Whether you’re a college student sharing an apartment with four friends (who all snore), a nurse who works the night shift and sleeps during the day or a musician trying to practice your guitar skills, you may be looking into soundproofing your apartment.
While homeowners have the option to alter the structure of their walls to make them soundproof, renters aren’t able to change their wall interior without breaking the lease terms.
Just because you can’t professionally soundproof your home, doesn’t mean you can’t significantly reduce the sound that’s bothering you.
To help, we created a guide on how to soundproof a room in an apartment. First, consider how the sound is carrying in your home, then try one of our nine tips for soundproofing a room.
If you are soundproofing a room, you are typically trying to keep unwanted noise out of a space. The solution you pick will depend on where the source of the sound is.
If the unwanted noise is coming through a wall, your best bet is to make modifications to the wall it’s coming through. While you aren’t able to build on top of the wall, you can add bookshelves or photos to dampen the noise.
If the sound you are trying to minimize is coming through a door or window, it may be because they are thin or have space around them for the noise to travel through. If this is the case, you’ll want to modify the door or window by weatherproofing or installing thick curtains.
Your main issue might be that the noise is reflecting around the room and projecting to make it sound louder. If this is the case, you’ll want to modify the wall opposite of where the sound is originating and work to cover any hard surfaces. Rugs and canvas art can help you cover these hard, reflective surfaces.
Now that you know where the sound is coming from, you can work to minimize it with these soundproofing solutions.
When making these improvements, be sure you are following the guidelines of your lease. Any permanent damage could be taken from your security deposit. In addition, there may be stipulations about hanging items because they can be a fire hazard. Check your lease to be sure your modifications fit in the rules.
If you are having trouble with sound reflecting, one solution is to add padding to the walls. Depending on the room, this can be done in a subtle way or can be more obvious but effective.
For those looking for a stylish solution, hang curtains around the perimeter of the room. This will reduce the number of hard surfaces that sound can reflect off. If you aren’t concerned about the appearance, hanging mattress foam on the walls will pad them, reducing the noise even further.
Acoustic paneling is made of sound-absorbing materials, but it can get pricey. For a cheaper solution, try making your own acoustic paneling. Create a wooden frame and stretch a towel across it. Staple the towel to the wooden frame so it’s secure. For more absorption, pad the inside of the frame with additional towels.
For more detailed instructions, check out this sound absorption panel DIY tutorial.
Depending on the towel design and the shape of your wooden frame, these panels can become decor in the room. Another option is to hang them when the noise is an issue and take them down the rest of the time.
If your flooring isn’t carpet, your apartment will probably have much more of an echo. The noise reflects off the hard ground and is projected around the room. To avoid this, add rugs with a thick rug pad underneath. The dense fabric will absorb the sound waves rather than reflecting them.
While you can’t make major changes to your apartment, you should be able to install a faux built-in bookcase or even place a large bookcase against the wall where the noise is coming from. This will create a thicker wall and the books will also absorb some of the sounds that are coming through the wall.
Similar to padding the walls, adding canvas art, tapestries or other softer art can help reduce the hard surfaces in the space. This will reduce the noise coming through a wall as well as prevent sound from reflecting off the walls.
Most people weatherproof their homes with the intention of making it waterproof or protecting it from natural elements. Where water can get in, sound can get in.
Consider making a DIY door draft stopper for under your doors and windows to reduce to sound. Other options for soundproofing a room include installing a door sweep or using foam weatherstripping to seal the sides of windows or doors.
If you’ve tried draft stoppers and sound is still entering your space through the door or window, you might consider installing soundproof curtains. These curtains can be hung over a window or door and are designed to block out sound. As a bonus, if you’re trying to sleep, they also block out light.
Sound is created when something vibrates. The more vibrations, the louder the sound is. For instance, a washing machine could be very loud if it’s vibrating while washing your clothes. Speakers also release sound by vibrating. If the item that is vibrating is touching the floor or the wall, these vibrations may travel to the neighboring room.
To prevent this, try putting a piece of foam under or behind the item that’s causing the noise. This should reduce vibrations and make the apartment quieter.
If you’ve tried all of the methods above and the noise is still bothersome, try creating your own white noise. An easy way to do this is to point a fan towards the wall. The hum of the fan should drown out the other sounds and help you sleep.
Sometimes noisy neighbors and roommates are inevitable. These cheap tips for how to soundproof a room should help you balance out any excessive noise. If the noise continues to be a problem, ask your neighbor directly to keep it down. If they disregard your request, you can file a letter of complaint to your property manager.
If your neighborhood or neighbors are too noisy and soundproofing your apartment doesn’t help, consider moving to a quieter neighborhood.