You’ve got a great set of drums, and you love to play, but perhaps your roommates and neighbors aren’t so keen on listening to you practice every day, and you need to find a way to soundproof your room. Luckily, soundproofing doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor, and there are a lot of cheap tricks you can use to help soundproof the room and keep all your housemates happy.
How to Soundproof a Room Cheaply for Drums:
- Install Carpet or Lay Down Rugs
- Hang Curtains
- Install Seals Around Doors
- Install Seals Around Windows
- Place Extra Furniture in The Room
- Hang Paintings and Tapestries
- Attach Fabric to the Ceiling
- Add Mass to Walls with Soundproof Wallpapers and Egg Cartons
How Do You Soundproof A Drum Room
For many people, permanent, studio-quality soundproofing simply isn’t an option. It can be incredibly expensive, and if you are living in a rental unit, you may not be permitted to make any major installations or changes to your accommodations. Fortunately, there are plenty of inexpensive methods to help soundproof your room. Many can utilize items you may already have in your home!
Drums can pose a unique issue to musicians because it is very hard to control the volume. Electric instruments like guitars and synthesizers can be plugged into headphones so as not to disturb anyone else. Drums, however, have no way to turn the volume down. The only way to play is by striking the drums, often with a decent amount of force and a resulting loud soundwave.
Because of this, the room in which you plan to play the drums may need some additional modifications in order to ensure your practice sessions don’t raise noise complaints among neighbors and housemates.
Remember, the more methods you use to soundproof your room, the more likely you will dampen the ability of sound to leak out. However, using multiple methods will also generally be more expensive. Read about all the options here and then select the ones that you think would be the easiest to install and implement in your home. If you still haven’t achieved adequate soundproofing, you can then try adding more methods until you reach your goal.
Install Carpet or Lay Down Rugs
If you own your home and you plan to always have your drum set in the same room, it may be a worthwhile investment to consider installing carpet in the room. Heavy, plush carpets are better than thin, compact carpets in regard to sound dampening. You can reduce the cost by opting to install the carpet yourself.
If you don’t have the ability to install carpet in your space, you can accomplish the same soundproofing with a rug, which offers the advantage of being a temporary, modifiable feature of the room. If you live in a rented apartment, a rug offers a solution that won’t require receiving a landlord’s permission. You can even layer and overlap rugs for additional soundproofing of your room.
Choose rugs or carpets that are thick and dense. The heavier a carpet or rug is, the better it will be for soundproofing. Don’t forget to add an insulation layer of underlay beneath the rug or carpet. These layers are frequently used to help prevent slippage, reduce wear, and improve heat insulation. They also can help muffle sounds.
Underlay tends to be relatively inexpensive, so you can even consider laying down multiple layers beneath a rug. Popular underlay materials for flooring include foam rubber, crumb rubber, felt, and cork. Choose the material that is best for your budget and your space.
A quick, relatively inexpensive way to soundproof your room so that you can bang on your drums to your heart’s content is to hang curtains. Windows can be frustrating when it comes to soundproofing. Walls usually have an amount of mass that helps dampen sound, but the thinness of windows is something that can’t be avoided. Curtains offer a simple solution, and when used in addition to the acoustic sealant, they can really help soundproof a room.
The thicker and heavier the curtains are, the more effective they will be at dampening and absorbing sound. Some curtains specifically market themselves as soundproof, but these often vary in quality and are usually more expensive. Blackout curtains can be a good, lower-cost alternative, as these are generally much thicker than standard curtains and will absorb more sound.
Hanging multiple layers of curtains can also be more effective, as the additional layers will add more mass to the room and absorb more sound. If heavy-duty, thick curtains aren’t in your budget, consider making them yourself either from scratch or by sewing additional fabric to an existing curtain.
[Related Article: 5 Best Sound Deadening Curtains For Your House]
If you don’t care how they look, you can usually find discount fabric from wholesale fabric retailers or online stores like moodfabrics.com. Select thick, plush fabric like velvet, velour, or wool as these will be better for absorbing sound. You can also sew layers of fabric together to achieve a thicker, more dampening curtain. You can even use blankets if you happen to have extra lying around the house.
Even if your room doesn’t have windows, hanging curtains on the walls can help effectively soundproof a room. You could think of these like the foam acoustic panels on walls you see in studios and professional soundproof setups. The fabric helps keep sound from bouncing off the walls and reverberating as well as from escaping through the wall to reach your housemates.
Install Seals Around Doors
One often overlooked area of soundproofing is the doors or windows in a room. Many times, we don’t have control over the type of door or window is installed, and changing them may be too expensive for our budget. A better option is to look for ways to improve the seal around these room features.
Sound frequently leaks under doors and through cracks. You can block these gaps by sealing them with acoustic tape. Acoustic tape comes in various sizes and quality levels, but it can be a remarkably effective way to block the cracks and gaps present at the bottom and sides of a door or window.
Sealant tape varies in cost, but most options are relatively inexpensive. You may need to do a little research in order to find the brand that offers the best solution for your space at the best cost. Some acoustic sealant tapes are designed to mold to the gaps, which can offer even better soundproofing thanks to a customized fit.
A more permanent solution than acoustic sealant tape is to install a mounted door seal. These are typically made of metal and rubber and offer a much more customizable seal option. However, they can be more expensive, and you may need to look around for a deal if you think this is the best option for your room.
When sealing your room to soundproof it, it’s important to keep several things in mind when choosing the best solution for your space:
- Make sure the door can still open and close properly with the seals in place
- Make sure the seal covers the entire gap between the door and the floor or the frame
- If your door has large cracks in the frame, you may need to seal these as well as the gap between the door and the floor
Install Seals Around Windows
If you are planning to put your drum set in a room that has windows, you may need to take extra steps to ensure that minimal sound leaks through the windows. If you have the option, choosing to install double-glazed windows is usually best, but if you can’t change your window type, there are still steps you can take to achieve better soundproofing.
One of the biggest complications with windows and soundproofing is that the window frame usually has cracks and gaps through which sound can escape. Especially in older homes and apartments, windows frequently have come loose from their fittings and have poor seals. If you can hear your window rattle in its pane whenever there is a breeze, you likely don’t have a good seal, and sound will easily escape.
One easy solution is to grab a tube of acoustic sealant, like this one from Amazon, and apply it anywhere you think there is a crack or gap. Acoustic sealant looks somewhat like regular caulk, but it has features that make it ideal for helping to soundproof a room.
Acoustic sealant remains flexible, meaning that as the building ages, it can stretch to continue to cover gaps while traditional caulk would crack. Some acoustic sealants are water-based, which generally tend to be safer to apply to surfaces, but you may need to do some research to make sure that the sealant you are using won’t damage what you are applying it to, especially if you live in a rental property.
In addition to around windows, you can feel free to use acoustic sealant fairly liberally anywhere you think there might be cracks or gaps for sound to escape. Even if a window frame looks fairly well sealed, it can help to add an additional layer of sealant to dampen sound. You can also apply sealant around light fixtures where they intersect the wall or ceiling. Anywhere you think there is a chance for sound to leak out, seal it with acoustic sealant.
Place Extra Furniture in The Room
You may have noticed when moving into a space that when a room is devoid of furniture, sounds echo a lot more. A normal footstep can reverberate off the walls and sound much louder than in a furnished room.
This is due to the fact that furniture can help dampen and absorb sound. Heavier pieces of furniture can add mass to a room, which means improved sound dampening. Try to use soft, fluffier furniture, like sofas and recliners. The foam cushions will help absorb sound before it can reach the walls.
Bookcases lined with books can also be fairly efficient additions to the room. The paper within books acts as a relatively dense, soundproofing material. If you have racks of clothes and coat racks, these can also be useful because it adds extra mass and potentially sound-absorbing fabric to the room which can dampen the drumbeats. Placing these furniture elements closer to walls will usually be more effective than if they are freestanding.
Don’t forget that a table can also be a useful addition. A table will interrupt sounds bouncing between the floor and ceiling. You can also place items on top of the table, such as thick blankets or table runners, that will absorb additional sound.
If you have pillows, these can be useful to scatter about the room. Anything that is soft, cushy, and squishy can help effectively dampen and absorb sound. Usually, this is a fairly inexpensive solution that can make a significant improvement in your soundproofing efforts.
Hang Paintings and Tapestries
Maybe you are looking to soundproof your drum room, but you also want it to still look inviting and livable. If you don’t like the idea of sealing yourself away in a thick cave of mismatched carpets and curtains, you can consider a more artistic yet still effective alternative of hanging paintings and tapestries on the walls.
Canvas paintings are essentially just stretched, thick fabric with paint on top, so when placed strategically, they can help dampen sound. A larger painting will cover barer wall space and prevent echoes and reverberations. These can, therefore, add an attractive element to the room and help absorb sound without looking like you only placed them for soundproofing purposes.
If you don’t have any canvas paintings to hang, you can consider hanging a tapestry or decorative rug instead. The thicker the material, the more sound dampening properties it will lend to the space. Tapestries can be a fun and aesthetically pleasing way to help soundproof your room, but won’t be as effective as thicker, less attractive solutions like soundproof foam or fabric.
Attach Fabric to The Ceiling
One area of soundproofing that can be easy to overlook is your ceiling. Maybe you installed curtains over your windows, hung blankets on the walls, and covered your floor with rugs. If your ceiling is still bare, it can cause the sound to echo and leak out to upstairs neighbors. An easy, although perhaps not a fashionable solution is to attach some fabric to the ceiling.
If you have a thick, plush fabric like velvet or a knitted blanket, these can be affixed to the ceiling with nails or tacks. This can be especially useful to install right above your drum kit. If you have limited resources available, it is best to concentrate your soundproofing efforts in the areas that sound is most likely to escape, i.e., doors and windows, and around the source of the noise, i.e., your drum kit.
Any place where the sound of the drums will be reflected, such as a bare wall or ceiling, needs to be addressed in order to accomplish adequate soundproofing. While soundproofing foam is usually the best option, it can be expensive and isn’t readily available to everyone. A simple do-it-yourself solution is to hang fabric or even carpet scraps.
Add Mass to Walls with Soundproof Wallpapers and Egg Cartons
If you have room for it in your budget, soundproof wallpaper can be a great step to help soundproof your room so neighbors won’t hear your drums. These wallpapers are thicker, usually with a soft foam layer covered by a waterproof lining. Many, like this one, have textured designs that can help reflect sound away and disseminate it in the air as well as dampen it.
Having thicker walls inherently means more mass that a soundwave will have to pass through in order to leak out. Often, you don’t have the option to install a thicker wall or tear apart current walls in order to add more insulation. Instead, you can add layers to the wall to make it thicker, and 3D foam wallpapers are an easy way to do this.
Many of these foam backed wallpapers are sold in panels that are peel and stick, so you don’t need any additional tools or expertise to install them. If you don’t want to buy these special wallpapers, you can rig up your own do-it-yourself variations.
Thick, heavy blankets like those used for moving can be an excellent choice for adding mass to a wall. You can nail or glue them to the wall for a more permanent solution or hang them from curtain rods if you want a more modifiable setup.
[Related Article: How to Soundproof a Room with Blankets]
Another easy and inexpensive way to add mass to a wall is by placing egg cartons on the wall. While the cartons themselves are quite thin and do little to absorb sound, their unique shape helps diffuse sound by preventing it from reverberating and echoing off bare surfaces.
If you strategically place egg cartons in areas of the room where your drumbeats echo, such as around the drum kit itself or on the ceiling above the kit, this can help deaden the sound. On their own, egg cartons are far from adequate when it comes to soundproofing a room, but they can be a great and cheap addition if you want an extra element of noise reduction.