains really work?

If you are trying to lessen the noisy sound waves caused by outside factors, then you will find that noise blocking curtains can help block out some of the sound – or at least dampen it more than regular curtains could.

Do thicker curtains block out noise?

Sound absorbing curtains block out some of the noise but are not capable of blocking out all the noise. These curtains do come much thicker and heavier than standard curtains for this reason.

Can curtains absorb sound?

Sound absorbing curtains help improve the sound quality and reduce vibration levels within whatever room they are installed in. The acoustic curtain material used to make these curtains is highly porous and incredibly thick to help dampen the noise and provide sound insulation.

What materials can block out sound?

Acoustic panels, insulation, dampening compounds, mass loaded vinyl, sound absorption sheets, and acoustical sealant can all help you soundproof walls, floors, and ceilings. Sound proof curtains are just one step you can take when trying to dampen the noise in your space.

Are sound reducing curtains energy efficient?

Since they are so thick and heavy, they can prove to be energy efficient because they effectively black out the light and keep the space insulated similar to the way thermal blackout curtains work.

12 thoughts on “Soundproof Curtains: Do They Really Work?

  1. Hi,
    I would like a soundproofing barrier to divide two studios – The quote for foldable soundproof doors are very expensive nearly 10000 euro – what can you suggest please? – the space is about 6 m by 2.5 m

  2. Hi Jim. I have a small home studio in our spare room, with a 6′ x 6′ glass window facing an enclosed porch. I am not so much concerned with sound isolation as much as reflections from the glass, and took a look at the Nicetown range, which you recommended, and which seemed to be what I was looking for, as I don’t want to install panelling which will close this window area permanently. I emailed Nicetown and asked their advice on a suitable product of theirs, and this was their reply:, which is contrary to your suggestion:

    ” Regarding your request about dampen the reflections and echos in recording studio, I think it should be the specialized curtain that can reach your request. Our curtain is mostly home using and may can not can do well on dampen the echos.”

    Now I’m totally confused! I would appreciate your comments..
    Stan

    1. Well first off it sounds like whoever wrote that reply, does not speak english as their first language. But secondly, what I think they are trying to say though is that while the product helps to reduce echo in the home, they can’t necessarily recommend it for a recording studio, which they see as a business application, and it would be a liability for them to recommend a home based product to a business. I think you should try the product honestly. In a home studio, you have to improvise. I used to work from home myself and had to use whatever i could to reduce reflections in my unfinished basement. Blankets, curtains, whatever.

      As a recording studio owner myself, i have some experience in building a commercial space and i have had to try different approaches to reduce echo within my rooms. Anything that has a cloth like, or absorbant material will help to reduce echo, and the thicker and denser the material is, the better. I built some panels i hang on the wall, out of 2×3 wood studs stuffed with soundproof insulation from lowe’s, and some black felt fabric from the crafts store.

      hope this helps.

    2. Hi Stan,

      For echo control I would suggest looking for a curtain with a high NRC rating. This determines the amount of sound that can be absorbed by a curtain. A curtain with a high STC rating would be ideal for sound blocking. I suspect you might want a combination of both. Many curtain manufactures will use the terms soundproof without much evidence or no lab testing.

    3. Hi Stan, I’m wondering what you did. I have a similar problem with windows and a sliding glass door in my stereo listening room. Curtains will help some to dampen the reflections but won’t be nearly as efficient according to the ‘experts’. Have you installed anything and how does it sound? I tried hanging furniture blankets (the kind movers use) and they helped but obviously not a long term solution. I’ve been checking with acoustic treatment companies (most of them provide free assessments) and the one that offers the solution that I like the best is Acoustic Fields. Expensive at $750/panel.

  3. Hi, you recommend getting 4 panels instead of two. Does that mean I have two rods running next to each other, essentially a pair of curtains immediately parallel to each other?

    Also, if you search for the word “sound” in the amazon reviews for Nicetown and Best Home curtains, almost all of them say that they don’t really block out any sound. Has your experience been different?

  4. Hello,
    I came across this wonderful blog while looking for soundproof curtains. I have a Hair Salon & Spa and above me is a Veterinarian Clinic and as you might have guessed the dog do bark and bark. There is a kennel next to a room above my space. They have an open thru-way from room into the kennel and I want to suggest to the Vets upstairs an idea to put in a sound proof curtain between the kennel and room above me. Can you suggest the very best curtain to use.

    Thank you,
    Tristine

  5. The curtains mentioned in the article are only around £30 for two and only weigh around 1.3kg.
    What about something like RIDPHONIC Soundproof Curtain 15dB curtains which cost £166 per curtain and weigh 8.02kg each. More mass should perform better shouldn’t it? Do you think these would perform better and soundproofing?

  6. Another brand that is not listed in the article is MOONDREAM, a brand specialized in “technical curtains” that also offers a wide range of sound insulation curtains starting at $99.
    They are quite heavy at around 6 lbs each (but not too heavy to be easily installed) and use their own patented technology with 3 layers of strategically assembled materials. The products have been tested by independent laboratories to confirm their performance: significant reduction of noise as well as sound reverberation in the room.
    They also provide thermal insulation against heat and cold and a 100% blackout effect.

  7. I have a conference room at work that we get a lot of sound reverberation, we have trying to do all the research about this and what would be the best way to go about reducing the sound echo. first we are looking into putting in a acoustical drop ceiling . right now the room is open to the wood underlayment under roof all the way to the peak. with the new ceiling being about 12 foot high , we would be closing the space by about 400 sg. ft. we have a few longer windows in the room , they are only about 3 foot high by 10 foot long, and carpet on floor. and textured walls. would you have any recommendations on -if some drapes would help also. i have looked at sound panels some are pricey for the sizes.

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