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The disadvantage of living in an apartment is the noise. You try not to disturb your neighbors, but you have to deal with the noise they make. While common noise-reduction techniques include adding more insulation to the walls or replacing doors and windows, you probably won't be able to do these things if you rent a flat. Fortunately, there are a variety of small tricks you can employ to muffle your soundproof and keep your neighbors’ noise from bothering you.
1: Use area rugs or carpet tiles to cover hardwood floors. Hardwood floors are a massive sound amplifier, especially if you live below. Put some area rugs around the apartment to absorb some of the noise you make. To muffle your footsteps, focus on areas where you walk a lot.
Put pads under the carpeting if your floors are extremely noisy.
Rugs on the floor serve a dual purpose in that they can muffle sounds from your downstairs neighbors.
When walking around your apartment, please remove your shoes as a courtesy. Shoes on hardwood floors make a lot of noise, especially if you live above someone.
2: Use soft materials to hang on the walls. Flat, hard walls amplify sounds that enter and exit your apartment. Soft items on the walls can help to break up the sound waves. Canvas paintings, foam designs, and decorative fabrics are all good options. Focus on hanging these items on shared walls to avoid disturbing your neighbors.
This trick, like carpeting, works both ways and prevents outside noise from entering.
Picture frames and other hard items will also help, but not as much as softer items.
If you don't have anything suitable, you could also hang blankets or sheets against the wall for a similar, albeit less decorative, effect.
3: Direct speakers away from common walls or the floor. TVs and surround-sound speakers generate a lot of vibrations that may annoy your neighbors. If you live above someone, angle them so they don't face shared walls or the floor. To keep the sound from spreading, keep them focused on where you'll be sitting.
If your speakers are designed to point down and you are unable to adjust them, place them on a rug or mat. This distorts their sound.
If the speakers aren't adjustable, you could rearrange your apartment. Move the TV, for example, from a shared wall to a wall that faces the outside.
4: To reduce hum, unplug your electronics when not in use. An ambient hum can be produced when multiple electronics are operating in the same space. Unplug all of your devices that aren't in use to reduce noise. Unplug your computer's charger, for example, when you're finished with it.
You may not notice a hum from your devices, but it may vibrate the walls of your neighbors and disturb them. You might even subconsciously turn up the volume on the TV or speak louder to drown out the hum.
5: If you have a laundry room, add acoustic paneling to the walls. Laundry will make a lot of noise if you have a washer and dryer in your apartment. Hang acoustic panels in your laundry room to soundproof it. For the best results, cover all of the walls.
Acoustic panels can be purchased online or in hardware stores.
Acoustic panels are typically attached with sawtooth hangers, which necessitate the drilling of a few small holes. Landlords typically permit this but check with yours to be sure.
If acoustic panels are unavailable, foam sections will suffice. Look for ridged pieces and place them in the center of the room to absorb sound.
Noise Reduction from Neighbors
1: Position furniture against common walls. If your neighbors are loud, you can use furniture to muffle their noise. Arrange your living space so that heavy furniture is against the shared wall. This will reduce the amount of noise that enters your apartment.
A sturdy bookcase is one of the best options. If you can afford it, you can have a bookcase that spans the entire length of the wall. A few smaller ones will suffice.
You could also put your cabinet or dresser against the common wall. These sturdy pieces of furniture can also be used to muffle the sound.
2: Plants can be used to muffle the sound by being placed along walls. Plants are a low-cost alternative to blocking out your neighbor's noise if you don't have enough furniture. For the best effect, use leafy plants such as anthurium, peace lily, or snake plants. Set them up along shared walls to muffle incoming noises.
Plants on your windowsills can also help to muffle outside noise.
Plants will also block your sound, preventing you from bothering your neighbors.
3: Use heavy window drapes to block out noise from outside. There is a lot of noise coming in through your windows. Heavy drapes that can muffle incoming sounds are the best way to block this out. Hang these on all of your windows and close them at night to keep noise from waking you up.
There are many noise-canceling drapes on the market, so you'll have plenty of options. Look for a product that complements your décor and has a good reputation for noise reduction.
4: If the outside noise is unbearable, install window inserts. Thick window inserts can help block out outdoor noise if drapes aren't enough. There are various kinds. Some are simply rubber inserts that fit between the window and the windowsill, while others are full, clear sheets that cover the entire window. Look for your options at a hardware or home goods store and follow the installation instructions that come with it.
When installed, some window inserts prevent the window from opening. If you frequently open your windows, choose a product that does not obstruct them.
Adding a line of caulk around the window border is a similar, more permanent solution. This requires the permission of your landlord, so check with them first.
4: Install window inserts if outside noise is unbearable. If drapes aren't enough to keep out the noise, thick window inserts can help. There are several types. Some are simply rubber inserts that fit between the window and the windowsill, while others are full, clear sheets that completely cover the window. Look for your options at a hardware or home improvement store, and then follow the installation instructions that come with it.
Some window inserts, when installed, prevent the window from opening. Choose a product that does not obstruct your windows if you frequently open them.
A similar, more permanent solution is to add a line of caulk around the window border. This requires your landlord's permission, so check with them first.
6: Use ceiling clouds to muffle sound waves. Ceiling clouds are foam pieces that absorb sound waves. They are commonly used in theatres, but they can also be useful if you have noisy upstairs neighbors. For the best results, purchase a pack from a hardware store and follow the installation instructions.
Before hanging these tools, check with your landlord. If you need to drill holes in the ceiling to attach them, get your landlord's permission first.