How to Soundproof a Room: 5 Areas to Consider

Kristin Salaky
Written by Kristin Salaky
Updated July 25, 2022
A woman relaxes in a peaceful room
Photo: fizkes / Adobe Stock

Sometimes you need to hear the sweet sound of silence

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Soundproofing a room may not sound like your average household activity, but there are plenty of reasons why you might need to—and believe it or not, it can actually be a DIY project. Whether you’re dipping a toe into the world of podcasting, a relative has gifted your teenager with a drum set for their birthday, or you simply just need uninterrupted sleep, knowing how to soundproof a room can be a blessing for your ears.

What is Soundproofing?

Soundproofing methods either block noise from entering a room or block noise from leaving a room. You might opt to soundproof a room if you live near a busy street, need a quiet space to work, or simply want to keep outdoor noises at bay inside your home. 

There are various ways to soundproof a room, but generally, you’ll leverage materials that reduce or absorb sound to control noise. 

How Much Does It Cost to Soundproof a Room?

Soundproofing costs vary depending on how much space you want to soundproof and the materials you choose. On average, you’ll spend about $10 to $30 per square foot to have a local soundproofing pro do this for you.

How to Prep for Soundproofing a Room

If you already know which room you want to soundproof, it can be helpful to pinpoint the exact source of sound that needs controlling. Whether the unwanted noise flows through the floors from rooms below or through the windows from the street outside, there are multiple ways to create a soundproof room to block noise from further disrupting your inner peace.

You’ll need to gather a different list of supplies and materials depending on the rooms you soundproof and the methods you choose. Below, we explain how to soundproof a room using a variety of materials and methods. 

How to Soundproof a Room by Section

Soundproof the Floor

A man installs carpeting onto a floor
Photo: AndreyPopov / Getty Images

There are few sounds more disruptive than a creaky floor, particularly when you’re trying to be mindful of others who dwell in your residence. There are a few methods for quieting noisy floorboards; luckily, some are budget-friendly.

Add an Underlayment

If you’re in the midst of constructing a home, this is your opportunity to install underlayment underneath your new floorboards. Underlayment works particularly well for absorbing sound from hard flooring types. 

Lay Carpeting

Installing carpeting over the floor in the room you want to soundproof is an affordable way to block sounds. Carpets and rugs are more effective when placed on top of a liner, so consider purchasing and laying down a liner specifically made for soundproofing first if you decide to go this route.

Use Rubber Mats

Rubber or gym mats are another quick fix for stopping sounds that arise from floorboards. The spongy material they consist of successfully absorbs noise in the loudest of rooms, such as gyms that house heavy equipment and machinery. Of course, if the room you’re soundproofing isn’t a home gym and you don’t like the rubber mat floor aesthetic, adding a thick rug on top of the mat will both improve the look and add additional soundproofing support.

Soundproof the Walls

A man adds insulation on a brick wall
Photo: ronstik / Adobe Stock

Arguably the most important surface to tackle when soundproofing a room are the walls—especially if you live in a multi-level home or townhouse where walls are notoriously thin. Much like the other surfaces of a room, there are plenty of DIY and pro options for soundproofing walls. 

Install Wallpaper and Tapestries

Yep, your wall art can provide functionality and fashion. Hanging decorative tapestries on your room's walls can help soften the sound that enters the area, making for lovely focal points. Wallpaper is an unexpected soundproofing solution, but one that’s quite effective. You can purchase specific wallpaper made ‌of an absorbent, soundproof foam to squash any noise that infringes on your peace and quiet. 

Rearrange Your Furniture

Furniture might seem a little too easy of an answer, but we can’t argue with its ability to absorb sound. Larger-sized furniture pieces such as bookcases or armoires can be strategically placed against thin walls so that their mass soaks up any incoming sound waves. 

Seal Out the Sound

If you want to remedy minor noise issues, a little sealant goes a long way. Inspect the walls of your room to locate any cracks or openings that could invite outside noise, and use a water-based sealant to fill them in. You can usually paint over sealant, so you won’t need to worry about unsightly sealant spots scattered around the room.  

Add Acoustic Wall Paneling

Acoustic wall panels are soft-furnished panels typically made out of a foam and fabric combination that can attach to an existing wall and absorb sound. Mount these panels onto the walls of your room using an adhesive or with impaling clips—but keep in mind that certain adhesives may damage the paint on your wall, and impaling clips take longer to install. 

For added protection, place a layer of packing tape on the wall before applying paneling adhesive. The packing tape acts as a protective barrier against potential damage from the adhesive and helps ensure you can remove your foam paneling without damage later. 

Add Extra Insulation to Your Walls

Adding extra sound-absorbing materials such as insulation to your walls will certainly be the most in-depth soundproofing option but is also the most thorough. If you prefer to open your existing wall to add the material, use the following steps:

  1. Remove the drywall, thus exposing the wall studs

  2. Add a layer of the insulation of your choice between the studs. Some options include cotton batt or fiberglass insulation, but you may want to research insulation made specifically for sound absorption to find the most effective brand. 

  3. Replace the drywall

If you want to avoid opening up your existing wall, you can build onto the wall and insulate it by adding more framing and an additional layer of drywall. 

  1. Locate the existing wall studs and attach a new wall frame on top of them

  2. Fill the frame with the same soundproofing insulation material(s) noted above

  3. Cover the new frame with drywall

Soundproof the Windows

A man applies sealant to the inside of a window frame
Photo: Africa Studio / Adobe Stock

Windows are our portals to the outside world, but unfortunately, noise comes with the view. If you’re no longer inclined to hear the sounds of the busy street below or a cacophony of birds chirping in the morning, take a look at some of these methods for soundproofing your windows

Incorporate Weatherstripping

A fast solution for stopping noise flow from your windows is to seal the border around them using weatherstripping. Sealing any cracks or openings around the window frames will help block out sounds from outside and keep in heat—making it an energy-efficient option. 

Add Window Inserts

Placing window inserts into your windows is a great way to block out the noise from outside without compromising the view. Window inserts are clear glass or acrylic panes installed over windows and can be popped back out easily if needed. They create an airtight seal that can reduce noise by up to 50%. 

Hang Noise Canceling Drapes or Blackout Curtains

Hanging heavy-duty soundproof curtains, or blackout curtains, is another cost-effective way to drown out unwanted chatter. The thick fabric material acts as a barrier against sound while also keeping in warm or cool air depending on the season. This means it’s also a proven energy-saver.

Insulate the Ceiling

A girl adds acoustic tiles to a ceiling
Photo: Ekaterina / Adobe Stock

To fully soundproof a room, you’ll need to include the ceiling. Soundproofing a ceiling may prove to be the most expensive part of the endeavor, but you’ll get what you pay for in the end. Two tried-and-true methods for eliminating ceiling sound are installing ceiling clouds or laying acoustic tiles over a ceiling. 

  • Acoustic ceiling tiles: Made from acoustic materials such as foam, polyester, fiberglass, or wood. Choose from sound absorption, sound blocking, and sound diffusion tiles, depending on your situation. 

  • Ceiling clouds: Similar to ceiling tiles, but are hung parallel and offset to the ceiling. This strategic positioning allows them to absorb sound as it travels toward a ceiling and then again as it bounces back towards the floor. They’re most often used in recording studios and can be a pricey addition to your residential rooms. 

Soundproof the Doors

A man cuts excess foam from a door frame
Photo: plysuikvv / Adobe Stock

Doors are a key element to privacy in a room, but even they can’t keep everything out. There are several ways to soundproof a bedroom or exterior door; some are more affordable than others. 

Incorporate Draft Stoppers and Door Sweeps

The quickest and cheapest solution for soundproofing doors is to add a draft stopper and/or door sweep. Draft stoppers are placed on the front side of a door and work well for noise reduction. Door sweeps are typically rubber or plastic and can be installed underneath the door to reduce sound transmission.

Seal Your Doors Caulk

If adding a draft stopper or door sweep doesn’t quite do the trick, there is the option to apply caulk around the doorframe. Caulk acts as a sealant and can block noises when applied to crevasses. 

Weatherstrip Your Doors

Like windows, you can seal exterior doors with silicone. This is usually the preferred door weatherstrippingn material because it’s durable, soft, and remains tight as the door swells and shrinks with the temperature. 

Choose Alternative Door Types

If you’ve tried the methods listed above to soundproof your door to no avail, you may need to take drastic—meaning more expensive measures—and replace the door altogether. Hollow doors are generally more affordable but aren’t fully capable of acting as a sound barrier. Consider opting for a solid wood slab door. The density of this door type works well to stop the transmission of noise.

Add Acoustic Panels to Your Doors

A fifth option for soundproofing a door is to add acoustic foam panels to it. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the door hinges, as well as the doorknob.

  2. Attach the acoustic foam panel with a strong adhesive or impaler clips.

  3. If applicable, trim down any excess paneling using a utility knife.

  4. Ensure that the hinges and doorknob can be reinstalled now that the paneling has been attached to the door. If not, trim down any extra paneling as needed. 

  5. Reinstall the doorknob and hinges, and test to ensure the door opens and closes properly.

Tips for Soundproofing a Room

There’s a soundproofing method for every budget, from outsourcing to a professional to implementing quick, inexpensive fixes. If you want to soundproof on a budget, here are a few tips.

  • Strategically place furniture, or hang tapestries or wallpaper, to resolve bigger noise problems. 

  • Apply sealant to tiny cracks or holes in the wall

  • Hang ornate tapestries or thick blankets from the ceiling for a quick, inexpensive fix.

  • Lay down carpets or rugs on your existing floor 

It’s also worth noting that there’s a difference between soundproofing and sound absorbing. Soundproofing methods block sound from entering or exiting a room, while sound absorption methods remove echoes and improve sound quality. Figure out what your ultimate goals are for controlling noise. To achieve true peace and quiet, you may need to leverage a combination of soundproofing and sound absorption materials.

Soundproofing FAQs

What can you put in a room to absorb sound?

Empty rooms echo. Adding carpet, furniture, plants, and window treatments can help control noise in a room. Also, certain materials absorb sound better than others. 

Soft or porous materials like cloths and fabrics absorb the most sound, whereas hard, impenetrable materials such as metals or floor tiles reflect sound.

Is soundproofing the same as sound absorbing?

No, soundproofing is not the same as sound absorbing. Many will use the terms interchangeably, but they achieve different results. Soundproofing products keep sound contained in a space, preventing sound from exiting or entering a room. Sound absorption products control soundwaves by absorbing background noises and echoes.

How do you soundproof a room from outside neighbors?

Soundproof windows can block up to 95% of sound, but they are expensive. Some more affordable methods for controlling outside noise include sealing your door gaps, installing weatherstripping, and adding more insulation or acoustic wall paneling.

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