5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Reduce Noise Pollution Around Your Home
by Meredith Kucik
Do you live in a home that sits ear-splittingly close to a busy road, or maybe near an area of rowdy nightlife? Is street construction interfering with valuable downtime? Or perhaps it’s loudmouthed neighbors keeping you up at night? If any of the circumstances point to you, it’s probable that you’re in dire need of some peace and quiet. Privacy is a non-negotiable once we’ve passed through the front door—the very threshold of our own personal space, removed from the outside world.
If you’re dying for some silence but relocating isn’t in the cards for you at the moment, there are still some things you can do to quell the outside chaos. Or at least keep it from following you home. These quick fixes below won’t require deep pockets either. Read on for some simple soundproofing strategies!
Block It Out—Barriers
Working from the outside in is always the best way to start, especially for noise cancellation. Why not have the chance to soak up some tranquility in your backyard too? And to achieve that, it’s all about building barriers. We’re talking good old-fashioned brick and mortar, as well as stone and concrete. Really whatever dense material you fancy.
It’s worth noting that there are other options for sound barriers, like tall wood fences or hedges. But regarding efficacy, the rule of thumb here is: the denser the material, the better. Wood fences, typically timber, are super DIY-friendly and do a great job of creating visual privacy, but unless you’re willing to invest in thick, top dollar wood, the amount of noise reduction you’ll achieve is minimal. Also, you’ll have to watch out for eventual wood rot and termites. And maintenance-wise, the same goes for hedges. Although lush and aesthetically pleasing, it may take dedicated upkeep and time for shrubbery to grow and densify for successful noise reduction. Vegetation barriers like hedge fences can reduce noise pollution by up to 25%, so if you’re just looking for something to buffer out background noise, plants might be the way to go.
Let It Rain—Ambient Soundscapes
Say you’ve decided to spend your Sunday afternoon on the back patio with a book and just as you lean back into your lawn chair and flip to the page with a folded corner, your next-door neighbor revs up the lawnmower. Great. But not to worry; your Sunday off can still be salvaged because you recently invested in an outdoor water fountain. With the flip of a switch, it’s bye-bye lawn mower and hello Trevi Fountain of Rome.
If implementing a water feature is a bit out of your price range or simply just isn’t up your alley, surround-sound speakers paired with an ambient soundscape playlist will just as easily transport you beyond your backyard. Plus, I’m certain the neighborhood would appreciate the sound of a babbling rainforest creek over blaring music.
Aesthetic Absorption—Noise Cancelling Décor
If thin walls are your problem, especially if you live in a townhome or condo where disruptive noise might be coming from just the other side, wall hangings or a big ole bookshelf are both options you should explore. As for wall hangings, anything that, again, introduces some density between the noise source and your personal space will aid in soundproofing. And although you may have never noticed, sit-down restaurants often use this wall hanging method to minimize the amount of audible outside noise for the sake of creating an exclusive atmosphere. Which is exactly what we want at home! Because acoustic panels for sale can be rather pricy, here’s a DIY version to try out.
On the other hand, if the noise interferences you’re experiencing in your home is resounding more from distant sources—beltway traffic, a nearby airport, train tracks, etc.—a set or two of thick drapes can do wonders. Additionally, take a second to check your windows for any air gaps or splitting seals. If you do so happen to come across any cracks, be sure to repair those. Windows are meant to let in fresh air and sunlight, but sound will make its way in just as easily. Proper insulation is key to a soundproofed environment.