If you live in an apartment or a noisy house you might find that you hear a lot of noise from your neighbours coming through the walls and ceilings. Or maybe they hear a lot of noise from you! While noise problems can often be dealt with by adding insulation or other noise dampening structural elements, they may not be options for you. But even if you can't get behind the walls to solve the problem there are still plenty of things you can do to help reduce the amount of noise in your home.
Whether it's for your benefit or the benefit of those around you, try some of these techniques to soundproof a room using home decor.
Thick Carpet / Underpad
Sound bounces off hard surfaces and is absorbed by soft surfaces, so the first thing to do is invest in a thick carpet (or area rug) and make sure it has a good quality underpad underneath it. The carpet will absorb a little bit of sound, but it also helps because it will prevent furniture from making noise when it's moved around (for instance when you sit down in a chair and it shifts slightly). If thick carpet isn't for you, consider layering some area rugs over each other to achieve your desired style while still absorbing some sound. For instance, layering a geometric flatweave rug over a sisal area rug looks great and will help with noise issues.
If you currently have hard window treatments such as wood shutters or metal blinds consider switching them out for fabric alternatives.
But if you switch to curtains or drapes it's important that you choose a heavy fabric such as velvet. Likewise if you currently have cotton or linen window coverings you'll want to replace them with a heavy fabric that will absorb some sound. Also consider choosing pleated styles as pleated curtains can double and even sometimes triple the noise reduction compared to flat curtains of the same weight.
Wherever it makes sense in your home switch out hard furnishings for soft furnishings. You'll never be able to eliminate them completely (nor should you) but it's worth it to consider switching out a hard side chair for a soft one or perhaps opting for an upholstered bench or stool instead of a hard coffee table. Noise reverberates off of hard surfaces so it stands to reason that if you can reduce the number of hard surfaces you can reduce the noise by a certain degree.
Most people think of hanging paintings or photographs on the wall, but if you're looking to dampen sound think about mounting fabric wall hangings instead. Wall hangings are a great way to add color and pattern to a space, and since they can also help to dampen sound they're a great solution. Felt wall art is another fun and creative option. And if you can't bear to part with your existing artwork, try attaching a piece of foam to the back of each piece. It's a small thing, but it can help!
It's important to recognize that none of these elements will reduce noise completely, but using a combination of them in your home will help to dampen some of the sounds that might currently be bothering you.