Site Blog

Soundproofing Your NYC Apartment: 11 Ways to Keep Noise Out

In a city of radios, TVs, auto-play ads, traffic, public transportation and noisy neighbors our lives and pet’s ears are inundated with sound — so much so that the term “noise pollution” had to be coined. Unfortunately, unwanted noise is an unavoidable part of the average NYC person’s commute and work day, but it doesn’t have to be part of life at home- even if you live in midtown. 

Techniques for noise-proofing our most personal spaces are accessible, cost-efficient and perfect for creating a calm home environment so that you and your dog can enjoy the respites of city life. For fans of home DIY — or just fans of getting a good night’s sleep — these 10 fun and functional tips for soundproofing your home can give you more control over your space and lend some much-needed peace and quiet to your at-home routine.

1. Start from the Inside

The first step to soundproofing your home is to start with the obvious: How are you making your home a noisier place? Is your kitchen full of appliances that cause a racket? Do you have an elaborate home speaker system? Do you not subscribe to Panodora or YouTube Red? Subscribing can help keep noices from ads to a minimum as they can tend to go up in volumne a lot!  Much of the noise-proofing advice available today addresses how to prevent outside noise from getting into your home, but an easy first step toward a quieter living space is to zero in on the noises that are coming from your own routine.

2. Invest in Sound-Savvy Home Décor

If you’ve ever been inside an art gallery, a tiled bathroom or a completely empty room, you might notice how much noise your slightest movement can make. That’s because hard surfaces are perfect for sound to bounce off, turning light footsteps and average conversations into one big, clattering echo. In contrast, soft, plush materials absorb sounds, so decorating your home with plenty of carpets, soft wall-hangings, fabric drapes and throw rugs can cut down on the din of everyday movement around the house. Be sure that you have already nailed down potty training with your four legged friend as to not soil the carpets!

3. Decorate Strategically

Strategically positioning furniture in your home can help isolate noises, especially if there’s a particular room in your home that’s a hub for noise, like a music or play room. If you have neighbor that is constantly coming and going you can consider putting a plush welcome mat on either side of your main door.  You can also create a sound buffer by placing dense, soft furniture like easy chairs and sofas in the areas that surround a room to help muffle the sounds coming from inside. 

4. Install Sound-Silencing Curtains

When choosing curtains, opt for softer, heavier fabrics like velvet and thick cotton to help absorb sound inside and keep outside sounds from leaking in. Another good option is to use cellular shades, especially those with double cells.

5. Become a Book Worm or at Least Decorate Like One

Good news for those of you who want to make more time for reading: Installing bookshelves and filling them with books is another great way of canceling noise in your home. Like soft furniture and home décor, books are soft and dense enough to absorb soundwaves, which explains why libraries are often so quiet.

6. Use Quiet Appliances

Today, notoriously loud appliances like blenders, fans, washers, dryers and dishwashers all have models on the market made to be completely quiet, and some even have “quiet” settings that make their work less noticeable when in use. These pieces can be an investment, but if you are moving into a new home or find yourself needing to replace old appliances, consider silent models and make a huge difference to your home’s audio atmosphere.

7. Walk Lightly Indoors

Wearing hard-soled shoes or heels around the house is a surefire way of creating extra clatter in the air. If you don’t like the feeling of going barefoot or wearing only socks, consider investing in a pair of cozy, soft-soled house slippers that you can easily transition into when you come inside.

8. Use Weather Strips on Doors and Windows

Applying weather strips to the open edges of doors and windows is a cost-effective and simple way to keep heat and air from leaking out of your home, but they can also create a buffer that keeps outside noises where they belong — outside.

9. Add an Extra Layer of Drywall

This is a tip for more serious DIY-ers, but it’s an often overlooked, fairly simple way of seriously combatting unwanted noise in your home. Surfaces like walls that have hollow spaces inside encourage acoustic echoing, so adding an extra layer to your walls and ceilings provides an extra buffer to suck up excess sound. In that same spirit, replacing any hollow doors in your home with solid wood doors will also cut down on indoor and outdoor noise. You can easily find guides on how to install a double layer of drywall online.

10. Seal Holes and Cracks

It may come as a surprise, but holes and cracks aren’t just unsightly — they can also be openings for noise to travel through. Taking the time to find troublesome holes and cracks, both inside and outside your home, will add a small amount of soundproofing.

11. Teach Your Dog the “Place” Command

Be a great neighbor and help your dog learn the “place” command so that any time he hears the buzzer he goes to his place and waits with a toy as opposed to letting him bark to alert you that the doorbell has sounded.

There are so many ways of preventing unwanted sound from entering your home while also controlling what sounds you and the people you live with create inside your home. Excess sound may seem like a minimal interference but following these tips may surprise with the huge difference a quiet home can make. Without pesky noise pollution, you can devote more of your focus and energy toward the tasks that matter to you — and find it that much easier to hear yourself think. 

This article was contributed by Kenneth Gordon.  Have great content or product you’d like to share? Contact us and let’s hear it! We are accepting guest bloggers at this time.

Share