How to soundproof your home on a budget
The idea of working from home may have sounded like a dream come true for a lot of people when the idea was forced upon us by the pandemic. You can wake up and go to your office without having to wear any formal office attire, and your office is just a few steps away from your bed or bedroom.
Eventually, though, we have all experienced working from home along with loud sounds, whether it’s someone watching the TV outside, a dog barking, cars passing in front of your house, and so many more unwanted sounds that keep you from doing your work properly. If you’ve worked from home recently, you know how tough working like this could be. The distracting noise disrupts your routine, but luckily, there are many easy ways to reduce the noise in your home office.
What are the benefits of soundproofing your home office?
For one, it can increase your work productivity. Not having unwanted sounds distract you from your workflow allows you to concentrate more on what you’re doing. In addition, it allows you to have your own proper office space at home that is dedicated to working.
It helps with privacy between rooms. If you live in a house with multiple people inside, the bedroom beside you wouldn’t want to hear all your calls and meetings and vice versa. Soundproofing your rooms can be beneficial for all family members. Adults can use the room to discuss important and personal matters without being overheard. When you have visitors, it can be a space where you can take a break from all the noise outside. And of course, when everybody has different times for work, school or play, nobody would be disturbing the other when doing their own thing.
Lastly, it increases your quality of work. When in Zoom/Skype or any video call application these days, people are judged by the quality of their video and the audio quality they produce. Sometimes it’s not just about getting a better microphone. It’s about soundproofing your room to create better acoustics. Do you want everybody to hear all the sounds in your house? Or do you want everyone to get annoyed by the echo your voice produces because all the sound is bouncing around the room? This is where soundproofing does its job in helping you increase the quality of your work. Better microphones mean better audio quality, but many of them still pick up the sounds around you, so better soundproof your room first!
So how do you soundproof a room on a budget?
The first tip is to have furniture in the room. This is probably the cheapest one already if you have furniture that is being unused. If you’ve been to or moved into an empty house, you would know the amount of echo an empty room has. So the opposite happens when you fill up a room with furniture, they block the sound. The tip here is to pick heavy and bulky furniture pieces with a lot of mass.
Remember, the more mass a room has, the less sound can squeeze through and enter a space. So if you have sofas, couches, and armchairs, those are great furniture pieces to add to your room to absorb and block out sound. If you also have wardrobes, dressers, and the like, they also do a good job blocking by adding more mass to your walls. If you have many books, put them up on the walls with a bookcase because they are a great source of sound-absorbing mass.
Walls aren’t the only parts of your room that need soundproofing. The floor of your room is just as important to soundproof. Especially if your office is on the second floor, the people below you will love you if you soundproof the floor of your room. The easiest way to do this is to add some carpets or rugs to your room. Rugs do a great job of absorbing noise pollution—the heavier the carpet or rug, the better. An alternative to this is using floor mats. The type of mats you see in your kids’ room or gyms. These foam mats do a good job of absorbing sounds as well.
Our next tip is actually a great way of decorating your room. Add some paintings and wall decor to your room. Though not as effective as buying dedicated soundproofing material for your walls, these decorations soften the sound that hits your wall. Remember every sound that bounces on flat hard surfaces amplifies the sound in the room. These decorations and paintings break up a flat wall so that sound waves have less surface area to bounce off of.
If your room has windows, the best way to solve this is to use thick blinds or curtains. Find a way to cover that glass because glass is a highly reflective material. Soundproof curtains are one of the best ways to improve noise inside a room and block the noise coming in or going out. The idea is to find thick and large curtains, covering the entire window and then some. Ensure the curtains are wider than the curtain rod and cover both the top and the bottom of the window. All that extra fabric will trap any noise (and light) entering and exiting the room through that window.
Don’t forget to cover the gaps on your door. That small gap underneath your door can make or break your soundproofing. Sound will pass through that. Put a door sweep under it to block any sound and things (like insects) coming through that small gap underneath. Door sweeps are very inexpensive but go a long way in blocking the sound coming out and going into your room. If you are on a budget, you can make your own door seal or gap stopper. Use some fabric that you have lying around to block that gap underneath your door.
There are also many cheap ways to soundproof your walls aside from the ones we’ve mentioned. For example, a lot of people have used egg cartons on walls and ceilings. As long as you know that these won’t actually block and absorb noise, you can use them on your walls. But what does it do? They act as sound diffusers because of their shape. Again the worst thing to have is a flat wall, and the shape of egg cartons will do the trick. If you could add some fabric behind the egg cartons before sticking them onto the wall, that would go a long way in helping dampen sound. You could also use blankets and comforters to hang on the wall. You can nail or glue them to walls, doors or even use them as curtains. Just use the heaviest ones you can find.
Lastly, if you have a bit of money, acoustic panels and foam are all the rage these days in online markets like Lazada and Shoppee. There a couple of inexpensive ones that you can use in conjunction with all of our previous suggestions to help with the soundproofing of your home office.
So what can you expect with soundproofing your room on a budget?
Filling out your room with some of our suggestions will do wonders for your room. You won’t hear any echoes when you talk, acoustics while listening to music will be so much better, and sealing doors and any gaps will prevent all unwanted noise from coming in and out of your room (you wouldn’t want anybody to hear your gaming when you’re supposed to be working right? Just me? Ok).
There are so many ways to soundproof a room, and we just gave you some of the most budget-friendly ways to do so. You can also, of course, just use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones/headsets so you won’t hear unwanted noise, but where’s the fun in that?
Of course, none of these are as effective as professionally soundproofing your room, but we all have to make do with what we have at home these days. These soundproofing steps go a long way in providing you a peaceful workspace.
This article was written by Andre Co.