Today, many people find themselves living in a shared atmosphere like an apartment or a college dorm. These types of shared living facilities often have a common problem: sound.
Sound feels like it is traveling in every direction, and the most notable sounds are those you don’t want to hear. In many cases, this could be the noisy neighbors across the hall, the road noise from city traffic, or even the airplanes flying over on their commute.
In other cases, you may want to trap sounds into a particular space. You may not want to be known as the noisy neighbor or that loud house on the left. Luckily, there are tricks and tools to help both of the scenarios and can help you to soundproof your space on a budget.
How Does Sound Travel?
Understanding sound just a little bit will help to know how to properly soundproof your room. Sound travels as waves from the point where the sound occurs. The harder the surface that the sound wave will hit, the harder it will bounce off or carry.
If your room was made with wooden floors and concrete walls, like many college dorm rooms, there is very little to nothing that would capture and absorb the sound. Therefore, the sound carries for far longer and at a louder volume.
The trick for sound is to break it up or absorb it in order to prevent it from carrying farther than it should go. The good news is that this can be accomplished with a variety of items. Some items are made specifically for this purpose, but there are even household items you can use to help soundproof a room.
Carpets, Rugs, and Curtains
When creating a living space, many people want to ensure that they are decorating with beautiful décor, such as drapes and rugs to accent their rooms. Carpets and dense fabric materials work well to absorb sound.
Drapes and curtains can help capture sounds that would normally come in through windows, so if your room has older windows that aren’t well insulated, this can definitely keep sound out the room and also help provide some life to your room.
Carpets have the same effect for noises that would bounce off of the floor of the room. If your home isn’t equipped with carpet flooring, then a nice decorative floor rug can be purchased to help with this.
Unfortunately, floor rugs are not always cheap, depending upon the size of the rug you need. Common floor rug sizes include 5’ foot by 7’ foot, 6’ by 9’, or 8’ by 10’.
Fab Habitat Reversible, Indoor/Outdoor Weather Resistant Floor Mat/Rug – Miramar – Gray (8′ x 10′) is an affordable option to provide additional sound absorption for the room you are attempting to quieten.
Another option is the ADGO Atlantic Collection Modern Abstract Chevron Zig Zag Wave Bedroom Living Dining Room Floor Rug, Brown Grey, 8′ x 10’1″. This rug is much thicker than the prior and will provide both a nice look, as well as a good feel to the feet. The best part is the absorption of sound more highly effective than the first rug. Unfortunately, the price tag is higher, too.
Curtains and Drapes
For curtain and drapes, blackout curtains made for keeping the sunlight out typically provide the most sound attenuation.
Popular choices include curtains like the EDILLY window blackout curtains, which are heavy triple woven curtains. These curtains come in a variety of colors and are reasonably priced.
Another good option for blackout curtains Deconovo Blackout Curtains are touted as insulated for energy efficiency; however, they also help to provide a great sound barrier. With two to four windows in your room, you could be investing between eighty and one hundred and sixty dollars in window treatments in addition to a good rug, which will run you between two and three hundred dollars as well.
Combined, these items can help to lessen sound coming in and out of your room and keep you inside a budget of $750.
Soundproofing a Room for Home Theater or Studio
Decorations and window treatments are great, but what if you are trying to achieve a home theater room, or you have a band that needs to practice? There are various options that can help you trap sound.
The most common treatment for a more intense approach is sound-dampening panels. These acoustic panels are typically made of foam and have various shapes across their faces rather than a flat surface, much like an egg carton mattress topper. These pads are usually sold in sheets or pieces that are put together like tiles to fill your room.
The Foamily Studio Foam Wedges acoustic panels are sold in twelve-inch by twelve-inch sheets that are one inch thick. These sheets are currently listed online for a cost of $18.99. They are also sold in a twelve-pack so depending upon the size of your room you could cover a small portion of your room or potentially the entire room with these panels and remain under your five hundred dollar budget.
This approach is a more professional approach. Assuming a room that is ten foot long and has eight-foot ceilings, you will need 80 Pieces of 12” x 12” foam or 7 total boxes. That would allow for a few extra pieces and provide complete coverage of your walls to feel like a home recording studio.
Other variations of this product include Pro Studio Acoustics 12″x12″x2″ Acoustic Wedge in Blue/Charcoal, which has the added benefit of 2” thickness and contrasting colors. Whether you are the home movie buff trying to quiet down your movie room or you are the lead drummer of a band, you can find a plethora of options to minimize the sound entering and escaping your room. The options are endless and can be used in combination, depending upon your goal. Improving your atmosphere and maintaining a $750 budget is very feasible when it comes to sound attenuation.