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4 Removable Ways to Soundproof Your Apartment

Apartment living room, soundproofed with curtains, bookshelf, and rugs
@hellomikee / Twenty20
Apartment living room, soundproofed with curtains, bookshelf, and rugs

@hellomikee / Twenty20

These four tips will help you soundproof your apartment without upsetting your landlord.

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One of the biggest challenges of renting is the inability to make permanent changes to your space. Restrictions on painting bathrooms or re-tiling kitchen backsplashes may be annoying; however, that’s far less important than the ability to occupy your space in peace. Are noisy neighbors driving you nuts? You don’t have to suffer in lack of silence, nor do you have to break your lease installing permanent soundproofing. There are some reversible tactics you can employ to soundproof your apartment.

It’s as simple as this: Noise travels. Soundproofing your space gives noise fewer and less clear paths with which to do so. Soft and uneven surfaces absorb sound waves, while flat ones bounce that noise right back to you. The four simple tips below give you tools to absorb sound so you can enjoy your life in peace.

1. Fill up a bookshelf

Living room with full wall of bookshelves

@olegmagni / Twenty20

A bookshelf can insulate you from your neighbor’s noise.

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That college degree proves itself useful yet again: Large stacks of textbooks can be used for more than gathering dust. If you and your loud neighbor have a shared wall, push a bookcase against it. The larger the bookcase, the less sound will get through.

Of course, to be effective, you need to maximize the sound-absorbing material on that bookshelf. What better than the irregular shape of a stack of books? Gather up all of your reading material and slide it onto the shelf. The pressed pages are ideal for stopping sound.

While you might love the look of open space on a bookshelf, save it for un-shared walls. Open space acts like a door, giving sound waves a funnel into your apartment.

2. Hang tapestries and curtains

Cozy bedroom decorated with tapestry

@JulieK / Twenty20

A textured wall hanging dampens sound.

You don’t have to crowd your apartment with bulky furniture to put an end to your neighbor’s noise. Adding soft, thick fabrics to your walls will similarly help dampen sound. Floor-to-ceiling curtains are ideal.

If you don’t have many windows, turn to the still-trending woven wall hanging. You can make your own or purchase one. Either way, the soft, non-uniform texture of a fiber wall hanging will block outside sound and create a more zen space.

3. Throw down some rugs

Living room with decorative, patterned area rug

@meandering_mari / Twenty20

Layered rugs are trending – and quiet.

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Rugs are ideal for quieting an apartment, even one where all the noise is your own. A single, large rug does wonders for limiting echoes. When you’ve got a particularly noisy neighbor, one rug might not cut it. Fortunately, you can turn to another trend to help you soundproof your apartment; layered rugs are in!

When thinking about which rugs to layer, try to vary their texture. More irregularity equals more sound wave absorption, which equals a quieter room. Feeling daunted by this high-impact design trend? We’ve got a definitive guide to layering that can help.

4. Rearrange

Bedroom in luxury apartment

@VeraNovember / Twenty20

Rearrange to put distance between yourself and outside sound.

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The inability to block outside noise may be so frustrating that you overlook the obvious. Have you rearranged to minimize your exposure to your neighbor’s sounds?

If you have a TV, look for a way to position it against the shared wall, so you can drown out noise with your favorite TV program. If the noise is keeping you from sleeping, rearrange your bedroom so that your bed is as far as possible from the offending wall. Get creative. Can you swap your home office and your bedroom? It might feel like a major change, but so will getting solid sleep night after night.

Soundproof your apartment the lease-friendly way

You don’t have to ruin your relationship with your landlord or your neighbor to get some peace and quiet. These four tips will help you lay down sound-dampening layers and regain control over the noise levels in your apartment.

Have you dealt with noisy neighbors? Which hacks have you used to keep the noise out? Let us know in the comments.

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