If you live in an apartment, you may be asking yourself how to soundproof an apartment! Whether it’s your upstairs neighbor’s footsteps or the sound of traffic outside, unwanted noise can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep or focus on work.
So how to soundproof an apartment? Some of these strategies involve placing bookshelves or other barriers along the walls, using carpeting in key locations, or investing in soundproofing panels that can be installed on ceilings, doors, and windows.
Whether you’re a longtime renter or just starting in your first apartment, there are many things you can do to keep sounds from interfering with your peace and quiet.
With a little bit of effort and some good planning, you can create a more peaceful environment where you can focus on work or simply relax without being distracted by outside noise.
Here are several things you can do to soundproof an apartment and create a peaceful oasis right away. I will also touch on how to soundproof an apartment wall, window and door!
1. Use Bookshelves to Block Out Noise.
By placing bookshelves along shared walls or in other high-traffic areas, you can help dampen the sound of footsteps and other noises.
The thicker the shelves, the more effective they will be at absorbing sound. In addition, you can add acoustic panels to the shelves to further reduce noise and echo within the room.
One great tip is also to sandwich a layer of Mass Loaded Vinyl (Amazon) in between the wall and the bookshelf. This will add mass to the wall and you can bring the layer of Mass Loaded vinyl (MLV) with you when you move out of the apartment!
Just make sure you place the MLV and the bookshelf on the entire surface of the wall because it won’t be very effective if you only treat half the wall.
2. Install Acoustic Panels on your Walls, Ceilings, and Doors
There are a variety of acoustic panels (Amazon) and other soundproofing materials that you can use to improve the quality of noise in your apartment.
These panels aim to reduce echoes and reverberations in your apartment, reducing the overall volume of sounds coming from outside. (Source)
For example, you can install ceiling tiles or add carpet padding to reduce echoes and reverberations from footsteps and voices.
Additionally, using special sound-blocking curtains or heavy drapes over windows can also help reduce unwanted ambient noises from outside.
3. Invest In Noise-Canceling Headphones or Earplugs.
This can help to reduce the number of distractions and help you to focus on your work. Some noise-canceling headphones or earplugs can be quite expensive, so you may want to consider other options first.
For example, a simple pair of foam earplugs are very inexpensive and still provide some noise reduction. Alternatively, if you have the option to choose where to to work, try finding a quieter location in the office or even working remotely.
There are many different ways that you can minimize distractions while trying to focus on your work. Noise-canceling headphones and/or earplugs are an excellent solution for those who work in loud environments.
These devices isolate the sounds around you so that they aren’t as noticeable, allowing you to concentrate more easily on your work.
However, these aren’t for everyone. Some people don’t see headphones as a solution, but as more of a cover-up. There is also such a thing as ear fatigue if they are worn throughout the day.
4. Hang Heavy Fabric Over Windows and Doors
Three Layered Sound Deadening Curtains (Amazon) and drapes are another great way to block out sound from noisy neighbors or traffic outside, as they can help absorb some of those sounds before they reach your apartment.
This will help absorb sound and create more soundproofing so that you don’t have any outside noise interfering with anything on the inside.
Many different types of heavy fabric can be used for this purpose, including blankets, curtains, and acoustic tiles.
Be sure to choose a fabric that works well as a sound absorber and is also flame-resistant since it could be next to electrical equipment.
Once you’ve hung the fabric, take some time to test out the acoustics in your space. You may want to add more fabric or sound-dampening materials if you find that the noise level is still too high.
If you’re satisfied with the results, they also double as a great way to keep the sun out.
5. Use Rugs and Other Soft Furnishings to Help Muffle the Sound
Placing thick rugs on the floor or soft pillows on furniture can help absorb some of the sounds that make their way into your apartment, making it easier to focus and relax.
Thick rugs on the floor can help muffle footsteps and other noises coming from below, while soft pillows on furniture can help dampen the noise coming from above.
Try to keep everything looking nice inside the room so that it is aesthetically pleasing as well. Too many people overlook that step, sacrificing the look of their interior to help with soundproofing.
6. Look for Appliances with Quieter Motors
Your dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer all generate noise when they’re in use, so try to find models that produce less sound while they’re operating.
Alternatively, you can look into purchasing a decibel reducer kit to reduce the overall volume of these appliances while they’re running.
There is a lot of new technology out there with appliances that make things quieter right away.
Some people might not know this since they haven’t had to purchase in recent years. Shop around, as there are ways to start hearing a difference soon.
8. Place your Furniture Away From Shared Walls
If your sofa is up against a shared wall, the sound of footsteps or other noises from the adjacent apartment can be amplified.
By moving your furniture away from these walls, you can help reduce the amount of noise that comes into your apartment.
Apartment walls are thinner than ever, which has caused a lot of people to realize that shared walls need to be avoided as much as possible.
Having a bare apartment likely causes a lot of sound issues overall. Try to load up the walls with different things, and don’t necessarily sit next to them if they are troublesome.
9. Use Weather Stripping to Seal Gaps Around Doors and Windows
Gaps and cracks around doors and windows can let in unwanted noise, so be sure to use weather stripping to seal them off. This will also help improve the overall energy efficiency of your apartment.
Most people already have some form of weatherstripping on their doors at this time. They also usually come included with just about every window installation. However, it could be time to upgrade them if they are not performing as they should.
Like everything else, there have been quite a few advancements in weather stripping overall. What works in the past might not be as great for soundproofing these days.
It makes a lot of sense for people to go out there and try to make some upgrades, as it’s pretty affordable even when going for premium options.
10. Treat Electronics Properly
Don’t forget about the electronics in the apartment. Many electronic devices like computers (Quiet PC Tower Amazon), TVs, and stereos can produce distracting noise, so be sure to keep them in low-traffic areas of your apartment. There are also ways to soundproof them at times.
Be creative with placing noisy electronics in areas already soundproofed pretty well. If there is any type of echo inside the apartment, it’s going to become that much more of an issue when there are a lot of sounds generating from that area.
11. Choose Sound Deadening Paint for the Walls and Ceiling.
Special soundproofing paint (Amazon) might work to help absorb sound waves, making it easier to create a peaceful environment in your apartment.
Soundproofing paint can help to reduce the amount of noise that enters our homes and workplaces, and make our environment more pleasant and peaceful. That is, as long as it is accompanied by other solutions.
There are many different types of soundproofing paint available on the market, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Some types of sound deadening paint are more effective than others, and some are more expensive. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the best type of soundproofing paint for your needs will depend on the specific situation.
Keep in mind that doing nothing else but slapping on some soundproofing paint won’t create a noticeable solution. Combine soundproofing paint with a few other tips from this list to get the best results.
13. Talk to Your Landlord or Property Manager
Talk to your landlord or property manager about potential solutions for reducing noise levels in shared spaces like hallways or laundry rooms.
For example, they may be able to install thicker doors in these areas, or add padding under carpeting to help insulate against noise.
It seems like a lot of people are very hesitant to ever talk to their landlord or property manager to see if something could be done about sound.
While everyone is different, some landlords are probably fine with making some small changes to improve the overall quality of life for the tenants.
It’s important to know that it’s not only helping your particular apartment, but the neighbors as well. If they are having trouble renting out certain units, showcasing their upgrades in soundproofing can be beneficial.
What some people will run into is that their landlord or property manager has their hands tied a bit. If there’s nothing that they can do themselves, then it’s up to the individual tenant to fix things.
Go ahead and ask them what can and can’t be done to the property to help with soundproofing. Some will allow people to put in more permanent solutions if they wish, as long as they are removed when moving out.
14. Talk with the Neighbors
Get to know your neighbors and talk to them about ways to reduce noise levels in the shared spaces of your apartment building. By working together, you can find solutions that will benefit everyone in the building.
Soundproofing a wall is so much more effective when there is treatment on both sides. The only way to get access to the other side is to work with a neighbor.
Since most people want to have peace and quiet, it’s usually not that hard to have a discussion with a neighbor and see what happens.
The unfortunate thing is that a lot of people don’t have a great relationship with their neighbors if they are renting.
It can be a little tough to establish a relationship and have a conversation, but when approached the right way, many are open to the idea of looking into some cheap soundproofing solutions that could help out everyone involved.
If it ends up working out well with one neighbor, reaching out to the others could be much easier. When you live in an apartment building, it is important to be aware of how your actions can affect your neighbors.
One way that this can happen is by creating too much noise, which can disturb those around you. To avoid this issue and not get the label as the problematic one, look into making many of the improvements detailed in this article.
15. Considering Moving
No one enjoys having to move. However, if all else fails, consider moving to a quieter location. If the noise levels in your current apartment are just too loud for you to handle, it may be time to look for a new place to live.
But before you make any decisions, be sure to check with your landlord or property manager first to see if there are any options for soundproofing your current apartment.
How Much Does it Cost to Soundproof an Apartment?
Soundproofing an apartment can be a costly endeavor, but it is worth it if you want to enjoy some peace and quiet. There are many different ways to soundproof an apartment, and the costs will vary depending on the method you choose.
The best suggestion is to start with something cheap and see what happens from there. For some people, it might be as easy as moving around some of the furniture inside of an apartment and hearing the difference.
If that blocks the minimal distractions that were going on, there’s no other reason to invest additional money.
For others, they could be spending quite a bit of extra money since they are only coming up with temporary solutions that can easily be torn down once it’s hard to move out.
It’s not the most expensive thing in the world, but it does start to add up if the apartment is big and there are a lot of formal areas.
Shopping online usually provides the best deals when getting soundproofing material. However, since some of the soundproofing material is rather bulky, it might be easier to shop locally as well.
Installation is relatively straightforward, but there are always options to hire professionals to take care of jobs.
Overall, the cost of soundproofing an apartment is usually not enough to sway people not to look into it if noise is a true issue. There is no price to put on peace and quiet inside of a small dwelling.
Additional Apartment Soundproofing Tips
Some people might still have questions about soundproofing an apartment. If possible, doing research beforehand can save some hassle later on.
Is there an easy way to tell what type of insulation and soundproofing an apartment already has?
Unfortunately, it’s very challenging to know what kind of insulation soundproofing apartment currently has. The best way is to ask the landlord to property management, but they may not always give an accurate answer.
Try to let them know that you are particularly sensitive to noise, and they might be a little more candid with their response.
Going online and doing some research by reading some reviews can also help out. People are a lot more honest about how something sounds in this case.
How to Know If an Apartment has Great Soundproofing?
Before signing the lease, try to check out an apartment at different times a day. Ideally, someone wants to try to be there at times when they will be there if they live there. That way, it can be easy to spot if it will be a problem later on.
Try to pay attention to noise coming from outside and inside the complex. There could be some temporary noise such as construction, but try to see how long that construction lasts. Even though it might seem temporary, it could last for months and months.
How to Find an Apartment with Good Soundproofing?
It’s very hard to get accurate reviews these days on just about anything. Online reviews seem to show a little bit of bias one way or the other.
Most people are not that inclined to leave a positive review, but they will definitely voice their opinion if it’s negative.
When approaching the leasing office or property manager, it can be challenging to get accurate answers as well.
Their main goal is to lease out the property, so they might not always be as truthful as possible with sound and noise issues as one would like. They will talk in marketing terms more often than not.
The best, most accurate reviews tend to come from families and friends. They want to help out who they know, not protect a leasing office.
Unfortunately, people might not always have family or friends to count on during this time. That’s when reading reviews online and trying to find as much information as possible is worth it.
Usually, fake reviews are short and lack detail. Sift through those lackluster ones and focus on what provides the best, most accurate details.
Final Verdict: Is It Worth Soundproofing an Apartment?
Everyone should look into simple soundproofing methods with an apartment, to begin with. They don’t take that much time, and they are usually pretty inexpensive.
Some will need to go to more extremes and others, and there are a variety of products that help out with that. A little bit of work in the very beginning will make life much easier and quieter for the average person.
There might not be as many permanent solutions when going with apartment soundproofing compared to house soundproofing.
However, with neighbors so close by, it just makes sense to look at soundproofing and any methods that can actually work.
It’s always going to be easier to start with soundproofing in the very beginning. As soon as it’s time to move in, have equipment ready to put in the necessary work.
While soundproofing can be done at any time, it’s much easier when there’s nothing else in the way. At the same time, don’t be scared about noise problems with nothing inside of an empty apartment. It’s always going to be louder when nothing is helping out organically.
Soundproofing seems intimidating at first, but people get the hang of it and start to make some tweaks on their own.
It’s a game of trial and error more than anything, but at least a few methods above should work for those currently living in an apartment.