Apartment living can be a noisy experience — in some apartments you can hear every time your neighbors walk across their floor, watch tv, or fight with their spouse— and it can make it nearly impossible to sleep or relax. If you live in one of these noise-centric locations, it might be time to consider soundproofing.
Contrary to popular belief, you can soundproof your home whether you own or rent, without breaking the bank or making your home look like a recording studio. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you easily soundproof your apartment while keeping your home’s décor style intact.
1. Mind Your Mounting
Soundproofing will require that you attach panels, rugs, or sheets of fabrics to your walls and ceiling. The first thing you need to do is talk to your landlord —how does he or she feel about you drilling holes or screwing hooks into the walls? If you can’t drill holes, don’t worry —all is not lost. You can use magnets, adhesives, Velcro, or even Command strips, depending on how heavy your soundproofing material is.
Most apartment complexes allow you to drill holes to hang up décor. Soundproof panels are very similar to a typical canvas wall hanging. Keep in mind some landlords require the renter to fill in the holes before moving out.
2. Measure Twice Cut Once
How much soundproofing do you need? Are you trying to muffle all the sound coming from your neighbors to the right or left? Or is the problem the people upstairs? First figure out where the noise is coming from you. You may find it’s only one of your neighbors.
To fully soundproof an apartment and eliminate as much outside noise as possible, you’ll need to measure the square footage of your space, as well as the height and width of your walls.
3. Acoustic Wall Panels
Wall panels can be a great way to accent your apartment and polish your décor, but they also work well to soundproof your space. Acoustic wall panels can get pricey, but they come in a variety of patterns and can be painted or drawn on to match your already established color scheme.
Instead of looking like studio soundproofing, ADAPT™ acoustical treatments look like wall art that just happens to dampen the sound coming from your noisy neighbors. For those who need a budget-friendly option, try to find a standard fabric wrapped acoustic panel or foam online. Then you can add your own design or just order it in the colors that would match the room it will be placed.
Soundproof panels are typically the easiest and most attractive way to soundproof your apartment but there are other DIY options as well.
4. Egg Crate Foam
Egg crate foam is cheap, easy to get in large amounts, and an effective lightweight soundproofing if you don’t have a huge budget to buy soundproofing panels. Simply line your walls with the foam to cut down on the incoming sound. Now, I know that egg crate doesn’t look the greatest — this is where rugs or tapestries come in. Drape attractive fabric, rugs, or tapestries over the foam. Not only does this give your apartment a homey and cozy feel, but it adds an extra layer of soundproofing so you don’t have to hear your neighbors.
5. Dampen Noise With Rugs
While most of the noise you hear is probably coming from the walls of the apartments around you or your ceiling from the apartment above you, a good portion of the noise could be coming from below your feet. Adding thick padded rugs can help to eliminate the sound you hear from the apartments below while making it harder for your downstairs neighbors to hear you.
6. Become A Bookworm
This might sound kind of silly, but hear us out. Books are bulky and make fantastic sound insulation. If you’ve got a particular neighbor who makes a lot of noise, try covering that wall with bookshelves or moving your book collection to that side of the apartment. The bulk of the books and the shelves themselves will help cut down on the noise. You can even beef up the bookshelf’s sound blocking capabilities by sliding a thick piece of foam between the wall and the bookshelf.
5. Ceiling Problems
No matter how new or old your apartment is, ceilings always tend to be thin enough that you can hear your upstairs neighbors padding around at all hours. Luckily, there is hope — attach the fabric wrapped acoustic panels or foam that we mentioned earlier and line your ceiling with it. In most cases, you should be able to use Velcro or similar mounting to attach it to the ceiling. To make the panels look less noticeable, order a color or fabric that matches the ceiling.
Apartment living is noisy —it’s inevitable when you get so many people in such close proximity— but that doesn’t mean you have to listen to every bit of noise that your neighbors make. Soundproofing is possible even if you rent your home —just make sure that whatever you put up can be easily pulled down when it comes time to move, and you can enjoy your blessed silence.
By: James White at his blog Homey Improvements