We understand, we’ve all been in that situation where we were quietly studying in our dorm room when all of a sudden, BOOM! A barrage of noise exploded coming from your neighbor. There doesn’t seem to be a way to shut out the noise and appreciate the radio-quiet a little longer when preparing for a Math exam, between your neighbor and others going down the corridor or outside (read more about noisy neighbors silencewiki.com).
How to soundproof a dorm room? The tips and tricks we suggest will not cost you a lot of money, since they are all low-cost fixes that will make the task more pleasant. Before we get into ideas, let’s go through the different kinds of noise that fly and how to solve the problem without bothering your RA about a noisy neighbor. So go ahead and read!
Types of Noise
The forms of noise differ, and not all can respond in the same way or find any of these noises bothersome. The first is airborne and will fly through the air, collide with solid objects, and enter adjacent space. This is what causes furniture or objects in a room to vibrate or bounce throughout.
Next is the structure-borne noise. This is the type of noise you’re hearing when a ball is bouncing over you or banging on the wall. Sound Waves are created when an object collides with the surface. These soundwaves, on the other hand, will pass through walls, ceilings, floors, and doors. Both of these kinds of sounds are most likely to be heard in your dorm (more info on silencewiki.com). Now you know the types of noise you might be hearing from next door, let’s break down the things you can do to soundproof your college fortress!
How to Soundproof a Dorm Room?
It’s important to remember that no matter what strategy you use, you won’t be able to totally soundproof space; instead, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of unnecessary noise. However, by combining strategies, you should be able to dramatically minimize noise emissions in your dorm room and experience a more peaceful environment.
1. Cover the Floor with Rugs
Let’s start from the beginning. Remember, if you aren’t comfortable hearing all the noise emanating from someone else’s room, your peers are likely to be uncomfortable hearing yours as well. Be a good neighbor and aim to cover the floors and divert the effect and noise away from your room so that anyone who is put under it can not hear it. This solution might not be necessary if your dorm is on the ground floor.
However, getting a room on the first floor (or being lucky if your dorm is on the first floor) is extremely difficult, and if you’re struggling with noise from below, the best way to soundproof your floor easily has always been and still will be a good comfortable rug.
2. Cover the Ceiling
Now, if you live below and the people above you can’t seem to stop tapping their feet LOUDLY, try covering your ceiling. Using various colors to create a pattern, secure acoustic foam tiles to the ceiling. Sound-deadening covers or heavy tapestries may be hung from the walls as an alternative, which we will describe later (best, cheap, and effective DIY solutions of how to soundproof a ceiling on bettersoundproofing.com).
Install Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) on the roof if the people upstairs are very loud. It’s a dense, flexible vinyl that’s often used in soundproofing applications and is relatively simple to add. Fix it in place with tacks or staples, and you’ll be able to quickly remove it at the end of the school year.
Video: Acoustic Foam panels on the Ceiling
3. Soundproof Your Dorm Room Windows
Some dorms, especially those in older dorm buildings, lack adequate windows to keep outside noises out. You certainly don’t want to hear a group of people going to the bars or returning from the bars when you’re studying or sleeping. If your dorm room allows it, you may want to share the expense of a soundproof curtain with your roommate.
Not only do these things serve as a sound shield, but they also block up to 90% of noise and block out 100% of light—the ideal balance for making the ideal sleep sanctuary. Sound-blocking curtains are a simple and cost-effective way to silence every dorm or apartment space, whether it’s for a late-night, a mid-day break, or a weekend of studying (13 cheap ways to soundproof a window on soundproofliving.com).
4. Cover the Walls
Before you start putting stuff up on the walls, make sure you understand the dorm fire code and the guidelines for the use of adhesives. Hanging decorative elements in your dorm will help to add aesthetic value while also blocking out soundwaves. As a general rule, the heavier the elements are, the more noise they will filter out. Try these out:
- Posters and photographs can be framed and hung on the walls.
- Tapestries or sound-absorbing curtains may be hung on the windows.
- Walls should be covered in acoustic foam tiles. These tiles come in a variety of colors; select at least two different colors and hang them in a pattern to provide a layer of soundproofing as well as visual appeal.
Ultimately, it all depends on your budget as well as the laws and regulations of your dorm. When it comes to using posters placed on a corkboard or sheets of Styrofoam wrapped in your favorite material, you can get creative. Don’t forget about the doors until you’ve finished with the walls!
Video: How To Soundproof Your Walls With No Damage For Low Cost
5. Soundproof Your Doors
We realize that doors are the most common source of noise issues. There is, however, a way to combat this. Consider getting a draft stopper for your door. This would help to reduce noise in the corridor to the point that it doesn’t feel like someone is there. But, before you purchase, make sure you weigh the door to ensure you have the correct amount (15 Best Ways to Soundproof a Door That Actually Work on soundproofcentral.com).
Video: Soundproof Door Test | Using the Producer’s Choice Door Blanket
6. Strategize How You Place Your Furniture
It’s great to fill up the room, but you’ll have to be careful where you put it. When you’re putting things together, bear in mind that you’re taking the furniture in to muffle the noise. So, you’ll want to conceal the part of the space that is leaking the most noise, which is the walls. Furniture is a perfect way to bring soundproofing to your room if your dorm space requires it!
Place your desks, dressers, chairs, sofas, and other furniture against the walls to help prevent sound from entering or leaving. Keep in mind that absorbing vibrations is a major part of minimizing how much sound goes while positioning furniture.
Pro-tip, place the furniture against the walls where you can hear the most noise. If you share a wall with a very loud neighbor, for example, put the dresser and desk there. However, don’t use the beds as soundproofing features so you’ll hear the unnecessary noise when attempting to sleep. Instead, position your beds against the wall that is farthest away from the source of the noise.
7. Filling in the Room
Since dorm rooms are so poorly equipped and have so many empty walls, an echo is very likely to occur. Students aren’t very concerned about the walls, so you can use this to your benefit by filling them with shelves and books, or objects and furniture.
The more furniture you have in your home, the less noise you can hear from outside. The sound that hits the hollow walls and bounces off of them repeatedly, making that irritating noise as though you are hearing yourself many times, is known as echo. Of course, in tiny dorm rooms, it isn’t quite as bad, but you get the idea.
8. Install a White Noise Machine
Another thing you should do is something that isn’t directly connected to soundproofing, but it can help a lot. Really, all we’re speaking about here is making more noise, but a good one, to hide the unwanted noise while still adding to the ambiance of your surroundings.
Adding noise to a room can seem counterproductive, but a white noise machine may block noises that occur naturally in space. White noise, like effects and airborne noise, should be used to block all frequencies. The noise (waves crashing, thunder, and so on) can also be therapeutic.
White noise machines are available for a reasonable price. Keep in mind that you do not need to be concerned about them. They are completely harmless. This is all a jumble of varying frequency sounds mixed together (read more about white noise machines on silencewiki.com).
Video: Are white noise systems worth it?
9. Buy Noise-Canceling Headphones
Consider purchasing noise-canceling headphones if you are unable to fully soundproof your room. Noise-canceling headphones are the way to go when anything else fails! Wear them if the noise level is unbearable and you need complete silence, such as when preparing for a final or writing a term paper (read about Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones on silencewiki.com).
Another advantage of these noise-canceling headphones is that you can choose the color and they have Bluetooth. The main drawback will be having to charge the headphones every few hours in order to keep them in use (read about Beats Noise-Canceling Headphones on silencewiki.com).
Now that we’ve covered some of the options for soundproofing your dorm space, we’re confident that your time there will be much more enjoyable. These strategies and techniques will not only help you relax while there is a party downstairs, but they will also make your small room feel like home.
Dorms are loud environments, but they don’t have to make you insane or detract from your college experience. If you use a combination of these strategies, you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds: dorm life’s fun and freedom, as well as much-needed peace and quiet.
You will now have all of the small talk, fights, and mysteries that make a student’s life so fascinating without worrying that anyone is listening in. Most importantly, you’ll be able to study without interruption and ace those tests. Now go get your diploma!