Nothing is more irritating than trying to go to fall asleep while there is ruckus outside of your room.
Whether you live in an apartment building in the middle of a big city or a quaint town out in the country, noise pollution can be a real problem in any area. However, there are most certainly precautions you can take to prevent outside noise from making its way into your room.
This post outlines a complete guide on how to soundproof your bedroom from top to bottom so that you can get better sleep.
In this guide, you can learn about multiple noise-reducing solutions from lowest cost to highest cost for each area of the bedroom where sound commonly enters. This way you decide for yourself what methods are right for you depending on how serious you want to be about reducing noise pollution.
But before we get into the nitty-gritty, why is quiet sleep so important to begin with?
Why quiet sleep is important
Getting good quality deep sleep is incredibly important for revitalizing us both mentally and physically in a number of different ways. For instance, deep sleep has been dubbed to be critical for storing memories, which is really important for learning. Additionally, human growth hormone, as well as a host of other vital hormones, are released during sleep which helps our bodies develop1.
However, perhaps the most obvious benefit of good quality sleep is that it rejuvenates us so that we can take on the next day.
Needless to say, getting good quality sleep is important for living a healthy and productive life. It’s no secret that sleep can be seriously disrupted by noise pollution.
The whirr of traffic, the roar of a lawnmower or the thumping of footsteps in the room above you is enough to pull you right out of deep sleep.
Enough disruption from noise pollution throughout the night can, of course, leave you feeling sleep deprived in the morning. Not only will you feel groggy but sleep deprivation can limit you in other ways. Your learning and memory may become impaired and other more serious problems can arise as well2.
In turn, if you aren’t getting enough good quality sleep due to noise pollution, soundproofing your bedroom should most definitely be a priority for you.
Spots in your bedroom where sound can easily come in
Although noise pollution can make its way into your bedroom in numerous ways, there are a few areas of the bedroom where noise pollution can more easily enter your bedroom.
Windows, even when they are tightly shut, can still allow tons of noise in from the outside world. The sound of traffic and noisy neighbors can easily seep into your room through your windows.
Your bedroom door is another spot where noise from other parts of your house can easily permeate into your room.
Lastly, aside from your windows and bedroom door, sound can come from people below or above your room through the floor or ceiling. Alternatively, ruckus from rooms adjacent to your bedroom can come in through the walls.
This post will discuss exactly how to address each of these noise enabling spots in your bedroom.
Soundproofing your windows: 3 methods from least to most expensive
Given that windows are often the spots where the most sound gets into your room, it important to address them first.
1. Filling in your window’s gaps: weatherstrip tape and caulking
Windows often either have a poor seel or there are various cracks and gaps around the edges of the windows where sound can seep through. Two of the best ways to fill these areas is by sealing them up with weather strips and caulk.
Many windows don’t have a very firm seal when they are closed shut. In turn, sound can easily enter your room through the opening of your windows even when they are shut. However, weatherstrip tape is an excellent way to create a stronger seal when you shut your windows which can dramatically help to soundproof your bedroom.
Weatherstrip tape is typically made from rubber, silicone, foam and other materials. This rugged tape is made to primarily to keep your windows better insulated and to keep the bugs out as well, however, it can work wonders as well for soundproofing your bedroom.
Depending on what type of window you have, there are a few different ways in which you can apply weatherstrip tape. However, generally, the same steps apply for all windows. No matter what type of windows you have, the goal is to close off any gaps in the window.
For a casement window, you can apply your weatherstripping tape on the inner edge of the window stopper within the window casing. This way when the window cranks shut, there will be a firm seal. For a more in-depth tutorial of how to apply weatherstripping tap to casement windows, click here!
For sliding windows, you can apply weatherstripping tape on the top of the upper sash (for double-hung windows) and the bottom of the lower sash. This way when you shut the windows, there will be a tight seal on the two points where the window can open. For a more in-depth tutorial of how to apply weatherstripping tape to sliding windows click here!
If there is cracking or separation between your window trim and the wall of your house, noise from outside can much more easily enter your room. Applying caulk to fill in these cracks or gaps can work wonders in soundproofing your room. You can simply lightly fill in any of these cracks or gaps wherever you can find them.
Once you have sealed the gaps on the inside, you might want to go around to the outside of your windows if possible and see if there are any gaps or cracks between your window frame and side of your house. Believe it or not, cracks like these can allow a ton of noise from the outside into your room.
For even better soundproofing, acoustic caulk is an option worth considering due to its powerful soundproofing abilities.
2. Soundproof curtains
Soundproof curtains are exactly what you think they are: curtains that muffle noise. These curtains tend to be made of particularly heavy and tightly woven fabric designed to dampen as much sound from outside as possible. Given that they look just like any other curtains, soundproof curtains are aesthetically pleasing yet extremely practical.
Ideally, you want these curtains to cover your windows and as much space around your windows as possible. The more space around your window you can cover, the more soundproof your windows will be. This means that you should get curtains on the long side that go all the way to the floor and can cover well past the width of your windows as well.
Installing soundproof curtains is really no different than installing any other curtains. However, because soundproof curtains are typically a bit heavier than typical curtains, you just need to make sure that your brackets and curtain rod can support the extra weight.
3. Soundproof inserts
Soundproof inserts are essentially clear, window covers that you often press right into your existing window frames. They are designed to be custom fit for your windows with a super tight seal in order to block as much sound as possible. Furthermore, these soundproof inserts are subtle enough so that you probably wouldn’t even notice them over your windows unless you were looking for them.
This window soundproofing solution is more on the expensive side, however, these soundproof inserts are quite effective at what they do.
To see for yourself (or I guess… hear for yourself), you can check out this brief video below of what traffic sounds like with and without the window inserts.
In turn, if you are willing to invest a bit more in your bedroom for excellent soundproofing benefit, this is an excellent solution.
Soundproofing your bedroom door: 3 methods from least to most expensive
If you live in a house or apartment where there are people bustling around at times when you are trying to sleep, soundproofing your bedroom door is especially important.
Before you get started trying to soundproof your existing door however, it is important to note that all your efforts might not amount to much if you have a hollow door. Hollow doors tend to be pretty poor at blocking sound. Although it would be expensive, replacing that door with a solid one is one of the most effective ways to soundproof your door.
1. Filling in your door’s gaps: weather strips and caulking
Just like your windows, your bedroom door can also have small gaps and opening that might not be very noticeable but still allow for a ton of noise to make its way into your room. Closing these gaps can make a big difference in terms of soundproofing.
Not only can you use weatherstrip tape for your windows, but you can also use it for your door as well.
When purchasing weatherstrip tape for your door, you must get some that has a width that will fit along the stopping edge of your doorstop. Additionally, you must make sure that the weatherstrip tape is thick enough so that when the door shuts, there is a tight seal. If the weatherstripping tape is too loose, you might not create a tight seal at all.
Before installing your weather stripping it is first important that all your hinges on your door are tight. Loose hinges can make the gaps between your door and door jambs bigger than they need to be. By simply tightening up your hinges, you can reduce large gaps that may be the root of your soundproofing problem.
When applying your weather stripping tape, start from the bottom of your doorstop and slowly peel out the tape bit by bit until you get to the top. On the side of the door where the hinges are, place your tape along the hinge edge of the door against the doorstop to create a tight seal.
For a step by step tutorial of this approach, you can check out this video here!
You can also invest in acoustic door seals. These door seals are often industrial-grade products that are made specifically for soundproofing doors. In turn, they are extremely effective for soundproofing your door- more so than weatherstripping tape.
The downside of this approach is that it is much more expensive. In addition, to install acoustic door seals you need to drill these seals into your door frame. Often times you need to also cut them to tightly fit the dimensions of your door. Needless to say, installing these door seals does require some expertise and is overall a more tedious process.
You may want to caulk any other cracks or gaps that you might find around your door as well. Using acoustic caulk is an excellent choice for this.
Just like windows, it is common for there to be a slight separation or crack between the door frame and the wall that can allow for outside noise to seep into your room. If any gaps like these are present you may caulk along these cracks to create a soundproof seal.
2. Soundproof door draft stopper
The space underneath your door can be the main reason why so much noise pollution makes its way into your room. After all, this space can be as much as a half-inch wide. In turn, closing off this gap can be an extremely simple, yet effective way to noise-proof your room.
To block off this gap you can simply use a draft stopper or soundproof door draft stopper.
These devices can look like long fabric tubes stuffed with foam that you lay at the base of the door. Alternatively, some draft stoppers/door sweeps can be attached to the base of your door often by adhesives.
If you don’t want to spend the money or don’t have time to get any soundproof devices for the bottom of the door, you can simply use a rolled-up shower towel as a makeshift door sweep. This is a cost-effective way to block out noise with something that almost everyone has around the house.
3. Soundproof blankets
Soundproof blankets are an excellent way to reinforce your door with noise-dampening material.
The only downside to this approach is that it may not look particularly charming. Regardless it is an effective solution nonetheless and you can remove your soundproof blankets when need be.
Simply install some wall hooks on the wall right above the door. Many soundproof blankets have ring holes in them that you can hook to your wall hooks. Soundproof curtains are an excellent substitute to soundproof blankets that certainly have ring holes to hook onto your wall hooks above your door.
With this approach, you can take your soundproof blankets or curtains off of your door and put them back on again whenever you wish.
Soundproof your bedroom: walls, floor and more
Soundproofing your bedroom door and the window is usually most important for creating a noise-free sleep sanctuary. However, there are numerous other ways to make your room as quiet as possible by treating the walls, floor, and even the ceiling.
Rugs and mats
Carpet is excellent for muffling noise. However, if you don’t have carpet, putting rugs in your bedroom can make a huge difference.
The bigger the rug the better. Noise reflects off of hard surfaces easily so by covering as much of your floor as possible with a rug, the more you can dampen any sound bouncing off of the floor. Thick rugs tend to be more effective for soundproofing and the denser the material is, the more sound it can absorb.
Rug pads are also extremely effective for dampening sound given their density. In turn, pairing a rug pad with your rug can provide additional soundproofing benefit.
Wall decor: bookcases and art
Soundproofing your bedroom doesn’t need to look unfashionable. You can most certainly soundproof living space without sacrificing style.
Having large bookcases up against your wall creates additional mass between your room and other parts of your house to further muffle noise between rooms. Of course, filling this bookshelf with books creates more noise-reducing density as well. Be sure to push your bookshelf as flush as possible against your wall to reduce any gaps where sound can more easily travel through.
Having artwork such as paintings and fabric tapestries are also excellent materials to subtly soundproofing your bedroom. The denser and larger the artwork is the more effective it will likely be.
Acoustic panels are absolutely fantastic noise-reducing tools you can use in your bedroom since they are designed for the purpose of soundproofing.
It’s really hard to go wrong with these. You can put them just about anywhere on your walls or even your ceiling. However, you can get the most soundproofing benefit by putting them scattered around on your walls and ceiling rather than putting them all in one concentrated spot.
Putting a few extra acoustic panels closer to your bed also might be a good idea given that your bed area should be the most silent part of your bedroom. You can even create a soundproof headboard with acoustic panels that can look pretty cool.
Blankets and pillows
A quick and easy way to make your bedroom more soundproof (and much cozier) is by simply bringing in more pillows and blankets. Pillows and blankets are excellent for muffling noise. There is really no right or wrong way to implement pillows and blankets in your room and you can get creative with what you do with them.
For instance, you can casually drape a blanket over the chair in the corner of your room, or add some more pillows to the head of your bed. On the other hand, depending on how seriously you want to take your soundproofing efforts, you can hang blanket up on the wall or ceiling.
Really, the more dense materials you have in your bedroom, the better. Thick and well-padded furniture is great for muffling sound bouncing off the sides of your room.
That’s not to say that you need to completely clutter your room with a bunch of junky furniture. After all, having a disorderly, cluttered room can hurt your quality of life and your sleep quality for that matter.
However, simply adding a few plush chairs and a well-padded bench at the end of your bed can make a world of difference.
A word on white noise machines
White noise machines are essentially electronic devices designed to play background noise to help you get to sleep. If you find the gentle whirr of a fan next to relaxing as you fall asleep, you can get the same benefit from a white noise machine.
“Will a white noise machine help me soundproof my bedroom?” you might ask.
Unfortunately, it won’t. A white noise machine will do nothing to make your room less quiet. The idea is that white noise machines create a constant stream of soothing background noise that can drone out interruptive noise from outside. For instance, a car horn that would otherwise wake you up immediately in the dead of night might be much less noticeable for you with steady relaxing background noise to cover the ruckus up.
In turn, if you feel as though you have done all you could do to noise-proof your room but you can still hear noticeable noise from outside, a white noise machine might be a good secret weapon to have against the ruckus.
A last resort option…
If worst comes to worst and no matter what, you just can’t seem to do what you need to do to get rid of noise pollution, there is a last resort option: earplugs.
Earplugs are one of the most surefire ways for you to block out all the noise in the world.
Yes, they can be uncomfortable and annoying to put in every night. However, if there is construction constantly going on around your house, or if you have neighbors that seem to throw obnoxious parties seven days a week, earplugs might just be necessary.
Alternatively, there are a few other devices you can wear over your ears to block out sound that might be worth considering.
As said before, at the end of the day, you don’t need to implement every single one of these methods to effectively soundproof your room. By following just a few of these methods, however, you can make your bedroom much more peaceful.
Before you try a bunch of these approaches however, its always good to really pinpoint where the sound is entering your bedroom from and then deal with that part of your room accordingly. For instance, if you feel as though most ruckus is coming from right outside your bedroom door, focus more on soundproofing your bedroom door than your window. Although this point may seem obvious, it’s worth stating that you should be observant of how noise might be getting into your room nonetheless.
Is it possible to design your bedroom so that absolutely no noise can penetrate it? Probably not. However, with the right approaches, you can get pretty close.
Lastly, keep in mind that blacking out your bedroom and allergy-proofing your bedroom is also important when it comes to getting a good nights rest.
- “The Mysterious Benefits of Deep Sleep” www.psychologytoday.com, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleepless-in-america/201010/the-mysterious-benefits-deep-sleep
- “Sleep: Necessity, Not Luxury” www.bettersleep.org, https://bettersleep.org/sleep-extras/consequences-of-poor-sleep/