7 soundproofing hacks to drown out your noisy neighbors

No, none of these involve moving out

Published July 22, 2022 11:00AM (EDT)

 (Rocky Luten / Food52)
(Rocky Luten / Food52)

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There's a saying among the acoustics junkies, home improvement enthusiasts, and city dwellers of Reddit: Sound is like water — it can find its way into a space through even the smallest opening. In other words, making a room, let alone an entire apartment, completely soundproof can feel like a Sisyphean effort. As hopeless as they may sound, these same Reddit users do their best to, at the very least, reduce the amount of noise that seeps its way into their homes. And, lucky for us, they're more than willing to share their hacks with the rest of the internet-browsing public.

Whether you're dealing with a loud neighbor, constant construction, or bumper-to-bumper traffic right outside your window, you can counteract some of the cacophony using some of the tips below:

1. Furnish, furnish, furnish

Here's the thing: the less you have in your home, the more sound is going to bounce around and drive you absolutely bonkers. This one is the simplest of the bunch: furnish your apartment. This means laying down rugs (the fluffier, the better) wherever there's a bare wood or tiled floor, filling the room up with soft furnishings like chairs, couches, and blankets, and hanging up curtains.

Think about it: when you moved into your empty apartment, your voice would throw across the room and reverberate in an unsettling way, but once all your possessions were in place, the sound was much better absorbed. This, combined with preservation of flooring, is also why many buildings and landlords will require a certain percentage of the room be covered with rugs. So, get to laying more rugs down!.

2. Make your gallery wall do double duty

Sound reduction doesn't necessarily have to be a whole new DIY project — you can actually use your pre-existing decor to enhance your home's resistance. In one Redditor's case, this meant tacking felt, foam, and other soft, sound-absorbing materials onto the backs of framed pictures. Although the Reddtor's trick of using panty liners to cushion their hanging art is pretty darn funny (and not to mention inventive, we'd recommend sheets of fiberglass instead.

3. Try out acoustic panels

Listen, we know you don't live in a recording studio (or maybe you do?), and probably don't want to hang foam all over your walls to reduce the amount of noise coming in from your rude neighbors, so we present to you: acoustic panels. You can actually order sound-absorbing panels that look just like large canvas art, so as not to totally compromise the integrity of your decorated home. They're customizable too, so you can send any kind of art you'd like to be printed.

4. Plug up leaky doors

Doors can allow a sneaky amount of noise into your living space, especially if there are sizable gaps between them and their frames. Plus, if your interior doors have hollow cores, even more sound is liable to get through. Replacing any hollow core doors with solid ones will make a dramatic difference, as one Redditor noted, but if that isn't an option, they also recommended sealing the gaps around your doors with soundproofing adhesive. While this trick will work as well for your front door as for your bathroom door, another Reddit user suggested a hack that's particularly suited for interior doors: draft blockers. Although their intended use is insulation, draft blockers fit snugly between the bottom of your door and the floor, and thus stop sound from moving from room to room as easily.

5. Expand your home library

If you prefer a grand bookshelf to a gallery wall, you're in luck. Several Redditors have posted that leaning a large shelf, ideally one laden with heavy books, against a wall will help absorb some of the noise that's coming through from the other side. Extra credit if you add some of that fiberglass we mentioned earlier between the shelf and the wall — you can even find hangable fiberglass blanketsfor floor-to-ceiling shelves.

6. Browse wall hangings and upgrade your curtains

Who said tapestries were just for college kids? According to one Reddit user, thin walls can get a minor sound absorbency boost from fabric wall hangings — and there are plenty of grownup optionsto be found. Aside from tapestries, another Redditor claims that your windows can get a similar treatment from heavy, blackout curtains, in case street noise is the source of your woes.

7. And, as a last resort: Cover up the noise

As silly as it may seem to walk around wearing earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones in your home, many Reddit users insist that it's the surest way to get some peace and quiet — especially when you're trying to sleepWhite noise machinesstreamable background sounds, and even humble box fans are said to work just as well, if you'd rather not physically plug your ears before hitting the hay.

By Sara Coughlin

MORE FROM Sara Coughlin

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