The Last Soundproof Room Divider Shopping Guide You’ll Ever NeedShawn
Do you have trouble concentrating at work? Are employees begging you to do something about the constant noise in the office? Is your work-from-home setup failing because you aren’t able to block out all of the distractions? One solution that may work: A soundproof room divider. By cutting the space in half with a noise-dampening structure, you’ll restore the peace and get back some of that lost concentration. You may think that installing sound-mitigating materials would be expensive, but that’s not always the case. Sure, if you need the kind of total soundproofing required by recording studios, you’ll need to fork over the big bucks. But there are simpler, smaller solutions that you may even be able to install without the help of a professional.
Why You May Need a Soundproof Room Divider
There are many reasons why you may benefit from a soundproof room divider. Noise is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when you’re trying to concentrate on doing your work. That noise may be coming from across the hall or across the street, but it’s tearing you away from your duties. No longer! With a soundproof room divider, you can escape the madness and find your calm center again. Here are some of the greatest benefits of soundproofing your room:
- Good ones can absorb up to ¾ of the total ambient noise
- Dividers that truly divide the room will also act as sight barriers for increased privacy
- Loud offices have been shown to sharply decrease productivity
- Excessive noise can interfere with your sleep cycles, leading to insomnia and other health issues
- Temporary soundproof room dividers can be installed and removed without the exorbitant cost
- Cutting ambient noise also improves the sound of anything you choose to listen to (or record)
- Studies have shown that noise can lead to stress, which can have a detrimental impact on your health
Soundproofing: Five Important Things to Consider
We know you’re excited to put up a soundproof room divider and get your work done in peace, but hold on a minute! Before you take the plunge and begin what could turn out to be an expensive project, let’s talk about some important considerations to take into account before buying a soundproofing solution. Here are five big ones:
The right materials are essential – You have to spend some time deliberating materials when looking for an effective soundproofing solution. Certain materials and textiles are better at dampening sound than others. While you can make a soundproof room divider out of almost anything, only ones made from sound absorbent materials will truly make a difference. Cotton, polyester, velvet, and foam are but a few examples of excellent sound-mitigating materials.
Weight, thickness, and density – With all other factors being equal, heavier fabrics tend to absorb sound better than lighter ones. You can get some measure of sound relief with nothing more than a thin blanket, but it’s not going to be enough to record your next album. Whether we’re talking curtains or panels, make sure the materials you choose and heavy and dense enough to block the noise.
Go wall to wall – We’ve included in our list a few examples of soundproof room dividers that can be done in either a full or partial installation. If you can line up the placement of these dividers with the primary source of the sound, you will get some degree of soundproofing. However, if you really want to create a blanket of silence around your workspace, you’ll want a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling solution.
Get professional assistance (when applicable) – Installing really good soundproofing is the job of a professional, and it should be left that way. Those who work in the industry know how to put these dividers in so that they will maximize their effectiveness against unwanted sound. While it’s not impossible to achieve a similar feat by yourself, the chances are good that you’ll let more sound in than you wanted.
Take the environment into consideration – No matter what kind of soundproof room divider you decide on, you’ll want to take measures to choose one that matches the environment. We’ll be honest, there are solutions out there that are every bit as ugly as they are effective. If you live alone (or have little interest in aesthetics), by all means: Go nuts with those old curtains! Otherwise, try to match colors and textures to the surrounding area.
Types of Soundproof Room Dividers
Now that we’ve got a feel for what it means to soundproof a room and the benefits of doing so, let’s take a look at the most popular soundproof room dividers. Perhaps you’ll find a solution that works for you!
When it comes to the most accessible, user-friendly, inexpensive options for soundproofing a room, curtains are way up there at the top of the list. To use curtains as a soundproof room divider, you’ll want to opt for heavy fabric that will stretch from the top of the room to the floor and (optimally) cover the distance from wall to wall. If done in this way, the curtains will provide an effective and attractive barrier to any noises on the other side. Velvet, due to its dense fibers and heavy blanketing, is one of the top choices when you want to use your curtains to dampen sound. Suede is also an acceptable choice for soundproofing. If you can’t find (or afford) curtains made from those materials, you may want to consider buying curtains made from a slightly less heavy fabric that includes a liner stitched inside. This can give you additional sound-mitigating benefits without the high cost of velvet. One major factor to recommend curtains: If installed correctly, you’ll be able to draw them open and closed at will.
If you’ve ever been to a recording studio or a movie theater, you’ve probably noticed that the walls are made from a material that looks suspiciously like fabric. Did the construction crew run out of drywall? Well, of course not. What you’re looking at are acoustic panels that have been specially designed to absorb sound before it can escape (or enter) the room. That’s why you can watch a quiet Oscar-nominated film in peace, even if the theater next door is showing the latest Marvel extravaganza. These panels aren’t perfect, but the materials do a pretty good job of absorbing excess noise – especially conversational noise from across the office. If you hire a professional contractor to soundproof your room, the chances are good that he’ll use something like this.
Yes, you can use thick rugs to create a soundproof room divider, but did you know that even installing these rugs as intended – on the floor – can help you cut ambient noise considerably? If you live or work on a higher floor and are constantly hearing complaints from the neighbors below, putting down rugs may be the answer. But even if you live on the ground floor, rugs are vastly better than hard floors or even thin carpeting when it comes to dampening footsteps, the sound of dogs running, and everyday conversational noise that tends to interrupt your flow. Rugs of this quality don’t necessarily come cheap, but you can purchase liners for cheaper rugs that will contribute many of the same qualities.
You’ve probably noticed that the vast majority of offices in this country are sparse affairs, filled with metal chairs, plain desks, and that’s about it. It’s almost as if they were designed to bounce noise and sound clear across the room, off the walls, and back again. This makes for a highly unpleasant work environment – one that too many people mistakenly replicate when they design their home office. Why not add a couch and an upholstered chair or two into the mix? These aren’t the best options when it comes to soundproofing, obviously, but they do make a significant difference. The fabrics are natural sound absorbers, and a sofa is a much more natural way to divide a room than, say, a wall constructed from acoustic panels.
Several soundproofing companies sell foam panels that can be used to inexpensively create a partition through which sound will struggle to penetrate. These panels are especially good at blocking out high-range and mid-range frequencies, which is likely what you’re most concerned about keeping out of your workspace. This is a terrific low-cost option for those looking to inexpensively outfit a recording studio, whether it’s in the home or not. It is also used to great effect by podcasters, YouTubers, and others who make their living (or indulge their hobby) by entertaining online users from home. You can get a 4-pack of these panels for less than $25, so this is a great choice for anyone working with a limited budget.
If the price tag on some of the other options mentioned here is a bit steeper than you were hoping for, take heart: There are options out there that don’t cost a thing. You have blankets in your house already, surely. Well, if you hang them in a strategic way, you can mitigate sound without spending a single cent. Granted, this isn’t the most sophisticated option, but if you’re facing a situation where you absolutely must cut noise, it is reasonably effective. The thicker the blankets, the better the sound absorption. Also, if you’re not so much interested in dividing the room as keeping outside noise out, you can tack blankets to the walls for better sound-cushioning. That makes this a good choice for anyone having issues with apartment neighbors!
Glass or Plastic Partitions
If you’ve been out in the stores during the pandemic, you’ve undoubtedly been greeted with these little glass or plastic partitions that separate you from the cashier. Though ostensibly meant to block the spread of disease, every customer and retail worker has discovered that these partitions do a pretty good job at muffling speech. When was the last time you had an encounter at the checkout line featuring these partitions and you DIDN’T have to say, “Eh?” at least once? To reach their potential as sound dampeners, you’ll need partitions that cover most of the width and height of the room. But even partial walls will do some good when it comes to mitigating noise.
Folding Fabric Partitions
Room partitions have largely fallen out of favor in terms of attractive home design, but if it is soundproofing you want, they can deliver. Make sure you choose one made from soundproofing materials such as polyester or cotton – folding partitions made from other common materials may improve your privacy, but they won’t necessarily keep sound from bleeding into your space. If you’re mostly interested in a temporary soundproofing solution, these dividing walls are an excellent option; you can simply fold them against the wall when you don’t need that feature. Several companies sell products like this in a variety of colors, so you should be able to find one that fits your décor.