How to Soundproof a Dorm Room and Block Out Noise
Life in a dorm room is part of a life of almost every student on their way to that degree.
Good things about dorms are that they are cheap, often near the college, that you can make some amazing friendships there, and that your room is your own for the time you will be living there.
You can make whatever you want out of it, and make it seem like a piece of home that you just moved out of.
On the other hand, there are some bad sides to living in a dorm.
A dorm’s rooms are often very small and very plain and walls are so thin that they seem like they are made of paper.
Also, some students are interested more into partying and listening to their music out lout rather than studying to get that degree.
That is a big no- no for anyone who is really willing to spend their time in there, sleep there, and study there.
I mean, if you can hear your student neighbors, it is most likely that they will be able to hear you too.
If you are not in a dorm yet, and if you have not experienced what I am talking about, you might think that I am over exaggerating.
But if you are not all that new to living in a dorm, I am sure that you are very well aware of what I am babbling about.
You might have been at the point of going crazy, but if you’re reading this post – it’s most likely you chose the smart route and you’re interested to learn how to soundproof a college dorm room.
And for both of you, those who haven’t and are yet to experience the perks of living in a dorm, and for those of you who are already spending a fortune on earplugs, I have assembled a few simple tricks to making your dorm life more comfortable.
Do not worry! I know that being a student requires a lot of money, so most of the techniques are what you can do very cheaply and very simply by bringing stuff from your home, or getting them in a local store for a very fair price.
So, let us begin.
How to Soundproof a Dorm Room
What You'll Be Needing:
Now, it is common knowledge that dorm rooms are very small, so there is not a lot of space for maneuvering here.
But small space doesn’t only mean that there are fewer possibilities, but it means something even more important.
And that is that not a lot of work will be required and that you will not be spending a lot of material and money on soundproofing the room.
Since the dorms are huge blocks of rooms, you will be probably having some neighbors to your left, to your right, above you, and underneath your room.
This might not allow you a 100% soundproof living, but it’s a great way to start blocking the noise outside your dorm room.
And for this, you will want to cover the walls and floor too.
Again, it would not be a problem, since you do not have a lot of space, and it will be easy since you can find all of the things you might be needing very cheaply.
So, let’s start from the bottom of the room, and work our way up to the stars.
1. Cover the Floor with Plush Rugs
Let’s start from the scratch.
Remember, if you are not comfortable with hearing all that noise coming from someone else’s rooms, your fellow students are most likely not comfortable with hearing yours either.
Be a good neighbor, try to cover the floors and bring the impact and the noise away so that someone who is placed underneath your room doesn’t hear the noise either.
If your dorm is on the ground floor – you might not need to do this step.
But it’s quite unlikely to get situated at the ground floor (or you’re lucky in case your dorm is on the ground level), and if you’re dealing with the noise coming from below, the best way to soundproof your floor cheaply has always been and always will be a nice cozy rug.
Not only that a rug can make your room look nice and work, but it can help with reducing the sound of footsteps that someone underneath your room can hear.
You already know how it is: the feeling that someone is stepping on your head. And God forbid that it is a girl in high heels.
So, try to bring a nice rug to your room and place it on the floor. It will help kill the so-called construction noise that is created when an object hits walls/floors/etc.
This impact makes vibrations that spread on both sides of an obstacle and in that way make some noise.
If you couldn’t find an old rug at home, you can purchase some really nice ones.
Here is a short list of my favorite rugs, and for a very affordable price:
2. Fill Up the Space
Now that you are done with the base, let’s go up.
There a quite a few ways to soundproof the walls but the most interesting and most beautiful one, in my opinion, is this one: filling up the space.
Since dorm rooms are very poorly equipped and they have empty walls, it is very common for an echo to appear.
Students don’t really care about the walls too much – but you can take this as an advantage and fill up your walls with either shelves & books, or objects & furniture.
The more furniture you have, less noise you will experience coming from the outside of your room.
Echo is the sound that is hitting the empty walls and bouncing off of them again and again, and creating that unpleasant noise as if you are hearing yourself for several times.
Of course, it is not that severe in small dorm rooms, but you get the point.
To prevent this you can cover the walls with some nice canvases and pictures, and fill up the space with more furniture.
It would be hard for sound to bounce off when there is something to stop them, or when there is a soft surface along the way.
And there are so many canvas wall art that you can choose from!
Additionally, you can add some plants that will make the space look more like home.
Here are some dorm decors for your considerations.
3. Make a Strategy for Placing Furniture
Filling up the space is great, but you would have to pay attention to how you place it.
When you are placing it, keep in mind that you are bringing in the furniture in order to reduce the noises coming in.
For this reason, you would want to cover the part of the room that is leaking the most of the noise and these are the walls.
Place the furniture alongside the walls, as many as you can. It would be the best to bring in some bookcases, or some additional wardrobes.
In this way, the walls will be covered, and the sound coming from the other side will have much more obstacles to surmount.
4. Cover Your Windows with Soundproof Curtains
Another thing that you can try to stop the noise from the outside from getting in your room is to put these soundproof curtains on your windows.
These curtains are made with a special layer of soundproof materials that capture sound in its threads and not let it escape and make noise.
Furthermore, they are soft and the sound doesn’t bounce that easily, which I already mentioned.
5. Consider Cork
Even though this might sound like something that you wouldn’t like to do, have in mind that cork is a very good insulator.
It will not block all of the sounds, of course, but it can reduce them by a significant amount.
Additionally, it is a very good thermal insulator too.
If covering the floors is too much for you and you prefer the fuzzy rugs, maybe you can put some cork on your walls.
You don’t have to cover all of it, but maybe you can put some cork boards up there instead of the canvases.
These can be put in a good use by placing some nice photos or reminders on them and preventing you from the unwanted noise at the same time.
6. Create Enjoyable Ambient
Another thing that you can do is not related to the actual soundproofing that much, but it can help by a lot.
Actually, what I’m thinking about here is making more noise, but a pleasant one, that can not only mask the unpleasant noise but add up to the ambiance of your surroundings.
This is known as white noise soundproofing which allows you to eliminate the outside noise by playing noise you like. Yes, you’ve read it right – I said noise.
You can choose from various noise colors which aren’t really bad noises – but can actually make you productive while they help eliminate the outside noise.
The best way to do so is to create some beneficial noise in your room that will mask other sounds and distract your brain from hearing them.
My personal favorite is the so- called brown noise that sounds a little bit like an ocean and waves, or like a waterfall.
But the white noise is the most popular one and it sounds like a pour of the rain.
You can find some white noise machines at a very affordable price.
Have in mind that there is no need to worry about them. They are not harmful in any way. This is just a bunch of mixed sounds of different frequencies.
On Soundproofing the Dorm Room
And now that we have listed some of the things that you can use to soundproof your dorm room, I hope that your life there will be much more pleasant.
Not only that these techniques and methods are here to help you with sleeping when there is a party downstairs, but they will make your small room look like home.
Now you can have all of the little conversations, and fights, and secrets that make a student’s life so interesting without a single worry that someone is listening to you.
And most importantly, you will be able to study in peace and ace those exams.
Now go get that degree!
You might also like: 11 Best Tips to Sleep with Noisy Roommates
- Cover the Floor with Plush Rugs
- Fill Up the Space
- Make a Strategy for Placing Furniture
- Cover Your Windows with Soundproof Curtains
- Consider Cork
- Create Enjoyable Ambient