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by Marilyn La Jeunesse

So your apartment is perfect — except for the unnecessary (and totally undesired) noise. Whether you’re fighting outside noise pollution, high ceilings, a loud neighbor, or overall acoustics, there’s a non-permanent solution available — no renovation required.

It’s important to remember that hard, smooth surfaces tend to reflect sound more than soft, uneven surfaces, and that the goal of soundproofing your home is to lessen the noise within the room — after you’ve located where the unwanted sounds are coming from.

Don’t fret if you don’t stop the noise the first time around. Often, you might have to experiment a little before finding the perfect soundproofing technique for your space.

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rugs are your friend

When it comes to absorbing sound, there’s no such thing as too many rugs. Don’t be afraid to get creative with the placement of rugs in your apartment. Layer them on top of each other, scatter multiple rugs around your room, or hang a few of your favorites from the wall to solve your echo problem once and for all. Of course, even just one large area rug can help drastically change the noise level in your apartment. The thickness of the carpeting helps absorb echoes and other loud sounds, preventing them from traveling around your home. This solution is especially beneficial if you live in an apartment with hardwood or tiled flooring.

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invest in soundproof curtains

Too much noise outside of your window? Living without a door on your bedroom? It might be time to invest in some heavy-duty soundproof curtains. Forget the sticker shock for a moment, because the price you pay will be seriously worth every penny for peace and quiet. The dual layers on the curtains help create a thickness that will help muffle any unwanted noise from entering your home.

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get creative with some soundproof art

Believe it or not, canvas artwork can act as a soundproofing agent. To create soundproof artwork, you’ll first need canvas art, which you can purchase or create yourself. Once you have your artwork, attach an acoustic tile to the back. Make sure the tile is cut to the size of the artwork, then super glue it inside and attach it to the wall for instant soundproofing.

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embrace the boho tapestry look

Absorb any unwanted sound by hanging large, thick tapestries on your walls. The thicker the tapestry the better, because it makes it harder for sound to pass through (and also acts as a noise absorber, yay!). Tapestries are best used as sound-proofing when you’re sharing a conjoined wall with a roommate or neighbor. 

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embrace your green thumb

Surprisingly, plants can act as sound absorbers for any room. The leaves and stems help refract, absorb and deflect the noise around them (so cool!). So run to your nearest greenhouse, pick out a few beauties, and start decorating your home with sound-reducing plants.

Note: Larger plants help reduce noise better than smaller plants, so grab a few indoor trees, if your noise problem is seriously bad.

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put your bookshelf to work

Heavy, solid objects help prevent any unwanted sound from passing through. If you share a wall with a noisy neighbor or roommate, this is the perfect solution — just grab a bookshelf and start filling it up with books. The more the better!

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felt is your new best friend

A simple way to noise-proof your home is by adding a simple felt lining to the back of any solid piece of furniture. Place the felt against common walls, or in particularly echoey areas will help absorb any undesired noise reverberation. 

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drop ceilings are attractive and effective

Surprise! High ceilings can be the cause of unwanted echoes in your apartment. Luckily, there’s an easy fix: Drop ceilings. Secure a few gorgeous pieces of lumber across your ceiling to help lower the sound reverberation in the room (aka no more echo!). Want a more creative look? Stretch fabric across a frame and then suspend it horizontally from the ceiling. It’s a little extra effort, but the end design looks stunning.

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ditch these items

Put the glassware and ceramics away. No exceptions. Sound loves to reverberate off these items, thus amplifying any (and all!) noise. Store these items away and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Note: This is a wonderful opportunity to purchase fabric-covered storage containers. Think soft, plushy storage ottomans and benches to decorate your home.

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additional soundproofing ideas (egg cartons, door draft protector)

Want a super quick fix to solve your noise issues? Purchase a heavy-duty door draft protector to keep any unwanted noise from seeping in under your door.

Of course, you could always use the back of a few egg cartons to create pseudo-acoustic tiles. Make them a bit prettier by painting them to match your decor, then mount them on the wall and allow them to absorb any and all pesky sounds. 

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acoustic tiling can change your life

Acoustical tiling might be the easiest option for apartment renters who want to limit the amount of noise within a room. Although most of the tiles are inexpensive, you might want to spray paint them to make them more “apartment friendly,” because they’re definitely not winning any prizes for “best decor” anytime soon. Of course, there are fancier acoustic tiles available, but they’ll cost a pretty penny.

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cork-proof your home

Cork is a natural sound absorber and would be a simple way to soundproof any room. Make an entire cork wall, or cork-proof any part of any room. Hey, cork cabinets in a kitchen would look amazing! Need a more localized cork-proofing idea? Put your wine cork collection to good use by creating a backsplash (or large art piece) out of them.