When you think about your home, you want it to be your refuge and a place where you can go to enjoy a sense of peace and tranquility. Dealing with loud noises probably isn’t in-line with that concept, particularly noise related to traffic or other sounds coming from outside.
Homes can feel even noisier these days because they’re often constructed with open floorplans, and we rely extensively on things like home entertainment and tech accessories that can create interior sounds as well as what’s coming from the outside.
Many neighborhoods also include homes built closely together, or you might live in an urban area so you can quickly feel like there’s never any quiet time.
The following are some ways you can make your space quieter, no matter the specifics of your living environment.
Add Plants and Greenery
If you’re worried about traffic noise or the noise from your neighbors, you can start by adding plants and greenery around your house. Shrubs, trees, bushes, and other plants can help absorb and also deflect sound that goes toward your house.
One example of greenery that can serve as a soundproofing tool is evergreens. Of course, they stay green all year long, and if they’re planted densely they work well as a sound barrier.
Integrate Ambient Sound
If you’re dealing with sound inside your home or even when you’re in your yard, one way you can overcome it is by adding ambient sound features that don’t necessarily get rid of the sound but instead mask it. For example, water features added to your outdoor area can create a soothing, relaxing sound backdrop as opposed to the harsh sound of traffic.
Look at Your Windows and Walls
If you’re inside your home and you feel like you hear an inordinate amount of sound pouring in, investigate your windows and your walls. Windows are usually the place where the most sound comes into any space, so make sure they’re properly sealed at a minimum. If your home is older, you might want to purchase new windows. There is something called Sound Transmission Class (STC), which is a rating that will help you identify how much sound will be blocked by a window.
If you go with a double pane window, it can have a higher STC than the average window.
Go through your entire home and look for any gaps that aren’t sealed or air openings, particularly around not only windows but also doors. We often don’t realize how much even small openings can bring more noise into our homes.
If you have thin exterior walls or a stucco façade, it can also cause you to hear more noise. If this is the case, it’s more challenging to remedy the issue than it is if windows are the culprit, so in this situation, you would want to focus on designing your home’s exterior in a way that would deflect sound.
For example, you could build a fence with sound barrier materials for outdoor use.
Finally, if you want to soundproof a specific room, from both sounds that are coming from outside and maybe from other rooms within your home, what are your options?
You can hang blackout curtains over doors for starters. They’ll block out sound that’s coming in from the other side of that door. You can also add a draft stopper at the door of the room you want to soundproof.
Noise reflects off the hard surfaces in your home, including your floors, ceilings and walls so if you cover these it can muffle those sounds. Rubber textile mats are one easy and relatively inexpensive way to do this.
If the room you’re soundproofing has an empty wall, add a bookcase. It can resist the vibrations of sounds, so you’ll hear less.