Dogs barking, car alarms shrieking, helicopters buzzing overhead, sirens blaring – sometimes the world just outside your home is a noisy place. Couple that with all the various noises that come from within your house, and you’ve got a potential sound problem on your hands.
While you can’t silence every disturbance (sometimes you just have to accept that the neighbor kid likes to practice his tuba in the morning), you can take steps to make sure your home’s sounds don’t drive you crazy. Here are some suggestions on how to quiet your noisy home.
Fabric is your friend
The more hard surfaces you have in your home, the more sound can echo, amplifying whatever noise you already hear. You can help to diminish this by layering your wood or tile floor with rugs, hanging curtains in windows, buying upholstered furniture instead of wood or metal, and using fabric wall hangings in place of traditional framed art. You can also pile pillows on couches and beds for further sound absorption.
Use solid doors
One way to keep sound from traveling from one room to another is to close the door – but not all doors are created equal. Many of today’s home feature hollow-core doors, which do very little muffle sound. Instead, replace these doors with solid doors made entirely from wood or that have a particleboard or composite core. In addition, you can install weatherstripping around the perimeter of the door, which will help keep sound from traveling around it. One of the easiest materials you can use is high-density foam tape with an adhesive backing.
Fix that squeaky floor
While you may have learned to walk around that one spot in the floor with the insistent squeak, why not rub it out all together? A quick, but not permanent, fix for squeaky hardwood floors is to sprinkle baby powder in the cracks, which will temporarily silence the squeak. To eliminate the squeak for good, make sure the subfloor is completely nailed down, repair loose planks or install bridging against the subfloor.
Keep your television and stereo at a reasonable volume and adjust volume settings on your phones and other devices. Turn off computers when not in use. If you are in the market for a new appliance, consider purchasing a less noisy model.
If you can’t quiet a noise entirely and it continues to bother you, you might be able to fight noise with noise – white noise, that is. The quiet and continuous whir of a box fan or pleasant sounds of ocean waves from a noise machine may be just what you need to forget about those more annoying sounds and focus on the task at hand.
Invest in good earplugs
One of the easiest ways to block sound is to invest in some good earplugs, which you can buy at your local drugstore. Go for the earplugs that have the highest rating for blocking decibels. You can pop them in if you’re trying to work at home while the dishwasher is running or at night if your partner snores.