Working from home can be a great experience, but it comes with interesting and often unexpected challenges that we need to overcome. A notable example is the sound disturbances that can happen from busy streets, neighbors, or simply your family going about their daily lives.
The thing is, noise disturbances can also happen in office buildings and such, but over there you have no choice but to accept it, since in most cases they’re out of your control. At home however, you have total freedom to make the perfect home office in any way you like, and that includes soundproofing it for a more productive day.
There are a few essential tips to soundproofing, so let’s check out the best ways to make your home office as quiet as possible!
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. – Helen Keller
Learn about sound dampening
Before we talk about preventing sounds from entering your office, we should talk about the noise that already exists inside it.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of “sound dampening, it’s fairly simple: sound travels and bounces back from the walls in your house. The only reason we don’t hear more echoes and reverb is because things like furniture, rugs, and other appliances help in “dampening the sound.
This is also why a large empty room is more prone to echo and reverb. This is usually not a big problem since you’ll probably already have enough furniture around the office to remedy this issue, but if you’re spending a few hours locked inside the office every day, hearing echo and reverb of minor sounds can be off putting to say the least. For example, typing on a mechanical keyboard or listening to music for work can sound strange without proper sound dampening.
The good news is that this is fairly easy to solve:
Anything “soft to absorb the sound will help with sound dampening. So think rugs, mattresses, couches, sofas, pillows, anything along those lines. It will make your home office prettier, comfier, and perfect for sound dampening.
Install acoustic panels
Acoustic panels are perfect for sound insulation, but they also have the great perk of preventing sound from leaving the room, which is why you always see these installed in recording studios. Not only do they help in achieving better sounding audio, but they make it so the sound stays inside and doesn’t “bleed outside.
Both of these perks are great for home offices. For one, in the event of meetings through video calls, you will always have great reverb and echo-free audio. And even better, you can have meetings all day or listen to music while you work without disrupting the rest of the house, since the acoustic panels work for soundproofing walls.
If you don’t like the industrial look of grey foam sound panels, there are sound absorbing panels made of pressed fiber in many colors (like the ones shown above).
There is also sound-reducing paint for your walls. They work as sound dampeners and reduce noise by up to 30%, so if you’re thinking of redecorating by painting the walls, it might be worth a look!
Get a solid door
Hollow doors can reverberate and let noise in. For the purposes of sound-proofing, you want to invest in a solid door, since they’re much sturdier and less likely to let sounds bleed through. But to make it perfect, you should also get a door sweep to prevent sounds from entering your home office from the gap under the door.
Soundproof your window
The window is a tricky one because the main reason you would want to soundproof it is to prevent noise from the outside to become distractions. This can be anything from busy streets, neighbors, dogs barking, etc.
To soundproof your home office window, there are two ways: install double-pane windows or soundproof curtains. If sounds from the outside aren’t very prominent and you just want an extra layer of protection, soundproof curtains are cheaper and quick to install.
If sounds from the street are highly disruptive, then installing a double-pane will be more effective – perhaps even in combination with a soundproof curtain.
Soundproof your ceiling
This probably won’t be necessarily unless you’re working on the bottom floor of your home, or if your home office is in your home’s basement. Even if you follow every step so far, you will likely still hear footsteps and all kinds of ruckus coming from upstairs due to poor acoustic insulation, so another measure must be taken.
The most effective way to soundproof your ceiling is to create a drop ceiling and then fill the space between with sound proof insulation. Not only will this result in a much nicer-looking ceiling, but it will greatly dampen any sounds coming from the upper floors!