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How to Soundproof an Apartment: Dos and Don'ts [2024]

December 19, 2023
Don’t let your noisy neighbors get the best of you. Find out how to soundproof an apartment and learn some tricks along the way.

Moving into a brand-new neighborhood and apartment complex is a thrill until you realize there's enough noise leaking into your apartment to rival a live concert.

Before you spiral into despair, there are ways to help prevent outside noises from ruining your peace. As a result, you can make your home a more comfortable place to live. Here are 9 strategies based on what we've heard from renters (and our own experiences as renters ourselves)!

How to Soundproof an Apartment

1. Identify Your Weak Spots

There's probably no need to go about soundproofing an entire apartment from top to bottom if the real issue is your front door or a shared bedroom wall.

In order to come up with a productive solution, you have to first identify which areas of your apartment are responsible for troublesome noise and focus on those areas. Some common culprits include

  • Windows/doors
  • Shared walls
  • Ceilings


2. Grab Some Blankets

Sound dampening or sound-proof blankets are a great low-cost, highly effective option. People in recording studios use soundproofing blankets, and they can work wonders in noise reduction for apartments, too. The noise-reducing material cuts noise considerably, especially when you pair this technique with other sound barriers for apartments.

The only caveat is that you need a friend or neighbor to you come up with a permanent solution to make apartment walls soundproof since these blankets are heavy and not easy to install on your own.


3. Install Soundproof Curtains

Soundproof curtains can also help block the sound from your windows when it comes to soundproofing a rental apartment.

Choose your favorite patterns, then install them on your windows. They’ll help block out pesky pups, sanitation workers, and idling trucks that love to hang around your noisy apartment building while soundproofing apartment windows simultaneously.

These curtains are heavy, so you'll probably want to do a standard drill installation. We tell you how to do that easily using templates in this guide to hanging curtains!

Cropped view of woman hand open pvc window with double glazing. Concept of noise cancellation and airing the room

4. Seal Your Doors and Windows

Keep sound from seeping through the cracks in your doors and windows while lowering your energy bills. Try an acoustic seal kit. You can also ask your landlord about weatherstripping your door and windows to eliminate gaps for apartment noise reduction.


5. Add Bookshelves

Want to soundproof a wall while creating more space? Add bookshelves around problematic walls to help soundproof your apartment. Then, fill them with your favorite books, souvenirs, storage baskets, and plants.


6. Cover Your Floor with a Rug and Pad

This tip is actually for the people around you (your neighbors will be grateful). Hardwood floors may look fantastic, but they often carry sound and bother neighbors below. Decrease the sound bouncing around your apartment, and have a heart for your downstairs neighbors.

Add a pad and rug to absorb sound; it could make your apartment complex a little happier.

Side view of a young woman and man holding a rolled carpet together. Boyfriend and girlfriend carrying a rug to put on their new bedroom

7. Add White Noise

When all else fails, it's time to get out the white noise machine. Choose your favorite songs and add a few sound machines or an app on your household devices to carry sound. Soft sounds can distract you from the more annoying sounds around you.

8. Approach Noisy Neighbors with Kindness

You may be at the mercy of your noisy neighbors with little recourse other than working it out with them. Go out of your way to smother your neighbors in kindness. Consider giving them some baked treats, a bottle of wine, and a nicely worded note if your apartment sound blockers are not working.

man holding clipboard - Building inspection - soundproofing an apartment

9. Get Your Landlord Involved

It may be time to call in your landlord if noise is a pervasive, disruptive issue in your apartment. The landlord may ask the neighbors to quiet down or devise ways to soundproof an apartment with different strategies like carpeting the apartment above you.

There’s also a chance that your landlord will let you relocate to a different unit.

Adding Drywall

If you decide you want to spend some money and effort on soundproofing, and you have your landlords permission, adding drywall is a cheap and effective way. Soundproofing Guide on YouTube explains how:

Apartment Soundproofing Tactics to Avoid

There are many ways to soundproof apartments that can help reduce noise. However, there are even more ways that won't work. Here are four soundproofing myths to avoid.

Young student or business woman sitting at home covering her ears with hands because she cant study or work on her laptop computer from loud noise coming from apartment above.

Skip the Egg Crates

Your friends may swear by egg cartons and crates, but they don't do much to reduce noise. You may be able to absorb some of the sounds that carry. However, egg cartons are an eyesore and mostly a waste of your soundproofing efforts.

Swear Off Foam Rubber

Do foam panels reduce noise? Soundproofing foam generally doesn't work, as sound tends to pass right through the porous textures.

Don't Go to the Mattresses

A mattress might deaden the noise coming through the wall slightly, though it generally won’t work, and it doesn’t look very good.

Woman putting soft orthopedic mattress on bed - soundproofing an apartment

Skip the Acoustic Panels

Do acoustic panels help soundproof? Acoustic panels for apartment walls can help reduce noise inside if your issue is sounds and echoes bouncing off your walls. However, they won’t do anything about the sound entering your apartment.

Bonus Tip: Find a New Place

If you've absolutely had it with noisy neighbors, take our easy quiz to get started finding a new place today!

Soundproofing FAQs

How do I know what kind of insulation and soundproofing an apartment has?

There's little way to know what kind of insulation and soundproofing an apartment has except to ask the landlord or property management. Have a candid conversation and let them know you're sensitive to noise and would like to learn more about the quality of the construction before signing a lease.

How do you know if an apartment has good soundproofing? The best way to tell if an apartment has good soundproofing is to ask to see it during a weekend morning before the brunch crowd heads out on the town. You can also ask to see the apartment one evening after work or on a weekend evening.

How do you soundproof a shared wall?

You can soundproof a shared wall by adding bookshelves, white noise, and approaching your noisy neighbors with kindness.

Why are apartments not soundproof?

Many older apartment buildings are more soundproof than the more modern builds. Because it is expensive to soundproof, it’s not common to find this feature in apartments today.

Does sound travel up or down in an apartment?

Typically, sound travels down in an apartment. This means that looking for an end unit or top floor unit can also reduce the chance of shared noise.

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Dr. Katherine Blake
Dr. Katherine Blake is a content editor with Apartment List, where she helps ensure our renter and rental management content is fresh and informed by the latest data. Read More
Susan Finch
Susan is an accomplished freelance writer whose passion for rental real estate, travel, and digital marketing has been the driving force behind her nearly 15-year career. Throughout her professional journey, Susan has become a seasoned veteran in creating compelling and informative content focused on the tenant/landlord relationship. Read More

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