If you live in a busy city, have noisy neighbours or are on a bus line, you may benefit from noise-minimising window treatments. These help keep the noise outside and your home quieter. Exposure to long periods of noise can be irritating and may cause health problems such as elevated blood pressure and gastrointestinal issues. Window treatments can also help keep loud noises, like a young drummer practicing on her set or an action movie night with friends, inside your home.
Drapes, Blinds, Roman Shades and Standard Curtains
Almost any window covering, besides those made with the sheerest of fabrics, will help reduce the noise coming in from outside. The thicker the fabric, the more effective the window coverings will be in noise reduction. Hang two layers of curtains on double curtain rods: the one closest to the window being, for example, a sheer curtain or (for better noise reduction) a thermal liner; the one hanging in front of the first being decorative. Wood blinds and Roman shades help reduce noise better than plastic blinds, but any window covering will help.
Cellular shades, whose cells trap sound, are available in single, double- or triple-cell construction. Additional cell layers mean more cells to trap more sound. They also mean a darker room, since the shade is made with more fabric than its fewer-celled counterparts. The fabric comes in solid colours or in faux finishes, which make the shades look textured. The darker the colour, the darker the shades will make the room when drawn, especially the triple-celled variety. These are hung like standard shades and are available online and at major home improvement stores.
As their name implies, these curtains are designed to block light, block heat in the summer and cold in the winter, and absorb sound. The maker of Eclipse curtains, for example, claims on its website to "block up to 40 per cent more unwanted outside noise than ordinary curtains." Some blackout curtains are purely functional; some are decorative as well as functional. Consider using these high-tech curtains in areas of your home where quiet is a must, like a nursery or a media room where darkness is also desired. Blackout curtains are hung like any other window treatment and can be combined on a double curtain rod with a sheer curtain. This way, you can pull the sheer curtain for privacy and allow natural light to come through when you need it, reserving the darkness of the blackout curtain for nap time or movie-watching.