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Whether you want to minimise noise coming from outside or stop it travelling around inside the home, here are some of the easiest ways to soundproof your bedroom.

Use bookcases

Making your walls thicker by lining them with books on bookshelves creates a fairly effective sound barrier that absorbs a lot of noise.

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Install a door sweep

A small rubber strip to block the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor stops noise travelling as well as draughts blowing into the room.

Soft wall hangings

Noise ricochets off hard surfaces; hanging soft things on the wall, such as a tapestry, decorative rug or quilt, will help to absorb noise vibrations and the way they travel.

Future technology

In the last 18 months, EMPA (a materials science and technology lab in Switzerland) has produced a light, translucent fabric made of modified polyester designed to absorb sound.

Invest in double-glazing

Sound travels faster through something solid than it does through air alone. That pocket of air between the two panes of glass not only retains heat, it also keeps noise at bay.

If you already have double-glazing, ensure your window caulking has no gaps. According to the rules of acoustics, a mere 1% gap in the sound barrier can transmit 50% of sound.

Acoustic curtains 

There are specially made acoustic curtains available, which are designed to help control noise and it's generally down to the fabric. Simple sheer fabric can make a huge difference to the acoustic amenity of a room. There is also light reduction/opaque drapery fabric available which has the technology to cater to both light reduction and acoustic control. 

These fabrics have an outstanding Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) rating that's between 0.58 and 0.71. The NRC relates to the absorption effectiveness of the material. A perfectly sound absorptive material achieves a 1, whereas a 0 indicates no absorption.

Position of the curtain fabric also helps reduce noise, with this type of fabric positioned approximately 15 to 20cm from the window or wall, researchers found that it could absorb up to five times as much sound as a typical lightweight fabric.

“Hush Acoustic Sheers absorb significantly more sound energy than any other sheer fabric that I know of. In contemporary decors where hard surfaces are preferred, these acoustic sheers are an ideal way to introduce desperately needed, unobtrusive and highly effective sound absorption”. David Spargo, owner of Praxis Acoustics.

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Building materials & construction

If you’re undergoing major renovations or building new there are a number of things you can do at this stage to really help block out noise.

  • Use thicker, denser materials to absorb more sound, eg. 13mm plasterboard instead of the thinner sizes. This is also a good retrofit solution.
  • Install acoustic insulation. Foam installation is not a good sound-proofer but fibreglass is; specialist products such as Pink Batts Silencer can be installed to help absorb sound and stop it travelling from room to room.
  • Fill walls with a damping compound. This magical substance converts sound energy to heat and can be used between layers of wall, floor, or ceiling. Just be aware that some damping compounds can take an extraordinary period of time (days, even weeks) to cure and reach their full potential.
  • Decoupling is the muffling of a sound by enclosing it in a space. This effect can be achieved by creating two separate layers of wall with as much space between them as possible and filling them with a damping compound.
  • Double studs. Most walls contain a single row of studs, which touch both layers of wall allowing sound to travel through easily. Try either a double row of studs along each interior side (this is very effective but requires a significant amount of space), or a staggered row of studs, alternating placement along one interior side, then the other.
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