It feels like just yesterday you signed the lease on your charming new apartment. You love the layout, the gleaming hardwood floors and the built-in closets. But as the days go on, you’re finding yourself constantly on edge and can’t quite figure out why. Then you realize; you’re not able to sleep or relax to your fullest potential with all the outside noise.
Don’t fret and resign yourself to wearing noise-cancelling headphones 24/7 just yet. Keep reading to learn three ways to soundproof your apartment without ripping down the walls and starting all over.
It sounds like your upstairs neighbor’s floors groan, squeak and clomp in all the wrong places every time they take a step (unless they are, in fact, stowing a Clydesdale in their two-bedroom). Your super social neighbors to the left seem to love hosting late-night singalongs with all their friends. Meanwhile, your neighbors on the right regularly leave their poor pooch home alone all evening to whine and bark. The cacophony is starting to wear on your last nerve! It’s time to fix that.
Fill the Space Under Your Doors
Are you sick of hearing every conversation that happens in the hallway? Does your neighbor’s TV noise blare from across the hall and straight through your entryway? Filling the gaps underneath your door is a simple way to block out irritating noise before it has a chance to enter your apartment.
The Spruce recommends adding door sweeps on the outside and inside edges of your entrance. In addition to helping block sound, these rubber panels keep out dust, bugs and drafty air. You can also add draft blockers to your interior doors (especially your bedroom door) to block noise traveling between rooms.
Add Furniture and Soft Surfaces
Your noise issue could be stemming from echoing sound waves bouncing around your near-empty apartment. Even if you’re a minimalist at heart, too much empty space and too many hard surfaces can create a perfect storm of noise reverberation.
Filling your home with furniture and soft surfaces can help absorb soundwaves. One interior designer recommends “placing large items such as armoires, bookshelves or dressers” against your walls to help deaden the sound. You can also add (or upgrade) other staples, such as a comfy couch, elegant sitting chairs, a leather ottoman and a vintage coat hanger. Adding more furniture will help your apartment feel cozier too, just be careful to avoid a cluttered look.
Besides styling these new arrivals (or welcome upgrades) just right, you should protect your possessions with a renter’s insurance policy. The last thing you want to do is splurge on your first “adult” furniture, only to be out its entire value after an accident like a fire or a burst water pipe. Adding sound-absorbing furniture is a good reminder to compare renters insurance quotes to ensure your protection level grows with the value of your current setup.
Hang Sound-Absorbing Textiles
A lot of your muffled neighbor noise leaks in through the walls, but it’s not like you can rip through the drywall and install new insulation. So, what can you do without losing your security deposit?
Consider hanging soft textiles, tapestries, scarves and drapes. This Old House suggests applying materials like cotton, felt and foam to your walls, ceilings and doors. If you don’t go so overboard that it looks like you’re living in a bunker, you’ll enjoy softened sounds from the outside and a burst of eye-catching texture on the inside.
Luckily, soundproofing and decorating your apartment can go hand in hand. With a few strategic additions, you’ll stop errant sound mostly dead in its tracks and enjoy peaceful downtime inside your own living space. These three ways to soundproof your apartment will help you silence noisy neighbors, improve the look of your living space and save your sanity.
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.