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How To Reduce Sound Through Walls: Cheap & Foolproof Ways To Muffle Noise In Your Room

apartment interior and furniture

Last Updated: May 12, 2024

Walls are prominent noise conductors either from the neighbors or you.


Actually, it's not your fault you have a flimsy wall, else it won’t be a bother.

Luckily, there are many ways of reducing sound coming through walls, so you don't lose it. Now you can receive calls or make audio recordings without interruption and even improve audio quality within the room.

In a minute,  we’ll reveal techniques of noise reduction for walls.

Understanding How Sound Moves

Sound moves in all directions from its source till it collides against a surface. That surface might absorb and muffle the sound, reverberate, or leak into the next room, much like air and water.

Fortunately, you can learn how to reduce noise through walls, either by absorbing the sound, containing it, or doing both.

Let’s go!

10 Ways To Reduce Noise Transmission Through Walls

Interior and walls of an apartment with furniture

1. Fill Up Empty Spaces

As you probably already know, sound echoes in empty spaces. Not only will this mess up the sound in your room, but it also amplifies noise coming through the walls.

Here’s how to reduce echo sound through walls:

Fill the room with furniture or some appliances to absorb some of the sound coming through the walls.

Of course, this can be a costly venture.

Hang picture frames, stock bookshelves, and please put up curtains. If you're bringing in new objects, place them closer to the walls for best results.  

2. Noise Reducing Drywall

Most apartments are only built with 2 x 4" studs and a thin drywall cover. Aside from the obvious subpar insulation, it's a magnet for noise.

What's the obvious fix? To make your walls thicker, right? Then, add an extra layer of drywall to your wall.

Soundproof drywalls also work remarkably well. They are composed of a dual-layer of gypsum and glued together with a viscoelastic polymer. In clear terms, they work!

But what if you're renting an apartment or can't afford a new wall?

3. Use Soundproof Paint

After you have installed the extra drywall (or not), you should paint the room. Not just for aesthetics. Soundproof paints are a thing.

A typical soundproof paint is thick, and when you apply numerous coats, it can be massive. However, it is effective at absorbing low noise.

But it works best combined with other soundproofing materials like extra drywall. If your landlord hates it when you have to move out, you can remove the paint with soap and water.

man holding a roller painting a wall

4. Try Mass Loaded Vinyl Mats

You can use vinyl mats to insulate your walls, floor, door, ceiling, and even your windows from noise.

Vinyl mats are effective at controlling noise frequencies from low to medium. These frequencies are generated when a thing impacts a surface, e.g., walls, door, or ceiling thereby, transmitting vibrations through the surface.

Examples of such noise include heavy footsteps, a vibrating washing machine, or your pet scratching the surface of the floor.

The best way to use vinyl mats is to spot the exact wall where the noise comes from. Then hang your vinyl mat on that particular wall. Other than that you can install the best anti-vibrating pads for washing machine to lessen the unwanted noise. 

5. Install Sound Dampening Panels

Depending on the size, design, and use of a room, a sound dampening tile/panel is another good way to trap noise from adjoining walls.

This method is mostly used in large rooms – usually conference rooms, hospital wards, offices, or co-working spaces.

The thing about acoustic panels is that they are usually not aesthetically pleasing. But they do work their magic.  

6. Put Up Soundproof Curtains

Soundproof curtains are a simple yet potent method to reduce sound through walls.

You use them the same way you'd use regular curtains – just cover the exact wall where the noise comes from with your soundproof curtains.

And, sure, over the windows as well. 😉

These curtains usually have several layers of panels and a fabric liner, which help to muffle sound and light coming into your room. Also, installation is pretty easy to do by yourself.

room with curtain at window

7. Install Door Sweeps

As earlier explained, sounds move in every direction. Just like water, it can find holes and move through them. Similarly, air gaps, cracks, holes around your door can encourage the transmission of noise from your neighbor's apartment into yours.

The solution to this is to install door sweeps this can be a big help to soundproof a hollow door and also block every noise outlet.

8. Use Soundproof Foam

Affordable noise reduction for walls isn’t always an eyesore.

Acoustic/soundproof foams are low-cost noise insulators and pretty presentable if you add an artistic touch. You would most likely find them in recording studios and in the homes of DJs and creatives.

With these foams, reducing sound through walls is a breeze, especially if you intend not to disturb occupants of other rooms as well.

Yea, sometimes, we learn how to reduce sound through walls because we’re the pesky neighbors.

Also, you use acoustic foams to prevent noise from coming into your abode. Just pinpoint the source of noise and install the foams in that area.

They come with adhesives and are easily removable for when you decide to move out or find a better way to reduce sound transmission through walls.

9. Paste Soundproof Wallpapers

Soundproof wallpapers are aesthetically pleasing. They come in 3D and make pretty decent environmentally-friendly wall decorations.

They are self-adhesive and can be glued to any walls in the house – kitchen walls, room walls, wood boards, and even glass walls.

You can easily peel them off when you need to change them or when moving out. And they don't damage walls.

bedroom with bedside table and wallpaper

10. Load Walls, Doors, And Floors

This simply involves placing objects on your doors, walls, and ceiling. Covers like bed sheets, blankets, quilts, duvets, and other materials thick enough to block out sound would work.

Many say this method is an eyesore, but it works.

Simply find the bulkiest, heaviest blankets you have, and stick them to the walls, covering all openings. This is suitable for wintertime because your room may get hot.

Rugs and carpets are also potent for insulating floors. They absorb echoes and make you better upstairs neighbors. Rugs and carpets entrap the sound and prevent it from bouncing around the room.

Pay attention to the doors, windows, corners, and ceilings of the room when attaching these materials of noise reduction for walls.

This isn't the best soundproofing technique for summer, but we can agree it's cheap. Maybe even free if you have lots of blankets lying around.  

Why Are Walls Not Originally Soundproof?

On the one hand, building codes only require builders to maintain a minimum STC rating of 33. Meanwhile, a wall needs an STC rating of at least 50 to effectively prevent noise movements. Modern builders and homeowners hardly care, though. So they maintain the minimum.

On the other hand, most homeowners consider walls merely as a screen between rooms or apartments.

You could punch some room walls, and your fist would go right through.

Ultimately, the goal of contractors and homeowners is to maximize profit. So guess who gets to bear the brunt? Us!

If you can afford a new wall, you'll still need your landlord's permission to start the project. But most of the methods listed earlier are temporary and don't require any approval. It’s more or less like furnishing your apartment.

Is Soundproofing Costly?

It varies.

Investing more money does not always mean a better result will be achieved. Soundproofing is basically just adding mass to your wall and other surfaces.

Therefore, you can try out the simpler, cheaper options first before going for the complex and expensive options.

How Much Would It Cost To Soundproof A Wall?

The cost to soundproof a wall varies according to the solution step you're taking and your budget.

A gallon of affordable soundproof paint is about $45. So if you need only two paints to complete the room, that's under $100 for the project, assuming it works and you have paintbrushes.

But other forms of soundproofing can be much more expensive. For example, the average mass-loaded vinyl mat for blocking noise through walls could cost as much as $450 if you're fitting the whole room. On the other hand, 50 pieces of acoustic foam panels go for as little as $50.

Some other ways, such as using a soundproof wallpaper, will set you back about $120 or ninety bucks for sound-deadening blankets.

In summary, inexpensive methods like painting the wall aren't as effective as, say, fitting the whole room with a soundproof mat or foam.

Quick note: these prices are only estimates. 

How To Reduce Sound Through Walls: Extra Tips

From our solutions and discussion, you would observe that some soundproofing methods take time and seem more expensive, especially since you may need professional help. Specially if you want a soundproof a room from outside noise.

Try out simpler methods first, like filling up your room or fixing a soundproof curtain. Then, if they don’t work, you can try out more elaborate options like installing soundproof drywall or fitting vinyl panels to the wall. 

FAQs on How to Reduce Sound Through Walls 

What can I put on Walls to Absorb Sound?

Attaching drapes, heavy furniture, blankets, duvets, or an extra layer of drywall will absorb a great deal of noise. If you don’t mind a drastic change, you can put soundproof foams or acrylic panels on the wall.

A useful rule of thumb is that a thicker material will absorb sound better than thinner materials. 

What Materials Can Block Sound?

Materials like acoustic foam, mass-loaded vinyl, acoustic fabrics, acoustic boards, mineral wool, and fiberglass batts are effective for soundproofing.

Here are the 6 common types of insulation in the market:

How Do I Stop Sound Coming Through Walls?

You load the source of noise on the walls with soundproofing materials like acrylic mats, soundproof foam.

If these methods only reduce the sound coming through the walls, you might have to install soundproof or double drywalls to stop it altogether. 

How Do You Soundproof A Wall Cheaply?

One way to soundproof a wall at almost no cost is to insulate the walls with thick drapes, like blankets, quilts, and duvets.

Also, you can fit bookshelves to the wall or hang tapestries.

Caulk, sealants, and adhesive strips are also cost-effective ways to cover smaller areas where sound escapes from in the room.

Wrapping Up

Noise is annoying. With the tips and tricks you've learned here, you shouldn't have to break down your wall because of a noisy neighbor.

Either you opt for an inexpensive soundproof curtain or go all the way to stock your room with furniture or paintings. The choice is yours.

Unfortunately, if all else fails, you might have to fix another layer of drywall to reduce sound coming through your walls. Call it attacking the source.

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