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Our Surprisingly Inexpensive Way to Soundproof a Bathroom

We had a little problem at our house, and maybe you can relate. Our bathroom that is right off the kitchen and dining area did little to muffle bathroom noise. How embarrassing! This bathroom is our main floor toilet. I was desperate for a solution that didn’t break the bank and could sufficiently soundproof a bathroom.

What in the world could fix this problem for us?

Exhaust Fan?

At first, we just made a point of asking everyone to be sure to switch on the exhaust fan. I even thought about coming up with some cute note to stick above the switches. Still a little embarrassing, but surely the remedy to soundproof a bathroom. I was even nostaligic for the crazy loud exhaust fan from our previous house whose decibel level had annoyed the heck out of me.

If this is the fix for you, this no-brainer soundproofing solution won’t cost you a cent. Unfortunately, our exhaust fan, or even how much it was used, was not the problem.

Insulation?

Were we going to have to insulate some walls? I envisioned tearing apart the wall shared with the dining room. I’m sure some insulation would do the trick. But this is the kind of project where one thing leads to another and the dollar signs start adding up.

Fluffy Textiles?

One way to soundproof a bathroom is add gray towels like the ones stacked here.

Some online searches suggested adding fluffy towels and rugs and curtains. Fabrics are great for absorbing sound, and may be a great option for you. My bathroom was already a tight squeeze, and there are only so many towels I can add before overwhelming the space. How fluffy can you make a shower curtain? There’s no way I was adding a toilet seat pad or wrapping the toilet tank. Curtains around my mirror? I don’t think so.

Adding cabinetry?

Another great online suggestion is adding cabinetry. Who doesn’t want more storage in their bathroom? Adding shelves and cabinets create more surfaces to absorb or deflect soundwaves. Great idea for soundproofing your large bathroom. But minus our bathtub, we have a total of 25 square feet. No room for more cabinetry.

Pinpointing the issue

So I had to stop and examine what was really the problem. Why were the bathroom noises excaping in the first place? Here’s what I discovered was working against me.

Tile floor. Of all the surfaces for a bathroom, tile is possibly the worst as far as sound reduction is concerned. That nice, hard flooring is easy to clean, but bounces and amplifies sound waves like no other.

The second problem was the space under our door. What I had been reading suggested that the bathroom sounds could escape through even the smallest spaces, and I have a one-inch gap under my door!

So now I could understand the issue and why the vent fan did little to soundproof a bathroom like mine. Here’s how I remedied my embarrassing situation.

Blocking My Door Gap

The solution for me was to purchase a sound-blocking rug pad and extend my bathroom rug underneath the door thus filling the door gap.

A skid-proof rug pad extended through an open doorway and folded back to show the rubber grip underneath texture.
Rug pad shown extending from the shower bath, past the toilet and vanity, and through the doorway.

This inexpensive, anti-skid, noise-reducing rug pad from Walmart was exactly what I needed. I purchased the 2×6′ size. The two foot width fit underneath the door and the mat was easy to cut to the required length. Win! Now to find a rug.

Critieria for Rugs

Since I was unable to part with my beloved bird shower curtain, my color choices for a rug were limited. It features earthy, neutral colors. Rather than have an entire bathroom in beige though, I was trying to shop for something that would match. And not overpower the room. And not just be a boring, solid color.

Beyond these complications, I also was challenged by the size I needed. In order to fit under the door, I couldn’t have anything much wider than 24 inches. And, of course, I needed something long enough to extend from the toilet through the doorway. If you’re using this rug and pad option for soundproofing a bathroom, you will have your own dimensions as criteria. I think running the rug under the door to block the gap works better with a small bathroom like ours.

A fluffy dark rug shown in front of a toilet.

In shopping for a rug, there was also the material to think of. A nice, full and plush pile is great for absorbing sound! But that often doesn’t fit underneath a door so well. You may find thay adding a high-pile rug and fluffy towels may supply the resulting soundproofing that you need. I, however, needed something to run underneath that large door gap and cover the resounding tile. So I had to think shorter pile.

In the end, after hours of online shopping, I found the best option was making do with what I already had – rag rugs. Now I didn’t have a long 2×5′ rug, but I utilized two shorter rugs by stitching them together. Because they’re rag rugs, a seam joining them together looked seamless! I used a large needle and embroidery floss to hand stitch them. Then I folded out rug edges away from the seam. I set the rug seam-side down, over my rug pad.

The edge of two rag rugs shown where they are joined together by sewing.
The edge of the rag rug over the rug pad.
A closed door with a folded rag rug filling the gap underneath the door.

I had enough gap that I could tuck the remaining rug over the end of the rug pad. Be sure that you have enough of a clearance that the door will open and shut easily without getting hung up on your new rug.

An Additional Soundproofing Option

Still need more soundproofing? I also love these acoustic panels that you can add as wall decor. Since my problem was my tile floor and the gap under the door, I don’t think these would have solved my problem. But if I was still struggling with bathroom noises, I think I would have purchased these.

Adapting the Design

Success! I’m not sure if it looks a little dorky to have the rug so visible when the bathroom door is shut, but I’m fine with it if it blocks sound! If you don’t like this look, it’s quite easy to trim the rug pad to your desired length. A rag rug will fold over the edge no matter your length. And I’ve found that this fold also eliminates any feet from catching the rug and lifting from the rug pad.

Does this sound like a solution to your small bathroom noise problem? I’d love to hear your thoughts and methods to soundproof a bathroom in the comments below. We can all learn from each other, am I right?

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Chris

    Penny, I have the exact same problem. Thank you for these great solutions.

    1. Penny Davidson

      Thanks for the comment, Chris! Hope one of these solutions will work for you as well.

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