A good home theater allows you to enjoy an optimal cinematic experience when watching your favorite HD movie, sports team, or streaming music. However, unwanted noise can really disrupt the experience!
So, how do you control the noise that travels from the outside through windows and doors for example? The simplest and most cost-effective way to soundproof a home theater room is by installing soundproof acoustical curtains.
Apart from using acoustic panels, these special soundproof curtains are the easiest and least expensive solution to reducing unwanted noises like reverberations and echoes as well as reduce interference from outside noise.
In this article, we will explore how these soundproof curtains work, how to use them and which ones work best at reducing unwanted noise in your home theater and soundproofing your home theater!
Will Soundproof Curtains Really Work For Your Home Theater?
So, if all you have do is buy a curtain and hang it up to soundproof a room, it’s no wonder many people ask the question, do they really work?
Here’s the answer:
The majority of soundproof curtains available on the market are effective when used for reducing internal noises in a room such as echoes, however, most of them are not very good for reducing noises entering a room from the outside environment.
Let’s explain that in more detail…
Most of them will work if you will be using them to reduce echo in a room. Almost all soundproof curtains are an excellent way to deaden or dampen (i.e. absorb) noise in your room and keep it from echoing.
However, apart from a few, most of them are less effective if you will be using them to completely block out all the noise from the outside environment.
Now, there are several soundproof curtains out there that can reduce noise entering your house from the outside, but to find them you need to be careful when searching.
For example, if you live in a very noisy area, maybe where there’s a lot of traffic with noisy taxis and sirens wailing and that kind of road noise, then soundproof curtains will not be as effective as a soundproof window.
Don’t get us wrong, a good soundproof curtain will certainly go a far way in reducing that outside noise, but it won’t be as effective as a soundproof window.
However, if you are seeking an inexpensive solution to lessening outside noise, then a soundproof curtain is an excellent choice.
Bottom line, unless you suffer from an extremely noisy environment, quality soundproof curtains will be a good solution for you.
If however, you live an extremely noisy area, you should remember that these curtains aren’t the only solution for completely blocking heavy outside noise.
To do that, you need to use other methods as well, such as soundproof windows, soundproof drywall or soundproof thermal blankets.
Benefits of Soundproof Acoustic & Sound Absorbing Curtains
Though soundproofing curtains aren’t the most effective way to soundproof your home theater, they can do a great job if you do it right.
Moreover, they offer a number of benefits over more professional methods of soundproofing.
Many of these benefits outweigh the drawbacks to the point where soundproofing curtains might be the best option for you. Here’s why:
1. Inexpensive: Most professional methods of soundproofing are very expensive and time-consuming.
2. Blackout Benefits: Most soundproof curtains are also blackout curtains. During summer, these curtains have a darkening effect by keeping the sunlight out which helps to keep the room cool and give that nice, calm and dim theater feel. They are certainly great for blocking out those bright spring and summer mornings when the sun rises early!
3. Enhanced Ambiance: They will enhance the look of your home theater as regular fancy curtains do.
4. Can Be Done In A Rental Home: You can install soundproof curtains in almost any home, including rentals because they don’t involve a lot of modifications. You cant make other invasive changes to a rental home.
All in all, when you consider the many benefits of soundproof curtains and compare them to other solutions, they are a worthy investment. After all, they are the cheapest and most aesthetically pleasing soundproofing solution!
How Do Soundproof Curtains Work?
Don’t worry, we aren’t going to get into anything complicated. It’s quite simple really.
So you probably know that sound travels as waves through the air, right?
You may also know that sound travels at different speeds through different materials. For example, sound travels faster through wood than it does through the air.
It travels faster through glass than it does through water or metal.
In the same way, that sound travels slower through certain materials, there are some materials that slow down sound so much that they essentially block sounds. Soundproof curtains are made of such materials.Additionally, hard surfaces such as tiles and metal keep sound traveling by reflecting sound while soft material such as carpets and curtains absorb sound, therefore stopping them in their tracks.
Soundproof curtains are made of these materials and therefore help to block sound entering your home as well as absorb excess sound from within your home.
Now outside noise normally enters your home through your windows and doors. Your soundproof curtains act as guards against noises entering from the outside world by absorbing some of that unwanted noise.
Yes, you can use soundproof curtains to soundproof your doors in a similar way that you would use them to soundproof your windows.
In addition, these curtains help to cancel excessive noises within your home itself, from your children shouting to things falling, etc.
How Do Soundproof Curtains Help Reduce Echoes?
Echoes can be a big problem in your home theater, especially if the room is small. Sound reverberation is not only annoying, but can distort the entire acoustic experience.
Let’s says you take your phone into a small room such a bathroom, if you play a song loudly enough, you will notice an annoying echo.
Go on, try it, you’ll see.
Now, let’s say you take that same phone into a walk-in closet and play that same song at the same volume, as long as there are clothes is in the closet, the echo will be far less, or none at all!
The experience will be much more pleasing because the room will be significantly quieter in terms of unnecessary noise.
Soundproof curtains work in a similar manner to the clothes in the closet. While they won’t eliminate all the noise entering the room from the outside environment, they make the unwanted echos and reverberations noise in a room die out very quickly which means that the sound experience in the room itself will be much more pleasing.
Choosing A High Quality Soundproof Curtain
Firstly, don’t be tricked into buying any old curtain just because it is marked “soundproof”. Many curtains are marketed as being “soundproof” but they really aren’t.
Many dishonest vendors use the term on curtains which are nothing more than standard curtains except for the fact that they are thick.
In fact, you can’t just purchase an expensive soundproof curtain just because it’s expensive and expects it to work well either.
It’s just a marketing gimmick in most cases. Just because a curtain is thick doesn’t mean it’s soundproof.
So, how do you know if a curtain is really soundproof? There are a few ways. You should consider the width, height, weight and materials used to make the curtain. All of these factors combined determine the sound reduction properties of the curtain.
You need to determine the best solution for your specific case and the best way to do so is to measure up! So get your tape out!
First, measure the window where you will hang your soundproof curtains. Use a tape measure to get the correct length, width and height of the area.
The important thing here is to make sure that you leave enough space for the curtain to fall.
1. Weight/Material: They will be heavy weighing at least 15 lbs or about 7kg! This is because they are made with heavy material such as faux suede, wool, twill, quilted fiberglass, velvet or rockwool. They may also be coated in vinyl. In general, the heavier the curtain, the better the sound blocking capability.
2. Tightly Woven: The curtain must be tightly woven and solid. Look for layered curtains because the extra lining makes them more effective at blocking out noise.
3. Height, Width and Seal: It must cover as much area around the window as possible so that it completely covers the window. This means it must be long enough to go from ceiling to floor and be wide enough to cover each window on either side. Also, the curtains should fold to completely seal the window at each side.
4. Length: As we just said, the curtains should be long enough to go from ceiling to floor. If you have traditional 8′ ceilings, then you need to purchase 96″ curtains and NOT the 84″ long curtains. Doing this will mean that your curtains will go from ceiling to floor.
5. Thickness: In order to provide a good enough barrier against noise, soundproof curtains should be at least 2 inches (i.e. about 5 cm) thick.
6. Style: Wide curtains with pleats will block more sound. The wider the curtain, the more gather it will have, so there will be tighter creases in the curtain. The creases will help to reflect sound waves and the pleats will thicken the curtain. This combination makes it more difficult for sound to travel through the curtain.
7. STC Rating: STC stands for sound transmission class and is a single-number rating that gives a fairly rough idea of how much sound a specific type of material is likely to stop. It is the most common sound reduction measurement in use today. In general, the higher the STC rating, then the more effective a material is at blocking sound.
As we have said before, soundproof curtains which will significantly reduce the level of noise entering your home theater can be found.
However, you must be very careful when searching. You must know what you are looking for or you will be disappointed when you make the purchase. we give some good examples of inexpensive soundproof curtains on the market below.
Best Soundproof Curtains
1. NICETOWN Blackout Curtains with Panels for Bedroom
Nicetown Blackout Curtains are not only soundproof curtains, but they are blackout curtains as their name suggests. They do a great job of blocking out excess noise from outside.
They are thermally insulated which means they not only block out sunlight, but they help keep the room warm during the winter and cool during the summer. This means they will help you save on those expensive electricity bills!
Design: These curtains are made of high-quality polyester fabric that is manufactured using triple weave technology.
Yet, the curtains are very elegant and rather soft which is surprising for blackout curtains. Moreover, they are available in several varieties, it’s easy to find one to fit the ambience of your home.
2. Beautyrest 11239042X095IV Chenille
Beautyrest darkening curtains are special blackout curtains which are rather subtle and elegant.
They are great for darkening rooms and therefore giving you a good night’s or even day’s sleep. Of course, they also help to block noise from the outside helping you to relax in the comfort of your home.
Design: These are made of 100% polyester textured chenille fabric and are quite elegant and of high quality.
Additional accessories such as rods (sold separately) may be added which make the curtains even more pleasing to the eyes. Moreover, they are can be easily washed and dried which means they are very durable.
3. Moondream Soundproof Curtains
The Moondream Soundproof Curtains are all about noise reduction. They are designed with three layers to improve noise reduction. Moondream claims that these curtains can achieve noise reduction of up to 7 decibels.
The curtains also do a great job of blocking out sunlight and keeping an even temperature within the room.
Design: These curtains are special because they are made of Moondream’s patented 3-in-1 layer technology. These layers combine 100% of polyester on the first layer, with 99.99% of polyester as well as 0.01% aluminium on the second layer and 100% genuine cotton as its third layer.
4. Best Home Fashion Thermally Insulated Blackout Curtains
If you have trouble sleeping, then these blackout curtains are ideal for you. The Best Home Fashion Thermally Insulated Blackout Curtains are high quality blackout curtains which create the ideal sleeping environment for your or your kids.
Not only that, but they will help to ease they effects of loud noises from outside as well as maintaining an even temperature within the room.
Design: These curtains are made of 100% polyester and are fully machine washable. Even though the fabric is insulated and thick, it is soft to the touch. These curtains are available in a variety of colors.
5. Eclipse Suede Energy-Efficient Curtains
If you are seeking curtains that block out a tremendous amount of light then, the Eclipse Suede Energy-Efficient Curtains is an excellent choice. These curtains are made of suede and look very classy, as if they could be placed on a theatre stage, yet they aren’t very expensive.
For maximum light blocking, you should double up on the number of panels for your window width.
Do not skimp on the length! By just following the directions, you should be able to achieve about 99% sunlight blocking with these curtains.
In fact, you should also achieve about three to five times the noise reduction over normal sound reduction curtains.
Acoustic Curtains For Garage Bands And Recording Artiste
Many musicians use their home theater as a makeshift studio for recordings because it’s supposed to be somewhat soundproof.
If you are a musician or recording artiste looking to start a small recording studio in your home, then you will face two problems if your home theater room is not soundproof:
1. Noisy neighbors. Yep, they will get especially noisy when you’re ready to record your music!
2. Annoying, crazy echoes from the bare walls.
In order to properly drown out noise from outside, you will need sound absorption sheets, sound blankets and soundproof windows.
However, you will also need good soundproof curtains to drown out the crazy echoes so you can clearly hear your instruments and hear yourself!
If you fail to do this, you will spend hours listening to endless echoes and will have to do rehearsal after rehearsal. It will quickly kill your enthusiasm for producing quality music. It will be crazy!
If for no other reason, you need to soundproof the home theater so that you won’t give your neighbors headaches. Surely, some consider your music to be nothing but noise. Remember, being neighborly goes both ways.
How To Get The Best Sound Reduction From Your Curtains
So now that you have purchased your new, shiny soundproof curtain, should you just go home and put it up and expect complete bliss? No, there are a few rules of thumb that you should follow to ensure maximum effectiveness:
Use Ceiling Brackets: Using ceiling brackets instead of the regular wall brackets to hang your curtain rod will, of course, bring your curtain closer to the ceiling; which will block more sound. This is why it’s important for soundproof curtains to be long and not short.
Use 4X Panels: Most people will purchase two panels for each window. However, to achieve maximum effectiveness, you should use four panels at each window. Using four panels for each window increases the density and therefore blocks more sound.
Position: Who would’ve thought that the position of the curtains also helps with noise reduction? Well, it does. Researchers have found that the ideal position to place your sound reduction curtains is about 15 to 20cm from the window or wall to allow them to absorb up to five times as much sound as a regular curtain.
Other Home Theater Soundproofing Methods
When most people think of soundproofing a room, they think of installing multiple layers of sound absorption sheets and sound blankets, and that’s for good reason.
While soundproof curtains offer a number of advantages, (they are easy to install, inexpensive and they look great), there are other methods you can go about soundproofing your home theater as well:
- Soundproofing your home theater windows
- Installing soundproof decoupling drywall
- Installing sound baffles
- Sound Absorbing Blankets: Sound absorption blankets are important for instances when you need full protection for an entire room, for example when you want to soundproof a garage for use as a recording studio.
Now, we’ll pull the curtains down on this article…
By now, it should be clear that quality soundproof curtains are important to dampen noise in your home theater. While they may not give as much soundproofing as other soundproofing options such as soundproofing windows and other more professional methods, they offer more than enough noise reduction quality for most people, allowing them to enjoy their home theater without too much unwanted noise.
Your choice of soundproof curtains will depend on many things, including the amount of noise experienced in your house. Use a decibel meter app to measure the decibel levels in your house. Check out one of our decibel level chats to get an idea of the level of danger of the noise in your house.
Bottom line, there are many ways you can soundproof your home, but none are perhaps as convenient and cost-effective as soundproof curtains.
It is our hope that you have found the best option for your home theater room and will enjoy your home theater even more. All the best!