One of the cons of living in Baltimore, renting an apartment in Los Angeles, or calling any other major city home, is the noise. From highways and construction sites to loud neighbors or boisterous roommates in another room, there’s no shortage of noise sources that can disrupt your daily life. What if there was a way to combat this? That’s where soundproofing comes into play. Knowing how to soundproof an apartment can greatly improve your rental experience. Although you can’t completely eliminate outside noise, there are steps you can take to diminish it Here are some creative tips for a soundproof apartment.
1. Locate weak spots in your apartment
Every apartment has areas prone to sound leakage. Any holes, cracks, or gaps will allow outside noise to enter your living space. Before taking steps to soundproof your apartment, you must first identify the key problem areas that let in unwanted noise. Doors and windows are typically the main culprits for sound leakage. This is especially true if your apartment faces a busy street or highway.
2. Utilize bookshelves and other heavy furniture
If the main source of outside noise in your apartment is the unit next to yours, you can mitigate the sound by strategically placing your furniture. Pushing large furniture against the walls of your apartment can have a soundproofing effect on your space. Bookshelves, in particular, are a handy tool to create a more soundproof apartment. Bookshelves act as a second wall that soundwaves must get through before entering your apartment. If the primary source of unwanted noise is the apartment next to you, placing a full bookshelf on the wall facing them can mitigate the amount of noise coming from their unit. Fill the shelves with heavy books to maximize the sound-muffling effect.
3. Incorporate carpets and rugs in your apartment
Unwanted noise can also come from inside your apartment. If you share a space with multiple roommates or have small children, the sound of constant footsteps can disrupt you as you try to study or work from home. This is especially true if your apartment has wood floors. You can combat this issue by incorporating rugs throughout your apartment, particularly in high-traffic areas. These will muffle the sound of footsteps in your apartment while also reducing any noise from the apartment below you, resulting in a more soundproof apartment. Some rugs are designed specifically for soundproofing and can maximize this effect.
4. Lay a foam mat on the ground to muffle sound
Rugs aren’t the only tool at your disposal when it comes to creating a soundproof apartment floor. These can make your floor a more comfortable place to sit or stand while muffling sounds from the apartment below.
5. Install soundproofing curtains or panels
Windows are usually prime suspects when it comes to outside noise leaking into your apartment. Installing soundproofing curtains or panels on your windows can go a long way in decreasing the amount of unwanted noise entering your apartment. While both options are effective in creating a more soundproof apartment, there are some drawbacks. Installing soundproofing panels often requires drilling holes in your wall, which may not sit well with your landlord. Curtains, while easier to install, are only effective when closed, which prevents natural light from entering your apartment.
6. Seal your apartment doors to prevent sound leakage
Depending on the location, apartment doors can be a significant source of unwanted noise. While a thin door can be partly to blame, most sound leaks are caused by gaps around and underneath the door. Tools such as door sweeps, draft stoppers, and weatherstripping can go a long way to prevent outside noise from entering your apartment. Weatherstripping, in particular, can also make your apartment more energy-efficient by trapping warm air during the winter months.
7. Get a white noise machine
White noise is sound that contains multiple frequencies with the same intensity and can be used to drown out other noises. Everyday appliances such as hair dryers and dishwashers can emit white noise, but it isn’t practical to have them running all day. Buying a white noise machine is an effective way to deal with unwanted noise. You can adjust the volume to a level that best suits your needs to cancel out any outside noise.
8. Use soundproof window inserts
Specially designed window inserts can insulate your windows and prevent outside noise from entering your apartment. These inserts are minimally invasive and don’t require permission from your landlord to install them. To maximize the effectiveness of your window inserts, make sure they fit your apartment window frames properly to eliminate any gaps.
9. Hang wall art to dampen sound
Many people hang art on their walls for aesthetic reasons, but they can also be functional if you’re looking to soundproof your apartment. More specifically, fabric artwork like tapestries can be an effective soundproofing tool because soft surfaces absorb sound. You can also hang soundproofing blankets on your walls and cover them with stylish quilts or rugs that match the aesthetic of your apartment.
10. Install acoustic wall panels
Acoustic panels are fabric-covered boards that you can hang on the walls of your apartment to reduce noise and echoes. They are commonly used in theaters and home studios but can work in any space. They might not be the most aesthetically pleasing option when it comes to creating a soundproof apartment, but if you live in Chicago or another large city in an area that’s prone to loud noises, these panels may be worth it.