Soundproofing a Room on a Budget

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It might be by some awful twist of fate that you find yourself living in the one apartment right above a ruthlessly ear-splitting nightclub, or your sensitive hearing and sanity are being challenged by the daily sounds of honking cars and loud pedestrians. Or, it could be none of the above, but you just want to keep uninvited sounds out of your home. Maybe you are building a recording studio or a meditation room. Whatever your reasons, soundproofing will help solve your noise woes. If, like most of us, you’re working on a budget, you can still make changes to your space that can effectively soundproof the room.

What to expect

Working with a budget usually means you’ll be working with second-tier soundproofing quality, at best. Though it likely won’t provide the 100% soundproof experience you may desire, it can still be very effective. Still, every now and then, you may find your living space invaded by the sounds of your environment, albeit reduced to a more tolerable level. In this case, you can make additional changes that will help further reduce unwanted noise.

What you’ll need

There are some changes you can make without opening your wallet at all, but other changes will require a few small investments. More than anything, it’s about getting creative with your space and what you have available to you to make your budget go as far as possible.

Tip #1: Rearrange your furniture strategically

Soundproofing 101: The hollower (ie. emptier) the room, the more sound will reverberate. So the idea is to carefully fill your room with paintings, carpets and other soft furnishings, and actual furniture. This will effectively weaken sound vibrations as they travel through more obstacles, which should make your room a bit quieter. Having a rug or carpet is particularly helpful for reducing floor noise, especially if you have bare hardwood floors.

Tip #2: Use Soundproofing foam

The idea here is to add mass to the walls. A quick search online or in your nearest craft, music or superstore will turn up a lot of soundproofing foam that you can purchase relatively inexpensively. If you’re on a budget, this is going to be one of the most effective ways to soundproof wall cheaply, and it is still considered to be an excellent solution. It not only prevents noise from intruding, it also helps prevent thermal loss. If you’re dealing with high-frequency noise, the foam panels can get the job done better than most other solutions.

Tip #3: Seal all gaps

When dealing with unwanted sound, you’ll learn that it can be a slippery weasel that is difficult to keep out — especially if your space is not sealed very well. You’ll have to seal all gaps using quality soundproofing tape. This means you’ll need to seal windows, doorjambs and even small cracks in the walls. You can use Weatherstrip tape, which you can find for around $10.

Tip #4: Soundproof curtains

For your final stand against unwanted sound, invest in sound-reducing curtains, many of which will also be room darkening. They’ll help keep unwanted sounds from completely breaching your peace, plus they’re usually aesthetically pleasing because you can choose options that match your decor.

Short of investing in professional soundproofing, these are some effective actions you can take to reduce most unwanted noise that would disturb your peace.

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