As an avid sound proofer, a keen researcher in home theatre systems, and generally loving tips and tricks about how to get incredible sound. I did some research on how to soundproof an apartment and put together this helpful article to explain how to get a quieter room in your apartment.
So, how do you soundproof an apartment? To soundproof your apartment you need to seal any cracks, holes, and any space where sound waves can enter your room. You also want to deaden any sound-waves by adding more furniture, hanging drapes, and putting up acoustic panels.
There are also temporary measures that you can turn on and off such as white noise generators, noise cancelling headphones, and turning a fan on.
Below, I will tell you where and how to install all of these in more detail. So read on, where I reveal the full scope of my research for your reading pleasure.
Soundproofing a Room in Your Apartment Quick and Easy
We’ve all been there. An inconsiderate neighbor, who has a vendetta against us. Or, has a general lack of empathy. Or, are the worst type of person, a door slammer.
You could live next to a busy street with honking horns, as well as, a train station where the drivers just don’t get it. And honk their horn every hour of the day or night. Sometimes it feels like people don’t value sleep, and focused attention. Leaving you with constant interruptions, and far from ideal sleep.
So, I’ll give you my best tips to lessen the noise as much as possible, to improve the quality of your life.
Soundwaves Hate Solid Thick Barriers
When it comes to dampening outside noise, the best solution is to create a solid barrier between the source of the sound and you. A layer of wood, brick, or other hard material. It blocks the sound waves from penetrating and the bounce right off. The thicker the better.
So, with your existing walls you can add extra layers of material. Or, block up any cracks and holes. Some apartments have paper thin walls where you can hear very clearly what is going on in the next room. You will have noticed this phenomenon. How loud outside noise is when a window is open.
Versus, how much more quiet it is when the window is closed. This happens because the window creates a solid barrier between the outside and your room. So, this should be your first step.
You can also ensure the windows and doors are closed when you need to sleep or concentrate on an important task. It will dampen outside noise by up to 60% just from this small step. But, don’t forget to open them from time to time to let some fresh air in. Whether it’s from the aircon by opening a window nice and wide for a minute to replace the air.
Window Double-Glaze, Scientifically Proved to Be the Best
Less modern apartments often won’t have double glazed windows. It is sometimes called double pane glass. Double glazed windows are thicker than regular windows. As a result, they do a better job of keeping your home warm in winter and keeping out outside noise. It is harder for the soundwaves to penetrate, and they reflect off a greater percentage of the soundwaves that hit them.
How to Recognize Double Pane Windows
There are two different methods to tell if your windows are double glazed. Double glazed windows have a small space of air in between them.
So, check if you can see it by looking at the edge of the windows. You may be able to see the separate panes of glass separated by a space.
The other way is to open the window, and use your fingers on either side to see how thick it is. If it is thicker than normal then it is a fairly safe bet they are double glazed. Single glazed windows are thinner. But, if you’re unsure, get a consultation from a glass installer.
If you don’t have double glazed windows replacing the current windows you’ve got with the, will add an additional layer of soundproofing to your home. A recent study by the National Research Council of Canada showed that double glazing gives the best soundproofing. Rather than using single or triple glazing.
A Guide to Adding Sound Deadening Features Inside Your Room
To soundproof your room, you can add sound deadening features that include:
- More furniture
- Furniture that is better for soundproofing
- Acoustic panels
- Soundproof curtains
- Hanging rugs and art
- White noise generator or fan
|01. More Furniture|
|Although, you don’t want to over clutter your room. More furniture than just having a bare-bones room will improve the sound within your room. Secondary waves that come from the soundwaves bouncing around the room are absorbed by furniture. |
I’ll discuss exactly how when I talk about acoustic panels below. But, where possible include these in your room. Because they soak up the sound. And intrusive sounds from outside, don’t bounce around as much. So, the noise will disturb you less because they peter out faster.
|02. Furniture that is Better for Soundproofing|
|A plastic or metal chair is not as good as a foam coach at absorbing sound. This is because harder materials reflect the sound waves completely. Whereas foamy materials scatter the sound waves and allow small amounts into the material. |
Further trapping them and using up all their energy. So, think about replacing a hard chair with a bean bag. Or, getting a more cushy couch, rather than a flat and hardstyle couch or lounge furniture.
|03. Acoustic Panels|
|Acoustic panels can be used on both the ceiling and the walls. They are used to create a better sound experience when watching your home theatre. Or, in sound studios, to stop reflected sound waves. |
In another article, I wrote about acoustic panels I discussed them in detail. For the full ins and out, you can give it a read by clicking here: What Are Acoustic Panels and How Do They Work?.
Briefly, they are easy to install and work to muffle the sound. There are optimum places to put them. I included all the instructions in that article above. So, give it a read if you are interested in finding out.
By stopping reflected sound waves it makes the room more comfortable. Reflected soundwaves confuse the brain. As natural humans who spend a lot of time outdoors we would rarely experience it. But, due to the advances in the standards of living and comfort, indoor living and working is now the norm for a lot of us.
So, limiting sound reflections is now something to look into. To soundproof your room, and provide better comfort.
|04. Soundproof Curtains|
|You can add additional layers to your curtains to block out outside noise. As well as, getting curtain railing that gives you better window coverage. Curtains act to muffle the sound, like earmuffs for your room. |
When you have double glazed windows this will do a lot of the work. But, if you need more, get thicker curtains.
Railing that makes your curtains create a tighter seal around your window also stops the sound from getting in your room. Further, soundproofing it to the max.
|05. Hanging Rugs and Art|
|Hanging rugs, interesting tapestries, and artistic works work the same as acoustic panels. In that, they muffle the sound waves, rather than your walls just bouncing them straight off. |
Thicker foamer art and hanging rugs are more desirable. As the old catch, 22 says, form over function. So, apply these to your taste. But, also maximize the soundproof qualities.
|06. Using a White Noise Generator to Soften the Noise|
|A fan or air conditioning is somewhat effective in downing out outside road noise. They also give you a sense of comfort like a rainstorm. It won’t stop you from getting startled by interruptions like loud honks, and a person whistling or shouting. Taking you out of the zone.|
So, they aren’t a complete solution. But, definitely help. One such white noise generator I did some research on is the:
01)- Yogasleep Dohm Classic
02)- White Noise Machine by Dreamegg
Listening to earbuds for sleeping is too uncomfortable. Believe me, I’ve tried. So, a white noise generator or a Bluetooth speaker playing a white noise track is an excellent option to give you better focus and drown out the noise.
A fan also works in the same way. The light burr noise it makes is calming and causes interference with other noises making them less noticeable. If it gets too cold, just point it away from you.
|Apart from being very practical, the thickness and mass of bookshelves absorb a lot of sounds. It also makes your walls thicker, blocking outside noise. Where you have the space for one put one up and stock it fully. |
If you don’t have a lot of books yet, you can buy them in bulk from a liquidator. Until you replace them with your favorites. I’m the same in that most of my books are on Kindle and in pdf form. But, for soundproofing purposes and making you look smart for your business videos a bookshelf is a solid play.
How Can I Reduce Noise in An Apartment?
To reduce noise in an apartment, you want to include sound-deadening measures. These involve adding the physical features above. That reduces both outside noises, and reflected noise. But, it can also include getting rid of a person or group of people
If a person doesn’t understand to disturb others with lots of noise. Then, it’s a waste of time to try to explain it to them.
In such cases you want to remove them by moving away. Or, getting them to move out. It’s not worth your personal wellbeing keeping them around. Even, if they appear nice. If they are a door slammer, or play loud music and talk loudly deep into the night, get rid of them.
They are what I will call a true f wit. You can guess what the f stands for. They don’t get it, and will take you down with them. I would guess they make up about 1% of the population and should be avoided at all costs.
Every success book mentions removing these people from your life. They generally have emotional, and substance abuse problems, even if on the outside they can appear to be successful.
Can You Soundproof A Ceiling in An Apartment?
Soundproofing a ceiling involves adding extra layers of sound insulation. It is the easiest to where you have a ceiling made up of removable tiles. Because with a ladder and some insulating foam you can stuff it above your ceiling.
That deadens a lot of outside noise. For sound reflections you can add acoustic panels to your ceiling. They are called ‘clouds’ in acoustic parlance. In doing so, they halt the soundwaves in their tracks and it lessens their impact on your room, and your psyche.
But, sometimes you might be in a situation where the person upstairs footsteps can be heard. There is no way to lessen the noise from people walking around directly above you. In this case it’s best to finish out your lease and do more thorough research before moving in.
If you approach them and talk to them, they may stop for a time. But, it’s just not something people can consistently think about, to make them always do it. So, it will be a constant disturbance for you.
High heels and hard bottom shoes are the worst. It can feel like a form of torture. Luckily, it’s only reserved for apartments that are poorly constructed. So, with some research they can be avoided.
It’s better to perform a test before moving in. With the help of a landlord or similar. But, sometimes you might need to move somewhere quickly and don’t have the luxury of time. And so, discover when it’s too late, and you’ve signed your life away for 6 months or 12 months. Do your best to live with it, and get out as soon as you can. Talk to a lawyer if you need to.
Acoustic Panels for An Apartment, Should You Really Do It?
I have done a tonne of research into this and yes, it does make sense to invest in acoustic panels, if you are planning on staying in your apartment for any length of time. They have been scientifically honed, tested, and rejiggered to lessen reflected noise, which reduces how much outside noise reverberates in your room. That has a positive impact on your apartment.
How to Find the Best Acoustic Panels for An Apartment
You should select those with a high Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC). Luckily, I have done some research into them and put together a list of our best selections below. These are affiliate links, and it really helps me out if you buy them through mine. Because it helps to put more helpful and concise information like this article out there. So, here they are:
Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam
- They are small, 1 ft x 1ft (30cm x 30cm). You can add more or less depending on how many you need. That means they are very customizable.
- Inexpensive. Relative to other acoustic panels they are cost effective, leaving more money in your pocket.
Auralex Acoustics StudAuralex Acoustics Sonoflat Acoustic Absorption foamiofoam
- Comes in different colors -charcoal, burgundy, and olive green-. You can choose the right color for your room, and create an interesting interior design.
- High noise reduction coefficient (NRC) score of 0.95 out of 1. It is very effective at dampening sound relative to other acoustic panels that don’t have as high an NRC score.
Foamily Red Acoustic Foam Egg crate panel studio
- Comes in different colors -charcoal, burgundy, red, and blue. Similar to the Auralex Sonoflat. It also has different colors to the Auralex Sonoflat, giving you the option to get the right color for your room.
- Very thick panel. Offering greater sound absorption (NRC of 0.80), that gives you better sound within your room compared with other panels. Though not as good as the Auralex Sonoflat.
To soundproof your room, you want to add more solid material to the exterior, and interior of the room’s walls, ceiling, and windows. The interior can also benefit from using sound-absorbing materials such as acoustic panels, bookcases, and thicker curtains.