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Cheapest Way to Soundproof a Room

TLDR (too long didn’t read) Summary: Buy and hang acoustic foam like this, hang blankets over sound entry points, or add /  position furniture and rugs to help absorb sound.

Whether you live in a high-rise apartment or a sprawling suburban home, soundproofing can be an issue that affects all home types.

You may be addressing exterior noise, like traffic and outside businesses, or interior noise, like loud neighbors or noisy kids.

Cheapest way to soundproof a room

Regardless of your exact arrangement, finding the cheapest way to soundproof a room can be a quick and effective way to get some peace and quiet. 

There are many easy ways to soundproof a room that don’t involve holes in an existing wall or permanent fixtures. 

Below we’ve listed some of the best performance and value products you can buy to quickly install for a marked reduction to sound and noise.

PRODUCT DETAILS

BEST VALUE

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Acoustic Foam
  • Price: $
  • Sound Reduction: Great
  • Best For: Everywhere
Check Price

EASY INSTALL

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Acoustic Blankets
  • Price: $
  • Sound Reduction: Good
  • Best For: Homes & Apartments
Check Price
moderncastle-table-__imageSound Proof Curtains
  • Price: $
  • Sound Reduction: Great
  • Best For: Homes & Apartments
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BEST OVERALL

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Acoustic Panels
  • Price: $$
  • Sound Reduction: Excellent
  • Best For: Home theater, professional music
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moderncastle-table-__imageThick Sound Absorbing Rugs
  • Price: $
  • Sound Reduction: Good
  • Best For: Homes & Apartments
Check Price
moderncastle-table-__imageSound Booth
  • Price: $$$
  • Sound Reduction: Excellent
  • Best For: Professional music
Check Price

How to Make Your Room Soundproof from Inside

When you’re starting to consider soundproofing a room, location is everything. Making your room soundproof from inside isn’t as hard as you might imagine.

There are three critical points that can make a room feel noisy, so be sure to address each location to truly soften the noise in your space.

  1. Source of the sound
  2. Entry point
  3. Reflection point
Sound Reflection Basics - best places to soundproof
Sound Reflection Basics – best places to soundproof

1. The source of sound

Is it one specific noise that you’re trying to conceal, like a television, instrument, or traffic? This type of sound can generally be contained to one specific spot. The first step to concealing the sound is toidentify the source.

2. Entry point

The entry point is the area in your space where the sound enters your room. Again, this may be an exact point that is adjacent to the source of the sound or it could be an entire existing wall, like in the case of shared walls in apartments, condos, or duplexes.

Exterior windows are also common entry points for unwanted noise.

3. Reflection point

After the sound enters your space, it will reflect back at the same angle of entry. In the example below, this might lead you to do soundproof techniques on the headboard wall as well as the wall at the end of the footboard.

Since the angle of entry is a straight line in this case, the sound will likely bounce back and forth between the headboard and footboard until it dissipates.

Below we will go over different methods of cheap and easy ways to soundproof a room from inside. For effective sound masking, you will want to implement soundproofing techniques at all three of the points listed above.

RELATED – Can’t stand noise? Robot vacuum cleaners are very quiet compared to more traditional vacuum cleaners. Check out some of our favorite cheap robot vacuums here.

Cheap Ways to Soundproof a Room

One of the easiest ways to mask unwanted sound in a room is to  add furniture and natural decor to your space. Sound bounces off of hard surfaces, like hard flooring or blank existing walls. 

To kill sound in its tracks, consider adding finishes that the sound can be absorbed into. 

Here are three of the cheapest ways to soundproof a room using furniture and decor.

1. Use curtains and window treatments

Not only do curtains serve as a great visual barrier against nosy neighbors, but it offers dual purpose sound dampening as well. 

Hanging plush, thick drapery helps to absorb extra sound from the outside as well as unwanted traffic noise.

Soundproofing with curtains or window treatments
Soundproofing with curtains or window treatments

On the inside, these same curtains help to absorb ambient noise that floats around the interior of the space.

2. Add area rugs

To mask sound coming from lower neighbors in an apartment situation, consider adding thick area rugs to your main living spaces. 

Large and thick area rugs can help to soundproof your room

Large and thick area rugs can help to soundproof your room

Adding a pad under the rug is another way to enhance the sound masking, without taking up additional square footage.

3. Add upholstered furniture

Adding upholstered furniture to your space gives more areas for sound to be absorbed into, and keeps it from bouncing as much. If you don’t have room for more furniture, try adding thick blankets or plush throw pillows to your existing areas.

Soundproofing a room from the inside is all about dampening noises by targeting them at the entry or reflection point.

How to Soundproof a Room for Free (with Blankets)

Speaking of blankets, if you don’t have the budget to buy extra sound dampening furniture, curtains, or rugs, you can use blankets as a free soundproofing alternative.

  1. Get Blankets – Gather up all of the blankets and quilts you have around your home. Remember, the thicker, the better!
  2. Sound In or Out? – Decide if you are trying to keep sound in (i.e., sound that you’re making) or keep sound out (sound that’s coming from the outside)
  3. Sound In – If you want to keep the sound in, you’ll need blankets on all sides.
  4. Sound Out – If you want to keep the sound from the outside out you’ll need to put blankets over the source of those sounds. Most likely, that means a specific wall, door, or window.
  5. Affix to Wall – In both cases, you’ll want to hang the blankets using tacks, finishing nails, or screws, depending on how heavy they are.
soundproofing using blankets
Affixing a blanket to a wall, window, or doorway can help to dampen sounds

In addition to your blankets, if you have any large pieces of furniture in your room, you can position those against the appropriate existing wall to help minimize sound. Bookcases and headboards work great for this.

Best Ways to Soundproof a Room

Have a bigger problem and added furniture just isn’t cutting it? 

For especially noisy neighbors, kids in the band, or housing directly adjacent to high-traffic areas, you may way to consider a more powerful solution.

If you aren’t on a tight budget, check out this guide by HouseLogic.com. Or if you want to tackle your soundproofing project at the construction level see here.

However, if you are on a budget, continue reading below.

The following solutions may not be as cheap or dual purpose as those mentioned above, but they are more effective at soundproofing a room, regardless of what the source of sound is.

1. Hang acoustic panels

Depending on the size and quality, hanging acoustic panels can be quite expensive, but it’s certainly one of the best ways to soundproof a room. Acoustic panels are excellent at absorbing unwanted sounds and you can hang them like art or accents around your room or apartment.

These panels are generally pretty lightweight and come in a variety of colors to match your decor. Inexpensive acoustic panels, like these foam panels, are easy to install and help to absorb unwanted sounds.

soundproofing using acoustic panels
Properly positioned acoustic panels can stop noise from reflecting and dampen noise.

For a little extra cash, there are larger acoustical panel sizes that can be installed with heavy duty hardware or flush mounted z-clips. These can be connected to make a single large panel or used independently.

Want to use panels, but aren’t sure where to hang them?

As a general rule of thumb, you want to place panels on the opposite wall of the source of sound for the maximum absorption.

Sound reflection follows the same laws as light reflection and bounces back at an angle equal to the angle of the incoming sound.

Sound Reflection Basics - how to soundproof a room

2. Cheap Soundproofing Foam

If you’re on a tight budget, you can accomplish great things with cheap soundproofing foam. In recent years, soundproofing foam has come a long way, and it’s incredibly cheap on Amazon.

For a not too much you can find cheap soundproofing foam. Better yet, you can usually soundproof foam in a variety of colors, so it doesn’t have to be purely functional. You can add a nice aesthetic touch to your room, while also achieving your soundproofing needs.

soundproofing using foam tiles
Soundproofing using foam tiles

3. Use a sound booth

If you’ve got a higher budget and can identify the source of sound within your home, you may want to consider using a sound booth. This helps to isolate the sound before it has a chance to bounce around your space.

An example of this type of solution would be this customizable sound booth. Depending on the size, a sound booth can range from $50 up to $2,000 or more.

RELATED – Turn your closest in a sound booth.

Alternatively, if you’re recording music or vocals, you may need to step the budget up a bit further and rent a recording studio space.

For professional recording (or even prosumers), the logistics of noise isolation are much easier to control in a studio space designed specifically for for that purpose.

4. Easiest Way to Soundproof a Room

If you’re trying to soundproof a room, chances are that you may be looking for something that is just plain easy. In many cases, people wanting to soundproof a roof are in temporary living situations (like apartments or rentals) and can’t spend a lot of time or money on complicated strategies.

In other cases, the annoying sound is actually temporary, like construction work or a neighbor’s noisy project. One solution for these types of annoying noises is adding a little background noise.

5. Soundproofing Alternatives (add background noise)

Adding background noise is an incredibly easy way to soundproof a room— and it’s inexpensive also. 

Playing relaxing instrumental music or even getting a sound machine are great ways to add a little white noise to your space.

When there’s something else to listen to, it becomes easier to drown out the more annoying sounds, even if they’re still there. The Sound + Sleep sound machine, for example, has 10 different sounds it can play, including white noise, nature, or even sounds of a bustling city.

A sound machine or white noise machine can help to soundproof a room by drowning out the sound
A sound machine or white noise machine can help to soundproof a room by drowning out the sound.

If you prefer a more muted sound like a fan, check out the Marpac Dohm sound machine, which simply plays varying intensities of fan sounds.

While sound machines don’t remove the noise entirely, they are easy way to mask annoying noises and can be especially useful for temporary situations.

More Soundproofing Ideas

Have a soundproofing idea that works great that we didn’t mention? We’d love to hear it!

Drop us a comment below or send us an email using our contact form.

Updates

  • April 16, 2019 – Made a few minor content and layout changes.
  • March 31, 2019 – Updated layout and page design.

About Derek Hales

Derek HalesDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com. He has been featured in Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Insider, Realtor.com, She Knows, and other major publications. Derek has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University. Hales has been testing and reviewing products for the home since 2014.

Need Help? Ask Your Question Below

  1. I need to stop sound from coming in from my neighbor upstairs. Can I put something on my ceiling that would absorb sound and is safe and easy?

    Reply
  2. In the place I’m renting, the walls between my room and my neighbours’ are so thin i can hear them talking and doing other stuff. I am sure they can hear me too. I am intending to tape pyramid-style acoustic foam panels to the back of my wardrobe and place the wardrobe against the adjoining wall. Would that only help in muting sound from their room? If i want to mute sound coming from my room, should the pyramids be facing me?

    Reply
    • Yes, the pyramids should be facing you (or whatever the source of the sound is coming from) to have the most effect.

      You’ll get a benefit both directions, but a greater benefit when those pyramid points face the sound source.

    • It depends on the metal, thickness, construction, design, etc. But in general, yes.

      Most solid materials are going to reflect more than they absorb.

      Furniture, fabrics, carpets, curtains, etc. are all good at absorbing sound.

      Tile, wood floor, and other hard surfaces reflect.

  3. Good advice here Derek. I see those acoustic panels can be pretty expensive. I don’t want to totally deaden my room but it needs correction. A guy on one site recommended putting bass traps from the corner top wall completely down to the bottom corner of all four corners. In this diagram bass traps were also placed between the walls and the ceiling throughout the room, from corner to corner. Must admit that bass traps are cheaper than acoustic panels.

    I think I’m gonna save the acoustic panels for the ceiling. I’m thinking of using maybe 4 (medium to large panels) near the four ceiling corners and 2 to four panels in the center of the ceiling. I can use the diffusers you recommend where recommended to be placed on the ceilings or the walls.

    As I mentioned yesterday. I think I’m gonna cover my walls with those harbor freight 72×80 moving blankets. I am absolutely sure that even one moving blanket which is only about 1/4 inch thick will be far better than music bouncing off a bare wall. I will need to measure my room to avoid buying more materials than I need.

    Sorry to be so wordy. Hope this info helps someone with music mixing. I want my room to sound better. But I don’t want another house payment to get it done.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your plan! I’d love to hear how everything works out once you get setup.

      Sounds to me like a good solution. Excited to hear how it works.

  4. Thanks for the tips. Think I’m gonna look for some thick blankets and hang on my wall after I install some bass traps. I hear that bass traps are the most important for acoustic treatment.

    Reply
  5. PS: the shared wall in question is 12’ long by 8’ high. There are no electrical sockets in that wall.

    The neighbour says that the room upstairs above their kitchen also hears my “noisy tv”…

    Reply
  6. Hi,
    I recently moved into a semi-detached rental home that has a shared wall in my living room with the next door neighbour’s house’s kitchen/dining room.

    It’s the only wall that I can place my 3 Large wall units, one of which contains my old style CRT TV. The unit that holds the tv is open in the back to allow for the depth of the tv, and the unit itself stands in front of the heat vent in the floor. Currently, the sound comes from the tv itself, from the front and back corners of the TV set.

    I couldn’t place the tv anywhere else because one of the room’s 3 walls is a built-in brick fireplace, and the other is the only one that fits my 3-seater leather sofa. The other side of the room is open to my dining room.

    My neighbour keeps complaining that my tv is too loud, once coming over at 3 in the afternoon when I was watching a movie, which shocked the heck out of me, since so far I’ve only turned up the volume to 16 on a SONY set that can go up to 64!! Usually, it’s at just 8!
    One night he called the cops cuz I was listening to a Grammy Prince tribute special on tv that ended at 11pm!!!

    I couldn’t believe it!!! 🙁

    My landlord doesn’t want to pay for a proper soundproofing, and I don’t want to get a $450 ticket nor live like I’m in a library.

    I JUST painted the entire room myself in a light beige, and my furniture is black. I’ve heard that soundproofing panels and curtains only come in black. Black wall units and black furniture against a black wall of panels would be too dark! There’s no window in that part of the room.

    I’m pretty handy myself, but really don’t have money to sink into a rental… but I need some kind of solution!

    Have any low cost suggestions?

    Reply
    • Thanks for all the background. Here are some suggestions for you:

      1) Add sound proof foam or panels on the neighbors wall – https://amzn.to/3eVyezU – While black is the most common color, you can find foam panels in a other colors as well. If you have a little more budget a pre-built panel would probably look better and performance should be better also – https://amzn.to/2Zu9CaZ

      2) Get a soundbar and place it further away from the wall…perhaps on a coffee table or at least in front of the TV. Right now, a lot of the sound is probably bouncing directly off that wall. With a soundbar that sound source is now closer to you, so you can get the volume you want without distributing the neighbor. Some sound bar options here – https://amzn.to/2NMB7XW

  7. I live near an above ground train commuter train in New York City and want to block out the noice as much as possible. I have curtains now, but need something more substantial.

    I am debating the following:
    + Buying professional sound proof curtains which can be expensive and often custom.

    + Building a sound insulating window plug

    + Doubling up on the thicker thermal curtains.

    Reply
    • All of those would probably help.

      I would guess the biggest issue is train sound late at night…in which case you may be better off building a type of window insert with dense foam or other sound dampening materials.

      Ideally, you could add that + the sound proof curtains. Together they would be a better solution.

  8. I am about to buy a drum set and want to soundproof my bedroom as much as possible to not bother my neighbors. My room is on the 2nd story of the house and I have a shared wall with my roommate. Also there is a skylight right where I will be putting my drums. The ceiling is not flat so the skylight is at an angle and it’s hard to put any kind of curtain. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Put curtains and/or blankets and/or panels and/or foam on as many surfaces as possible.

      With drums you’re going to have high volume sound bouncing everywhere.

      You probably won’t be able to do much about the skylight, so minimizing it on as many of the other walls and ceilings as possible will help to reduce the impact there.

      Panels are more expensive, but also the better choice. After that, sound dampening blankets would be better, then foam, and then finally thick curtains.

  9. Hi Derek, re: ‘. I think you would be better off minimizing the sound from the most prominent sound bounce locations.’ Would sound absorbing tile behind the speakers or TV make a difference?

    I’m going to try the foam behind the mounts of the TV and in addition try the following; 1) speaker stands with small surface area feet e.g. https://amzn.to/3aV13d0

    There seems to be a bewildering array of available acoustic tile options on amazon but seemingly no standard way to measure their effectiveness. Do you have any tips on finding the best choices?

    cheers!

    Reply
    • It would probably help, but better would be to have sound absorbing tile or foam on the wall in front of the speakers.

      Sound is coming out from the front of your speakers, hitting that wall, then bouncing all over the room. I’m not sure you’d get the performance you’re looking for by putting the materials behind the speakers.

      You’re right. It is definitely a hard and confusing choice with soundproofing materials…I think mostly because every situation is just so different. I would encourage you to start small and scale up as needed.

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