We know for sure that babies and toddlers sleep well in a quiet room. That is why if you are expecting a baby, it is important that the room that you have identified as a baby room or nursery be soundproof.
The process of soundproofing should ideally be complete before your baby is born. This will make sure that when your baby comes into the world, she or he gets peaceful sleep from day one without any disturbances.
Even if you are one who has missed out on this before your baby was born, don’t bother, now is a better time to start then never.
In this article, you will learn some of the inexpensive proven methods that will work well enough to soundproof a nursery or baby’s room.
How To Soundproof A Nursery Or Baby’s Room
Soundproofing a baby’s room or nursery should be executed from scratch. I have listed some processes that I recommend you follow in the following sequence:-
- Set up the room
- Soundproof the floors
- Bring in heavy furniture
- Soundproof the door
- Soundproof the windows
- Get a white noise machine.
Set up the room
Setting up the room is the first obvious thing you would do but I am not talking about the decorations that you will typically do for a nursery or baby’s room.
Apart from decorating the room with toys and pictures of infants, toddlers, animals and everything that you desire for your nursery or baby’s room, you will have to bring in certain stuff that will help in soundproofing.
Start with the Floors
It is a good idea to clear the baby room at the outset of all the furniture so that you can work on soundproofing the floors.
If you have the budget, go for a cork underlay (see the image below) as it is a very cost effective way of soundproofing the floor especially if the floors are made of wood.
If the baby’s room or nursery has a room above it which has wooden floors, then the floor of the upstairs room would also need soundproofing as the impact noise from footsteps will keep disturbing your baby.
Cork underlayment will not cost more than $4 per square foot. Check out my top recommendation for cork underlay. The only issue would be labor costs if the job is outsourced.
If the cork underlayment does not fit your budget, you can go for interlocking floor mats (get them fromAmazon) like the kind used in gyms and garages. These will soften the impact noises and will muffle sounds from the room below.
It is a good idea to place some heavy rugs and carpets over the interlocking floor tiles. Keep in mind floor mats will help in reducing impact noises due to footsteps and will assist only moderately in soundproofing. But, there will be less noise for sure.
For blocking outside noise, heavier the carpets you put into the room, the better it would be. This would also work out as a free solution as you can use the carpets that you already own. Read my article on soundproofing floors in which you can learn some other inexpensive methods that work.
Bring in Heavy Furniture
Having heavy objects inside the room has soundproofing benefits. But, I don’t recommend hanging blankets or mattresses on the wall.
If you want to make the baby room as quiet as possible, it is important that you have some heavy stuff which will act as a noise barrier.
For effective soundproofing, the requirement is mass on the walls and ceiling. This usually would involve structural changes in the room like adding drywall layers, decoupling methods, etc.
Unless you have the time or money to spare for making structural changes, you will need to find ways to create the effect of mass through other means.
One way to add mass in the room is bring in the heaviest furniture that you have in the house inside the nursery or baby’s room. This may mess around with the aesthetics but is a good alternative to making structural changes in the room as I had brought out earlier.
Apart from messing up the aesthetics, another downside is that you need to have some amount of space the room. If shortage of space is an issue, identify the kind of furniture in your house which is long but not too broad. This way you can economize on the space inside the baby room.
One example of such furniture might be a book rack which is not to wide, can be made heavy with books and placed against the wall.
Additionally, whatever seating you have inside the nursery or baby’s room, make sure it is the heaviest that you have inside the house as this can really help with the soundproofing part.
Do Something About the Door
Most of the doors in our homes are of the hollow core type. These doors are very light and are fairly insufficient to block noise. And unfortunately, you can’t afford to ignore the door if you want to block noise because the door is one big weak link.
If you get it right, soundproofing the door will give rewards that will be more than satisfactory.
The best option would be to completely replace the hollow core door with a solid core door. Keep in mind this would raise expenses considerably. Solid core doors are heavy and have considerable mass which is good for soundproofing.
As I mentioned earlier, solid core doors are a little on the expensive side. But, just a solid core door is not enough. The door jamb area is also a cause of concern as it creates flanking paths for sound to gaps to leak.
Another issue is the door frame itself. As the door frames are shimmed in place, air gaps are created which again cause leakages of sound. And lastly, is the gap under the door. There are some dedicated proof doors which take care of all these issues but they are too expensive.
Whether you go for a solid core door or not, you SHOULD take care of airborne sound leakages caused due to in the door frames, door edges, the jamb, and the underneath of the door. The solutions to all these issues are given in my article on soundproofing doors which I highly suggest you read.
About the Window
The other weak link is the windows and these are generally the most difficult to soundproof. The windows of the room are the biggest culprits for noise leakages. If you hear a lot of traffic and other noises in the room, the most probable cause is the window and you should pay special attention to it.
There are two main problems with windows. First of all they are very thinly constructed and secondly they have glass which rattles whenever sound vibrations increase beyond a certain level.
Soundproofing a window is actually more complex as compared to anything else in the room primarily because the inexpensive solutions not very practical.
Take the window plug solution as an example. There is little doubt about its capabilities in soundproofing a window but you will have to keep removing it often to let sunlight inside. This can be a real pain. You can’t afford to have the plug permanently fixed because it’s healthy to subject the room to some amount of sunlight every day.
If you want to soundproof the window without having to plug it, there are more expensive solutions such as double glazed windows and external storm windows. If you can afford it, these are the recommended ways to soundproof a window of a nursery or baby’s room.
Read my article on soundproofing windows in which I describe in detail, the various ways you can soundproof a window.
Whichever solution you go for or even if you do not go for one, the least you have to do is seal all the gaps and cracks in and around the window. Most windows will have these which are not easily visible.
Fill the gaps and the cracks with acoustic caulk and use weather stripping. These methods will at least take care of the airborne noises and this is really important.
An Inexpensive Way To Soundproof Doors And Windows
If you don’t have the time or money to spare for solid core doors or double glazed windows, there is an inexpensive way by which you can deaden the sound entering the room.
Soundproof curtains or heavy drapes are fairly inexpensive and can muffle noise to a large extent.
Soundproof curtains will not be nearly as effective as solid core doors and double glazed windows but will definitely make a satisfactory difference. Only make sure that the curtains are really heavy because it will be the mass of the curtains that will assist in sound blocking.
Read my buying guide on soundproof curtains that will help you make an informed decision.
Is White Noise Good For Babies?
White noise machines have become very popular and many parents have found success with it. A study carried out by NCBI found that babies slept well with white noise. The advantage of white noise is that babies tend to sleep better as white noise drowns a lot of outside noise. The disadvantage is that it gets too loud and may have a harmful impact on the ears but there are no concrete studies to prove this theory.
My recommendation is to soundproof the nursery or baby’s room inexpensively through the methods as brought out in this article and use a white noise machine at moderate volumes.
My final recommendation is to get a baby monitor so that if you go overboard with the soundproofing, you can monitor when your baby wakes up.
The room for your baby should be chosen wisely. It should be the quietest in the house which will make your job easier.
Don’t skip on the soundproofing part and do not rely completely on a white noise machine. Between the two, you know that the former is preferred. Notwithstanding, a white noise machine at around 65-70 decibels is not considered harmful.
In the end, try to reduce the sources of outside noise that affect the baby room. You can sensitize the neighbors to keep their music volume down and kids in the house to be quiet, etc.
If you don’t take measures to keep quieten the baby room or nursery, your baby will have trouble sleeping and you as a parent will also suffer from sleepless nights.
So, go ahead and soundproof the room for your baby. If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it.