How to soundproof an apartment – 6 tenant-friendly changes that will block out noisy neighbors

Wondering how to soundproof an apartment? Whether you live in a condo, condo, or apartment, living close to your neighbors means noise can travel.

“If you want to have a fully soundproofed apartment that prevents noise from traveling from the street or through your walls and floors, then the ideal (but most expensive and laborious) option is to hire a professional sound engineer. ‘soundproofing’, interior designer, Clare Marie of Clare Marie Design says. “To achieve a truly fully soundproofed apartment, the walls and floors must be open to structurally resolve any noise transfer issues.”

However, there are ways to soundproof an apartment in less obtrusive ways, as well as soundproofing measures you can try when decorating an apartment that are also suitable for renters. From using upholstery to clever window treatment ideas – here’s how to reduce noise levels in your space once and for all.

How to soundproof an apartment

1. Seal your doors

apartment living room and kitchen with mid century furniture

(Image credit: Jennifer Hughes)

The easiest way to block out all internal or external noise? By sealing leaks around your doors.

“For an exterior door, you can add a door sweep which can be easily attached to the bottom of the door and will help seal your apartment,” interior designer Clare Marie, from Claire Marie Design (opens in a new tab), said. “Use a commercial grade door sweep as this will help prevent dust and drafts as well as noise”

Clare also recommends hanging a door curtain in the entrance to your apartment to try to absorb the noise.

“For interior doors, draft excluders that slide and stay under your door are a great solution,” adds Clare. ‘No tools or fixings required, just slide the exclusive underneath and it moves with the door.’

2. Seal your windows

an apartment bedroom

(Image credit: Costa Picadas c/o Studio Ness)

And while we’re talking about sealing your doors, so are your windows. In addition to being a great way to save energy, sealing your windows will help emit noise while traveling.

“Sealing them with foam weather stripping is the easiest weather stripping to apply,” says Clare. “This adhesive-backed foam comes on a roll and when squeezed through a door or window, the foam seals the air.”

3. Look at your window treatments

an apartment bedroom with a curtain on the window

(Image credit: Alan Gastelum. Design: The New Design Project)

The best modern window treatments don’t just look good, dressing your windows can help reduce noise echoing through your space. Especially if you stack your windows or use materials specifically designed to reduce noise.

“The sound-absorbing curtains will reduce noise reverberation in the room, and the wooden shutters will block outside noise from the window,” says Clare. You can find soundproof curtains on Amazon (opens in a new tab)or try IKEA GUNNLAUG curtains (opens in a new tab).

“If you want to reduce both types of sound, you can use both curtains and shutters which will still be aesthetically pleasing. For these types of window treatments, it is easier and better to hire a specialist who will require a quick home visit to measure and then get back in shape.

4. Go big on upholstery

a scandi style apartment with a black painted wall

(Image credit: Helen Cathcart. Design: Fare Inc)

Let’s face it: no room is complete without a bouquet of upholstery. And luckily, items like rugs, throw pillows, blankets, and artwork can all help muffle noise, or even soundproof a room.

“It’s very easy to help soundproof your apartment using home decor and furnishings,” Decorist (opens in a new tab) designer, says Mikayla Keating. “Keep in mind that these options won’t completely block noise, but combining these items in your home will help dampen the sound.”

“A few simple ways to help soundproof your apartment through interior design are to add a large rug and padding, add canvas or tapestries to the walls, and choose soft furnishings.

“Soft furniture and thicker materials in your apartment will help absorb noise entering and leaving your space. Some examples are opting for an ottoman instead of a hard coffee table or layering a flat-weave rug over a jute rug.

5. Use joinery or full-height shelving

TV hidden behind the bookcase

(Image credit: future)

In addition to having a functional purpose, a full-height home library can help reduce noise levels coming from your property or your neighbors.

“There’s a distinct difference between soundproofing your apartment and providing sound absorption solutions,” says Lindsey Rendall, Creative Director of Rendall & Wright Interiors (opens in a new tab) and is registered British Institute of Interior Design Interior Designer (opens in a new tab) (IBID). “Bookcases and full height joinery/cabinets on interior walls adjoining other properties can help reduce/muffle sound.”

Filling the shelves with dense objects such as books will help reduce noise transfer to an even higher level.

6. Incorporate plants

an apartment full of plants

(Image credit: Hey Cheese!)

If you needed another excuse to add plants to your space, this is it. Decorating with plants is a surefire way to inject some much-needed greenery into your space and boost your mood. But now there’s another reason to add a plant to the mix.

“Having a good selection of indoor plants can also help absorb sound and improve air quality,” said BIID President Mathew Freeman of Studio Freeman Explain. His crush? “I like the scale and presence of the fiddle leaf fig tree.”

Is it possible to soundproof an apartment?

“To properly soundproof a property, you need to eliminate any gaps or connecting materials through which sound can travel from neighboring apartments or the outside world,” Rendall says. “Complete soundproofing of the property requires professional help and advice.”

However, here are some DIY tips to reduce sound transfer:

  • Sealing gaps around windows and doors, this can be done using acoustic sealing kits or by introducing secondary glazing.
  • Hang lined curtains on windows to reduce noise.
  • Replace hollow interior doors with solid wood doors.
  • Use an acoustic underlay under carpets.
  • If you have open fires, insert a chimney ball when not in use to help reduce outside noise
  • Acoustic wall panels can help absorb noise once in the apartment but do not prevent it from entering.

Lora M. Andrew