A balcony can be an incredibly relaxing space. After all, who doesn’t love to unwind with a good book and glass of wine while soaking up some fresh air?
If you live in a city or crowded urban setting, however, a balcony can also be a really noisy space full of honking cars and bustling street traffic.
Balcony noise isn’t just limited to the outdoors, either. It can also affect your indoor environment and prevent you from leaving your doors or windows open.
So, what can you do about the noise?
Unless you plan on either moving or fully enclosing your balcony and turning it into an indoor balcony (which is rarely allowed), you won’t be able to completely eliminate noise coming through. The good news, however, is that there are many ways you can easily reduce the amount of sound that comes through.
Why are balconies noisy?
Location is one of the biggest sources of balcony noise. Balconies can be near high traffic areas, overpasses or highways that bring a lot of noise with them. In dense city areas, buildings are also close together and provide ample opportunity for noise to travel back and forth.
Balcony composition can then amplify the unwanted noise coming from a balcony’s location. Sound bounces off flat, hard and uniform surfaces, all of which can be found within balcony flooring, walls and ceilings.
6 Ways to Reduce Balcony Noise
When dealing with balcony noise, the best approach is to design your space so that you have elements that absorb, dampen or deflect noise from your balcony space. Here are 6 different ways to achieve this.
1. Get a floor rug
Balcony floors are typically made of concrete, metal or wood and provide the perfect surface for sound to reflect and bounce off balcony walls or ceiling. Adding a rug to your balcony floor will interrupt this reflection and will absorb the noise instead, creating a much more pleasant environment.
A general rule of thumb when selecting a balcony floor rug to combat noise is the thicker, the better, but make sure that it’s also an outdoor rug that will hold up well to the elements.
2. Install outdoor noise barriers
Another approach to combating balcony noise is to divert sound away from your space in the first place.
The best way to do this would be by putting up a wall, but since that wouldn’t be allowed in most apartment balconies, other noise barriers like thick fencing or privacy screens can help reduce the amount of noise filtering through to your balcony area. Some ideas include:
- Bamboo or reed fencing (if going with reed, you will want to double up on the amount of fencing)
- Canvas privacy screens (the thicker the fabric, the better)
- Metal privacy screens covered with real or faux greenery
With any of these options, height will make a huge difference with deflecting the sound away and upwards. Don’t be afraid to go above the height of your balcony railing for maximum impact. You’ll also notice the biggest difference in noise coming through when you’re seated and the fencing is high above you.
3. Add outdoor noise reduction curtains
Curtains help absorb sound from coming into your balcony space and are a unique solution because they’re one of the few ways to provide complete floor to ceiling coverage.
Outdoor, weatherproof and soundproof curtains do exist, but there are a few drawbacks to implementing this option. For one, curtains are only really effective when closed completely, so they might not work best if you have a great view that you’d like to maintain from both the inside and outside. Soundproof curtains also tend to be opaque and won’t let much light filter through.
4. Introduce noise reduction plants
If greenery is your thing, some plants are pretty good at blocking noise. They won’t be as effective as other options on this list, but they can still make an impact.
Unsurprisingly, you will want to stick with thick, dense plants that will be able to absorb noise. If you have the space, dense hedges will work particularly well, but there are other plants to consider such as holly trees and shrubs.
5. Fill your wall space
Balcony walls – particularly ones made of concrete or wood – allow noise to bounce off their surfaces and reverberate around the area. You can combat this by adding a number of décor items to your balcony wall that will absorb sound instead. Consider creating a flower wall or even installing an artificial grass wall.
6. Bring in sounds you like
Sometimes, diversion is the best tactic. Consider adding a water feature or bringing in speakers that create or play sounds that you actually like. It’s probably not best to use this tactic only as you’ll want to combine this option with one of the other recommendations to reduce noise in the first place.
There’s no way to fully soundproof your balcony, but this article should give you some ideas and techniques for how you can reduce the amount of noise that comes through and make your outdoor space more enjoyable!