It’s no secret that having a noisy neighbor or any loud distracting noise is a major nuisance in one’s life, and soundproofing a room is a great way to reduce this and greatly improve the quality of your life. This is especially true if you are living and working in an open space; in addition to eliminating sightlines, room dividers are often used in an attempt to try and drown out the sound of others that are in close vicinity.
Room dividers help to block out some (but not all) of the sounds since they create a barrier between the person and the source of the noise. That said, not all room dividers are specifically built with the purpose of soundproofing, so depending on the material your room divider is made from, it may be not as effective as others.
Room dividers are very convenient if you want to reduce noise in areas such as a family room, classroom, or office space, although not all room dividers will work for you. In this article, we will go over some of the best uses for room dividers, the various types of room dividers, which ones are most effective for soundproofing purposes, and how to install them.
Best Uses for Room Dividers
Room dividers have many different applications and purposes for which they are bought. Not surprisingly, since there are so many different types of room dividers and they come in all shapes and sizes, we have seen them used in a number of creative or new ways. It is likely that there are many uses of room dividers that we have not even thought of!
Obviously, room dividers can be purchased and utilized for more than just one reason. Since installation is not difficult, a single room divider can have a large life span and be functional for many different purposes over a period of time.
However, today we will mostly be looking at some of the most popular applications for room dividers. Some of these include:
- Blocking out noises that are in close proximity to you, done by putting a room divider between you and the source of the noise
- Splitting one bedroom into multiple bedrooms, which provides the gift of privacy when space is limited
- Blocking out visuals, such as light and anything else that can be blocked by simply putting up a wall
- Hiding any spaces that you do not want to be seen by others, such as storage or messy areas
These are only a fraction of the many applications for which room dividers can and have been used. As mentioned previously, we are truly only scratching the surface of what these products can be used for.
Now that you are familiar with some of the common uses of room dividers, let’s explore some of the different types of room dividers that you can buy.
Different Types of Room Dividers
There are two main types of room dividers that most people use, which are
- Curtains, and
- Foldable panels.
For the sake of the article, we will only be discussing curtains – this is because foldable panels will not help to block out sound, as they are only intended for blocking sight. They are not effective for soundproofing due to the nature of their construction. They do not usually cover the full height of the room, and they cannot be installed in the same way curtains can.
So, if you are looking to block sound with a room divider, you will need to purchase a curtain. These come in a variety of different sizes, prices, and materials, and some are much better at blocking out sound than others.
It’s worth mentioning that the price for room dividers will vary greatly, and you can spend either hundreds or thousands for a single curtain set. This all depends on where you’re getting it from, the size of the curtain, and the materials – it is very hard to even give a rough estimation of the cost-based only off the materials used for a curtain.
Let’s go over some of the most common materials used for curtain room dividers.
Polyester is likely the most used fabric when it comes to room divider curtains, and for good reason; it looks good, it isn’t too expensive, and it does have soundproofing properties (although not as much as others).
Like other fabrics, this material will not only reduce sound but also light. Depending on how thick the actual fabric is, curtains made from polyester will be well worth the money.
Cotton is another commonly used material used for room divider curtains. Similar to polyester, it is not too expensive (although slightly more so) and will have similar soundproofing and light-blocking properties.
It is not uncommon for curtains to be made with a layer of cotton and polyester – curtains made like this, with multiple layers, will be more soundproof than those with one layer.
There are some curtains made from insulated microfiber, which will usually be marketed as ‘thermal’ since the material is so thick. Curtains made from insulated microfiber will block out much of the sunlight and will help to insulate your home, as well as block out a lot of noise.
Since insulated microfiber curtains are so thick and effective, you can expect to pay more as compared to cotton and polyester curtains.
Now that we’ve gone over three of the most popular materials used for room dividers, let’s discuss which one is the best for soundproofing.
Best Room Dividers for Soundproofing
Of all three materials we’ve mentioned, room divider curtains made from insulated microfibre will have the best soundproofing capabilities.
This is thanks to the material being so insulating and thermal, which means these curtains will be thick and heavy enough to help dampen loud noises much better than polyester or cotton curtains can.
Once you’ve purchased your curtain(s), you may need to get them installed by a third party – let’s look at how much this might cost.
Installing Room Dividers
If you don’t have tools or the skills necessary to install hangers into a wall, then you may need the help of a general contractor or handymen. Luckily, it will likely not take them too much time to do this since it is a relatively easy job, although the hourly labor fees can be quite costly.
For a handyman or general contractor, the hourly rate will be anywhere from $15 per hour at the low end to over $100 per hour, although the average is around $60 to $65 an hour. This job of installing room dividers should take anywhere from one to three hours, on average.
If you are looking to block out some of the noise that reaches you in an open space or communal area, room divider curtains are a great way to do so without costing too much money. Although it will not be nearly as effective as other more invasive and expensive options, the benefit or room dividers is the ease of installation.
When it comes to room divider curtains, the best ones for soundproofing purposes are those made from insulated fiber. For these, you can expect to pay a couple hundred (at least) for the material costs, and anywhere from $15-$65 per hour to install, which can take 1-3 hours.