How to Soundproof Your Apartment for More Peace

Evelyn Long

Apr 11, 2023

Bed with plush headbord.

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When you live in an apartment, you might sacrifice silence for convenience. However, there are ways to enjoy more peaceful moments in your home without loud sounds interrupting. You can soundproof your apartment for more quiet time. 

Common Sound Disturbances in Apartment Life

The noises you hear in your apartment can come from various sources. 

  • Neighbors – Depending on your apartment’s location in the building, you might have people living on either side, above and below you. Everyone has to maneuver around their homes, and some might have loud conversations, music or pets. 
  • Traffic – Apartment buildings are often in urban areas, making it easy to hear horns, sirens and loud motors. 
  • Pipes – If you hear clanking or rumbling, it might not be your neighbors. The ductwork in older apartments can make a good bit of noise. 
  • Maintenance – Even if your apartment is completely functional, chances are you’ll hear when one nearby isn’t. Maintenance work in other apartments can get loud.

How to Soundproof Your Apartment

You have many options for soundproofing an apartment.

Decorate with Area Rugs 

Most landlords won’t let you install carpeting if it’s not already there. However, area rugs serve as an excellent replacement.

Natural fibers work great for soundproofing, thanks to their texture. Wool is especially adept at muffling noises, especially at medium and high frequencies, so rugs in this material will give you more peace in your apartment. Although, any plush carpet will help soundproof your apartment. The more rugs you have, the more effective they will be. 

You can layer carpets on the floor or place them on walls to insulate and thicken them. The right colors and designs can make your rugs attractive art pieces. 

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Temporary Weatherstripping

Removable weatherstripping is a great way to fill the gaps in windows and doors, helping to block excess air from entering your apartment and any sound waves accompanying it. 

You can place the strips on your door and window frames to create a secure seal and safely remove them when you move out. Another option is using draft blockers, which you can use around the same areas. 

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Acoustic Wall Paneling

For a more professional approach, mount foam or fabric acoustic panels to your walls and ceilings to trap noise. You can make or purchase them yourself. Go for thicker options since they absorb more noise. 

You only need a few items to build your own panels: wood planks, fabric and insulation. 

To make them, you need to adhere your wood planks together in the shape of a frame. Depending on the size, you could use wood glue or a drill and bits. Once your frame is secure, use a staple gun to adhere a few layers of fabric to one side. 

Turn the frame over and fill it with an insulating material like foam. Cover the insulation with fabric and secure it as you did with the back of the panel. You can then hang it in your apartment. 

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Window Treatments

The right window treatments can make a significant difference in the outside sound levels your apartment receives. Thick, plush curtains are an excellent way to absorb sound waves before they disturb you. If your apartment has blinds or shutters, consider installing a temporary curtain rod and having the drapes in front of them. 

Drapes are more effective than blinds because they are solid pieces of fabric. Blinds and shutters leave gaps, even when closed. While curtains often come in two panels, you can layer them to keep a strong barrier between you and the glass. 

If your noise issues typically occur at night, blackout curtains can be an excellent way to block both noise and light. They’re typically made of thicker material with a lining, making them effective for soundproofing. 

Velvet, satin and polyester curtains are popular choices for cutting noise with window treatments. There are also some soundproofing-specific options on the market. 

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Rearrange Your Furniture

Even with strict rules and regulations for what you can do with your apartment, one thing you have control over is the furniture you use and how you place it. 

The thicker a wall is, the less sound passes through it. Many apartments create more space and save money by using thinner walls, making it easy to hear your neighbors and the outside world. 

You can place tall furniture, like bookshelves and dressers, against the walls to create a thicker barrier between you and unwelcome noise. Ensure your pieces are secure against the wall to keep everyone safe. Don’t stack them unless they’re made for that purpose. 

Chairs and couches with plush cushions can also help. Placing them against outside walls will absorb some outside sounds. 

Do You Contribute to Building Noise?

It’s unreasonable to live in an apartment building and expect total silence. People have a right to live normally in their homes. However, sometimes people don’t realize how loud their activities are and that they’re disturbing the people around them. Soundproofing your apartment keeps noise out, but it also keeps your sounds from disturbing others. 

Here are some ways to ensure your neighbors can’t hear your activities. 

Do the Wall Test

An easy way to determine whether your neighbors can hear your television, speakers or other noise-making items is to have them at your typical volume. Then, travel to each connecting wall and see if you can still clearly hear it. If you can, your neighbors likely will as well. 

Don’t Wear Shoes Inside 

If you have loud floors, you might be concerned about whether or not your downstairs neighbors can hear your every move. You can reduce your walking noise by not wearing your shoes around the apartment or wearing plush slippers. 

Choose Daytime Activities

Some tasks, like vacuuming or doing laundry, will make noise. Doing these during the day reduces your risk of disturbing others, as most people are already awake and occupied with their activities.  

Soundproof Your Apartment 

Apartment life can get noisy, but there are ways to enjoy all the convenience it offers without getting disturbed by loud sounds. 

Soundproofing your apartment will bring some much-needed peace, making it a happier home for everyone.

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