The Best Ways to Soundproof Your Home on a Budget

The Best Ways to Soundproof Your Home on a Budget

Whether it’s inconsiderate neighbors or roommates or just bedroom windows facing a busy street, all it takes is a few sleepless nights to have you Googling the word soundproofing. It’s notoriously difficult (and expensive) to truly soundproof a room that wasn’t designed and constructed with that goal in mind, though. If you’re in a rental and can’t actually renovate (or you just don’t want to spend the money and time to tear out walls), the situation might seem hopeless—but there are actually a lot of products you can buy that can greatly reduce the amount of noise pollution in your bedroom or other areas of the home. Here are your best options when it comes to a no-renovation soundproofing plan.

Temporary panels

One of the fundamental tools of soundproofing is the foam acoustic panel. While these are used to dampen echoes and sound within a room, they can also be very effective at dampening sound coming from exterior sources. If you have a specific wall or window that is transmitting noise (a shared wall with a roommate, or a window facing a loud street, for example), slapping some acoustic panels on the wall or window can help tremendously.

They sell self-adhesive acoustic panels that are easy to mount, but these can cause issues when you try to remove them, as the adhesive can take some paint or other finish off the walls and leave residue on window glass. An alternative solution is to buy some non-adhesive panels and use Command Strips to mount them. This way, when it’s time to get that security deposit back, you won’t have to worry about damaging walls and windows.

Window inserts

For windows, a pricier but more effective option would be a custom window insert, like the ones from Acoustical Solutions or Indow. These companies take your window measurements and construct a panel that fits snugly into your window jamb from the inside, improving the sound-blocking of the window without blocking the light. These sometimes do require some light drilling to install, but they’re 100% removable and can be very effective in reducing the noise entering a room through the windows—but they’re also much more expensive than foam panels; Indow’s inserts average about $US372, for example.

Acoustic curtains and blankets

Another option for soundproofing a window or door is an acoustic curtain or blanket that covers them. These are essentially heavy acoustic materials sewn inside a fabric casing and can typically be mounted on top of the window or door and rolled up or down. When rolled down, they usually have a Velcro or magnetic seal around the edge to make them tight against noise intrusion.

Ikea makes the Gunnlaug sound absorbing curtain, which is attractive and relatively affordable, for example, and you can also buy insulated door curtains that install over your doors to block noise and drafts (you’ll get better sound-blocking from the slightly more expensive Door Buddy or similar products from soundproofing supply companies). You can also have custom-made acoustic curtains for both windows and doors that are a bit easier to live with because they roll up easily when you’re not using them.

You can also try adding weather stripping to interior doors; these are self-adhesive strips that help seal the door tight when closed, which can go a long way toward reducing noise intrusion. As with all adhesives, removing this might be a concern when you move out, although it might not be noticeable if installed properly.

Rug pads

A final strategy to quiet down your living space without tearing stuff up is to add floor coverings. A thick rug can help block sound in both directions, and adding a rug pad with acoustic properties like this one from RugPadUSA can augment that effect. Rug pads and thick carpets won’t eliminate sound drifting up from below, but they can definitely muffle it, especially if you cover most or all of your floor space.

Noise is no joke—it can have a real negative effect on your health and happiness. Spending a little to make your living space as quiet as possible without risking your security deposit will be some of the best money you’ve ever spent.

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