I have a niche as a wardrobe in my bedroom. The niche is built upon the stairs and has a wooden grille on the wall facing their side (think of it as a window-shutter, I guess it was made to give the clothes new air).

I don't live alone and I can clearly hear anyone in the hallway or in the stairs as they were in my room (and the other way around). I share the room with my girlfriend in the weekends, so I'd like to have some privacy; right now it's kind of not having a door. :)

How can I soundproof my room?

Some additional info:

  • the grille has no moving parts and it isn't linked with any duct, I can surely tell because I can see its back from the stairs;
  • there is no forced air system for heating or cooling the house;
  • the grille dimensions are roughly 85x70 cm (width x height), the room is about 9 square meters;
  • a 3 cm thick panel could easily fit over the offset between the grille and the wall the grille is placed upon;
  • I don't use any speakers in my bedroom except for a small tv (volume is never loud);
  • I don't own the house, so I'm not allowed to make any extreme (= hardly reversible) change.

EDIT: Here are two pictures of the grille, the first one from within the niche in my room, the second one from the stairs my room is next to.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • By "grid" do you mean a vent? A picture would help quite a bit, especially if you can also get one after you take the vent off (it should either unscrew or just pull out). It might also be used for circulation in the room. Is the house heated/cooled using forced air? Do you have a separate air return in the room, or just a single supply vent?
    – gregmac
    Oct 11, 2013 at 14:33
  • I suspect gregmac is right and this is for return air if you don't have a return duct in the room. By having this, air can flow into the hallway and to a return in the common area. Without that, you would have to leave your door open for the HVAC to work efficiently.
    – BMitch
    Oct 11, 2013 at 14:40
  • No, I wouldn't call it a vent because it's not linked to any duct nor it has moving parts. I can surely tell it because I can see its back from the stairs (the house is heated by radiators anyway). It's a sort of shutter indeed, I'm sorry but English is not my first language! I'm going to edit my post right now, and will post some photos as soon as I can free some space and take it off the wall.
    – fabio
    Oct 11, 2013 at 15:27
  • @fabio Do you have any ducts in the house for AC?
    – BMitch
    Oct 11, 2013 at 15:58
  • @BMitch none. As for the vents and the fans, I just have one near the gas heater boiler, one in the kitchen and one for each floor, opposite the hallways; they all communicate with the outside.
    – fabio
    Oct 11, 2013 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


Soundproofing and ventilation are not compatible. The louvers could be blocked/unblocked at will with a rectangular piece foam rubber that is several inches (10cm or so), for example from an old sofa cushion.

Insert it when you want privacy is desired. Take it down, or pull it back otherwise. You may find that you don't notice any difference in air quality inside the room, and end up leaving it in place all the time. Or you may find that the louvers allow heat into the room in the winter.

Cut it to size + a couple centimeters. If cut too big, it may bow away from the louvers. If too small, it may not have enough friction against the walls to keep it in place.

enter image description here

Larger cities have stores dedicated to selling foam rubber or different dimensions and densities.

Thick foam rubber is also available from repair shops that re-upholster furniture.

Looks like people are selling foam rubber on ebay:


Per @longneck's comment, foam rubber can be purchased at craft and sewing stores.

A sufficiently thick pick can be built by laminating together thinner pieces, say 3 or 4 layers of 1", using double stick tape for example.

  • You can also get that kind of foam at craft and sewing stores.
    – longneck
    Oct 11, 2013 at 19:39

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