Sound reducing drapes are a popular decorating option for people who need to keep the noise out, but not all drapes are equal when it comes to this soundproofing feature.
When you first move into a house subtle noises are more noticeable. The clank of pipes after the water runs, a dripping faucet, the steady flow from the air return outside your bedroom door can most often be ignored. Not only that, but sounds like these can be taken care of by taping pipes, fixing the faucet or closing a door so you don't hear the air return. Noises that leak in from outside are another matter. Whether it is your neighbor's leaf blower, normal traffic on your street, the garage band down the street, or children playing when you're trying to sleep, outdoor noises can be distracting and at times irritating. Whatever the reason for needing quiet, heavy drapes may be the help you seek to block the flow of unwanted noise riding the airwaves into your home. Not only that, heavy drapes also work to reduce sound vibrations within the home by absorbing noise that normally bounces around a room.
When planning a soundproof room it's best to start from scratch if you really want to cut out all noise. Building your own room will allow you to use materials designed for dampening noise. If you don't have that luxury, then you'll have to settle for using materials and techniques designed to help buffer unwanted sounds.
If you're on a tight budget, heavy drapes are one option to help reduce the noise. Other possibilities include laying carpet and applying a textured acoustic spray to your ceiling. These techniques and devices help absorb sound, but they won't totally cut out sound enough to use the room as a recording studio. However, for the average family it will make a difference. If you need it even quieter, you can also add carpet to the walls. Walls panels are manufactured for this purpose as well. If this option is more than you can afford, a temporary solution would be to use felt blankets such as those used in storage facilities and moving companies.
Along with the above options, it's a good idea to check the window itself. Double-paneled windows cut out noise by about 20 percent. Proper weather-stripping makes a difference, too. In some cases it is best to install a new window rather than try to fix the one letting the noise in. As an added bonus, a new window would most likely reduce your energy bills, too, because it won't just keep the noise out, it will also keep the air conditioning and heat in.
Soundproofing Drapery Tricks
When you purchase drapes specifically to keep the noise out, look for draperies made from materials that offer sound-dampening qualities. These materials are different from those found in your average curtains and even drapes. For those who want to keep out sound and light, blackout drapes are also an option.
Once you've taken care of window noise and hang your drapes, here are a few tricks to make sound reducing drapes even more soundproof:
- When fitting the drapes to the window, plan for extra fabric. You don't want them stretched tight when completely extended. The added folds of fabric work as an additional sound buffer.
- For maximum results hang two sets of sound reducing drapes
- Seal drapery edges with double-sided sticky tape. This trick sticks the drapes to the wall and can also be used to tack together the drapery edges where they overlap. If you don't want to use sticky tape, magnetic tape also works and allows for opening and closing the drapes if you want to.
- Line the entire wall with drapes that reduce sound for better noise control.