Apartments are located in the center of vibrant neighborhoods to keep their residents close to all the action and fun of the city. This makes it easy to go out and do what you want to do, but you don’t want to hear the noise of the street while you sleep. Most tenants think it’s just one of the compromises that comes with living in the city, but you don’t have to sacrifice your mental health for the sake of a short commute to work. There are several low-cost ways to cancel sound throughout your apartment to achieve some peace and quiet.
Weatherproofing is Soundproofing
Be mindful of where the majority of noise comes from. The hallways will contribute a large percentage of noise, as people are out and about all hours of the day, not to mention when people move in and out. Since the front door your apartment is most likely indoors, it’s probably relatively thin and definitely not weatherproofed. An easy way to combat the noise is to add a door sweep. Simply, a door sweep is a piece of rubber, normally pretty thick, that sticks to the floor and insulates. Not only will this keep the heat and air conditioning in your apartment, but it will keep noise from the hallway bouncing in.
Use Curtains on your Door, Not Just Windows
Most people don’t know that curtains can be used on your door too. If a door sweep isn’t doing enough, find a heavy blackout curtain to drape over it. Not only will this give you some privacy over the door’s peep hole, but the soft material will also stop any soundwaves bouncing off the walls in the hallway. If you have a thin apartment door that lets your heating and cooling drift into the halls, this will add increased insulation to assist controlling the environment in your apartment.
Draft Stopper for Every Door
A door sweep and draft stopper are relatively similar, however a draft stopper isn’t as thick and heavy. While a door sweep is great for the front door, you may not need one on every door, and that’s where draft stoppers come into play. Use a draft stopper on your bedroom and any other door in your apartment to help contain noise to one room. Look for draft stoppers that have an elastic band to wrap around the bottom of the door, that way it won’t constantly slip out of place on the hardwood floor.
Don’t Allow Sound to Bounce
All surfaces, such as floors, walls, and ceilings are perfect for sound to bounce off of. In small spaces, sound can be significantly louder when it can bounce, so the best thing you can do is soften all your hard surfaces. Walls can be covered in tapestries or even posters to cut sound down. Your floor should have carpets and rugs which will soak up any sound as well. You can cut down on reflected sound by covering these hard surfaces with something soft like rubber textile mats or carpeting. Soundproofing your walls will not just keep it quieter in your apartment, but also keep your noise from entering into your neighbors’ units and vice-versa.
Padding for Carpets and Rugs
Rugs and carpets are great ways to soften hard floors, and if you find a cool one, you can even hang it on the wall. Most rugs and carpets will suppress noise, but if you were hoping for more soundproofing than what yours provides, throw down a pad underneath it. Aside from muffling the noise more, it will make your carpet or rug more comfortable to stand on, too.
Let a Bookcase Trap Sound Waves in the Shelving
If you notice you can easily hear your neighbors, that means they can easily hear you. To decrease the amount of noise coming in and out through the walls, find a bookcase to place strategically. The bookcase will absorb some of the noise, but the shelving will cause the noise to bounce around and fizzle out quickly. If you can find a bookcase with a back on it, you can position it so the open side is up against the wall, trapping any noise that slips through inside the bookcase itself.
Seal the Windows
Your windows are the greatest sound compromiser. Windows let in the most noise out of everything in an apartment. If you find curtains, drapes, or shades aren’t doing enough, use soundproof curtains for your windows. Soundproof window curtains are pretty heavy, normally weighing about fifteen pounds. The curtain can be placed against a window or wall and will keep noise out. If you don’t have the space for a bookcase, look into sound proof curtains, as they can be moved to whatever wall or window needs to be silenced.