Whether you’re customizing a craft room, an office or just trying to enjoy a television show, cutting down noise from other spaces can be a challenge.
If you work from home, that noise impacts your livelihood!
Reducing Excessive Noise Throughout Your Home
Noise travels freely through open spaces, then slips in under doors to ruin your concentration. Noise also works its way through the hollow spaces inside walls, around window gaps and through hollow core doors. Finally noise happily bounces around on hard surfaces.
Soft furnishings, cloth wall hangings and fabric draperies can all help reduce noise in your home. Monitor appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators and dishwashers for odd noises and get things checked out to make sure your appliances aren’t in need of maintenance.
As your appliances need replacing, review the manufacturers decibel rating. Manufacturers have done a great job of reducing the noise generated by many appliances.
Timing is critical when running appliances that work well but noisily. For example, dishwashers can often be loud enough to disrupt conversations and interfere with television watching.
However, if you start the dishwasher when you got to bed, the noise should not be troublesome. You can reduce some of the daily noise pollution in your house by changing a few habits to let noisy things run overnight.
Sound-Proofing Your Home Office
There are a few adjustments you can make to your private space to make it easier to focus.
Noise From Outside
Sealing the Window With Acoustical Caulk
If your space has a window and noise from traffic outside is troublesome, consider sealing the window with acoustical caulk. This product will dry and provide a flexible, sound deadening seal to your window. Then add a soft window covering including lined drapes, sheers and a pelmet or soft valance. Layers of fabric absorb sound.
Soundproofing With Book Shelves
On outside walls without windows, put up some bookcases! All of that paper will absorb plenty of vibration. If the outside noise is really bad, you can put sheets of foam rubber or foam such as that used behind vinyl siding behind the bookcases to absorb even more sound.
Noise From Inside
Shared walls can be problematic. If your housemates or neighbors can’t keep the noise down, there are adjustments you can make to your decor that can cut down on the racket.
When In Doubt, Try Something Soft
There is the Old Fashion Wall Quilt
Adding soft goods to shared walls will provide your space with a quick (and quiet) upgrade. If hanging quilts aren’t your style, there are plenty of other beautiful fabrics you can use, from tapestries built for wall display to beautiful mandala fabric that can be custom cut to your space.
This fabric can often be hemmed with fusible material and easily mounted to the wall. If you need more sound deadening, consider adding a thin sheet of foam rubber or an old blanket with double stick carpet tape.
Noise From Below
Just Add a Rug
Flooring can heavily impact how sound travels around your home. If you have carpet but still hear a lot of noise from below, add a rug to your working space. When it’s time to replace the carpet, consider adding a heavier pad in your space.
Remember that heat rises. If you go to the trouble to insulate the ceiling of the room below you for noise control, you may find your space much chillier that it used to be. You may need to supplement heat in your space if you insulate under your floor.
Noise From Above
Just a Little Bit of Foam
If your upstairs neighbor is heavy-footed, there may not be much you can easily do to improve sound transference from their place to yours. You can add a layer of rigid foam insulation to your ceiling, but this will require adjusting any light fixtures in the ceiling and finishing sheetrock over your head. This may not be work you can do on your own.
Sound Reduction Paint
A good first step may be to apply a layer of sound reduction paint. This paint uses ceramic as an additive to capture sound waves. It’s easy to clean up, non-toxic, and well worth a try.
Other options for the noisy walker upstairs include talking to them about schedule. Are there points in the day when you absolutely have to have quiet?
Have you lived near this person long enough to know their schedule, and can you adjust yours to be elsewhere during their most active times?
Staying flexible and communicating well may be the best way to stay on good terms and get your work done. If you bring private clients into your home office space, getting this timing right is critical.
Exterior doors should be solid core; interior doors are generally hollow on the inside. Consider putting a solid core door on your office.
Also add a draft catcher to your door, either as a sweep or as a fabric “snake” that you can put along the bottom of the door from the inside. This will cut down on the noise that passes under the door.
Cutting Down On Distractions
It’s said that every time your focus is broken, it takes an average of twenty-three minutes to get back into the flow. No matter how quiet your office is, distractions creep in and completely derail your work schedule.
Consider Buying a White Noise Machine
There are some simple techniques you can use to minimize distractions. Once you’ve gotten the noise under control, consider a white noise machine to block out background noises like traffic noises, the hum of a dishwasher or laundry room tools.
Recommended Product: Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Sound Machine
Give the Chatter App a Try
If white noise doesn’t work for you, check out one of the chatter apps you can add to your phone. If you’re working and a specific noise is drawing your focus, these apps can smooth out the distraction by surrounding you in a wash of chatter that has nothing to do with you. Many find it more effective than white noise.
Have a Good Pair of Noise Canceling Headphones
A good pair of noise canceling headphones can also help you find a personal oasis of silence. They come in a variety of styles and prices, but all serve to insulate you from ambient noise.
Recommended Product: Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones
A Regular Ole’ Timer
Finally, use a timer. Sometimes distractions show up because our brains need a break. By setting a timer to let you know when it’s time to take a breather, you can dive into your work, focus and produce like crazy, then enjoy a stretch, a walk, or some social media time.
Taking The First Step
Reducing the noise level in your home can be as simple as setting a bookcase along one wall or as complex as opening up the wall to properly insulate it.
No matter what your long term goals are, there are simple steps you can take to make your living and working spaces quieter, more pleasant and more productive. Set a goal to make one change this week and give yourself an oasis of quiet where you can think, work, and relax.