How to Soundproof an Apartment: 8 Useful Tips
Many people will live in an apartment at some point in their lives. Apartments are convenient, and they can even be cozy. But one of the biggest problems with apartments is that they are often noisy. Apartments can be situated on major roadways. Units often have shared walls with adjoining apartments on three sides (right, left, above, below, or behind), which can add neighbor noise to your personal space. Apartments are also usually smaller than homes, so things like televisions, appliances, and people will make more noise than in a larger space.
There are ways to help apartments feel quieter. There are various strategies, items, and tricks that you can utilize to help cut down on noise pollution in your apartment. Here are eight tips and tricks to help soundproof your apartment today.
How to Soundproof an Apartment
1. Focus on Where the Noise Is Coming From
The first thing you need to do is focus on where the noise is coming from. Rather than adding soundproofing elements willy-nilly, you should take a focused approach. Locate the areas where noise is the worst. The most common culprits are shared walls, front doors, and street-facing windows. Adding soundproofing items to these particular areas will add much more benefit than simply adding them randomly.
To find your noisiest areas, turn off all of your electronics and other noise making items and stand in your apartment during peak noise times. Spend a few minutes in each room and pay attention to where the sounds are coming from. Are they coming from above you? Are they coming from heavy traffic? Are they coming from the outdoor hallway? This information will help you figure out what areas to target and will help you choose a soundproofing strategy that will work best for your particular apartment.
2. Install Bookshelves and Fill Them
Bookshelves are often recommended as a sound dampener in apartments. Bookshelves are a great option for multiple reasons. First, they are nonpermanent additions to an apartment that can easily move with you to your next location. Second, the heavy shelving and books greatly reduce sound transmission. Putting a couple of bookshelves in your bedroom or living room can help keep the noise to a minimum. Lastly, they look good. Bookshelves never look out of place. Other things like rugs, curtains, or sound panels can really throw off the look and feel of a space. You won’t have that problem with a bookshelf.
For the best results, you should get a large bookshelf that is as tall as yourself or taller. Then put the bookshelf against a wall where you have noise coming through from an adjacent unit. Load the bookshelves with numerous heavy books, and you will have an effective and aesthetically pleasing barrier.
3. Add Carpets or Rugs
Carpets, rugs, and mats are all very effective tools to cut down on noise. When you have a hard floor, the sound is able to bounce and travel farther than if you have a soft floor. Rugs add a softness that helps to trap sound and prevent noise from traveling as far. That means that rooms with carpeting or rugs are generally quieter than rooms with hard tile or wood floors. The rugs do not have to be super large to give you a big benefit. A simple runner will work and add an improvement to a bare floor.
If you find that certain areas of your apartment are noisier than others, adding a strategically placed rug or heavy mat can work to greatly reduce the transfer of sound.
4. Buy Soundproofing Curtains
Soundproofing curtains are a great way to help block noise coming through a window. These curtains are designed with heavy materials that help block noise before it can enter through your windows. Not any curtains will do. Be sure to check and make sure you are purchasing special soundproofing curtains.
If you have a window that faces a busy road, parking lot or common area, noise blocking curtains can be a great way to keep outside noise at bay. Before investing in soundproofing curtains, check and see if your windows are a significant source of noise. If they are, curtains are a great option for any apartment.
5. Install Soundproofing Panels
Soundproofing panels are one of the most effective ways to cut down on unwanted sounds in an apartment. Soundproofing panels are used by everyone from PC streamers to musicians and restaurants to help cut down on ambient noise. These panels use specially designed materials and engineering to coral and trap noise. They will not let sound travel as freely as a bare wall. Soundproofing panels can also help cut down on any noise that you might be making from traveling through the walls and affecting your nearby neighbors.
Soundproofing panels are more robust and more expensive than soundproofing curtains, but they provide a similar result.
6. Add Ambient White Noise
It might sound counterintuitive to add more noise to a noisy apartment but utilizing white noise can help cut down on unwanted noise. There are numerous ways to add white noise to a space that will help combat unwanted noise. You can buy a noise machine that plays more pleasant sounds like ocean waves or wind that will help drown out street noise. You can also get an FM radio or Bluetooth speaker to play some music or talk radio to add noise that you actually want to hear. Even keeping the TV on in the background can help add better noise. The closer you are to the white noise, the more likely it is to work to counteract noise coming in from outside.
White noise is a good solution for someone that doesn’t want to alter their apartment too much. Not everyone has the money, time, or willpower to install curtains, panels, or even rugs in an apartment that they might not be in for a long time. White noise is a simple and nonpermanent way to help make an apartment less noisy.
7. Seal Your Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are some of the most common sources of noise in an apartment. Windows and doors let in more noise than solid walls do. If you have a door that faces a particularly busy hallway or a window that faces a packed parking lot or busy road, sealing them could help drastically cut down on unwanted noise.
Look for gaps around doors and windows. If you can see light coming through, you can bet that noise is coming through. Get caulking or weatherstripping and plug the gaps around your windows and doors. Sealing these gaps can help prevent additional noise from entering your apartment.
8. Make a Connection with Your Neighbors
If you have a consistent problem with noisy neighbors, the best course of action is to make a connection with them. People get defensive and standoffish if you get a landlord or police involved in a noise dispute. The best way to get your neighbors to respect your concerns is to build a relationship with them. If you know your neighbors and are on friendly terms, they are more likely to respect your wishes. Talk to them about your concerns. Be friendly. Be polite. Do not come at them with anger or irritation. As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
Use a Combination
For the best results, you should use multiple methods in conjunction with one another. If you seal your front door and add a thick rug near the entryway, you will get much better results than if you just did one or the other. Similarly, if you add curtains, rugs, blankets, and shelves at the same time, the sound-dampening effects will be much greater than if you just did one of these things by themselves. Do not just pick one of these ideas. Choose a few that will work best for you and your situation for the best results.
Apartments are often noisy, but they don’t have to be. Choose one of these great options from our menu and start strategizing about how to get rid of the noise. Whether you want to spend some money on rugs, curtains, and panels or just want to add some ambient sounds and politely ask your neighbor to turn down their TV after dark, there is an option here that will help any apartment owner get more peace and quiet at home.
Featured Image Credit: Skitterphoto, Pixabay