My Apartment is Too Noisy – Help!

Originally posted on December 08, 2021 3:00 pm
Updated on December 07, 2021 2:11 pm

It is no secret that New York City is one of the noisiest places in the world. Between people honking their horns, blasting music on the sidewalks, and ambulances rushing by, it is rare to find a quiet space in this bustling city. Even people that have lived here their entire life will tell you that the noise becomes irksome from time to time. Not only can the streets emit obnoxious sounds, but so can your neighbors. With old buildings comes thin walls in which you can hear in depth details about others’ conversations. Regardless of how nosy you are, a fight downstairs happening at 2AM is not the most pleasant lullaby. So, how do you navigate this? What can you do to avoid stuffing earplugs in and hoping for the best? 

We have compiled a list of a few ways to remedy your issue. There is no need to bang on your ceiling with a Swiffer (been there, done that) in hopes your neighbors will quiet down. Don’t make yourself crazy, just follow the steps below! 

Photo by Elyas Pasban on Unsplash

1. Cover Up Your Walls 

There are many ways to stylishly avoid loud noises. With a simple Google search, sites may tell you to cover your walls with blankets, moving pads, or quilts. However, this is not the most ideal unless you enjoy the look of blanket hung up on your wall. If you add a soft surface to the space it can absorb loud noises and make your room a lot quieter. To do this, you can invest in a decorative tapestry which are trendy these days. They sell them on Urban Outfitters, Amazon, Etsy, RedBubble, and most other interior decoration sites/stores. But if a tapestry is of no interest to you there are other options. You can buy decorative felt tiles, soundproof panels that you can paint yourself, or any sort of wall tile. Just make sure you are purchasing something that is easily removable especially if you live in a rental. Having to paint over walls at the end of a lease is never fun. 

2. Install Carpets 

We recommend carpets due to their ability to preventing sound from bouncing off the floor and wall. Something that I have personally found to be effective is layering rugs. Not only does it look stellar if you do it right, but does it truly minimize loud noises. You can start off with a larger area rug and then put smaller ones on top depending how big or small your space is. They are a bit of a pain to clean, but that is just a small price to pay in regard to the bigger picture. Vacuuming every couple of days is worth it if it means reducing unwanted sounds. 

3. Seal Your Door 

Sealing your door will definitely aid in preventing noise from your neighbors. Amazon sells door sealing strips for as low as $10. They’re not the most aesthetically pleasing, but they get the job done. They can also be used to prevent cold drafts coming under your door if that is something you also struggle with. Sealing strips are easy to install and last a while. 

4. Sound Machine 

Whereas this is less technical than the other remedies, sound machines have essentially saved my New York City life. There is a bar next door to me with an outdoor patio which creates an incredibly annoying amount of noise most months out of the year. Even with my windows closed, I can still hear blaring music at late hours of the night. To fix this, I invested in a sound machine and I could not recommend it more. Going from sleeping in silence to having a noise machine sounding most hours of the day did take some adjusting, but it drowns out every and all loud sounds. Sound machines are sold all over the internet and are often not too expensive. However, if you do not want to purchase one you could download a free sound app on your phone or have a YouTube video looping throughout the night. Some of my favorite sounds to help me focus and/or sleep are white noise and rain. Not only does it eliminate loud noise but is it extremely relaxing. 

5. Install Acoustic Windows 

We place this option lower on the list because it is definitely not as convenient as the others. This will take a little more work on your end in regard to installation and it is also something you should run by your landlord first. You can purchase sound absorbers for windows on Amazon or somewhere like Home Depot and place them over your windows to minimize street noise. On the other hand, there are also sound-dampening curtains that can drown out noise, but they are heavy and not always the most stylish. This really depends on preference though. Acoustic caulk is also a way to seal up windows, but again we really recommend speaking to your landlord first. Some may not allow such installments and they can become a pain to remove when it is time to move out. 

6. Buy Some Bookshelves! 

Whether they are ones that you hang or ones that you place on the floor, bookshelves serve as excellent sound insulators. Although bookshelves become a bit tricky when you are trying to avoid unwanted noise because if you don’t arrange them properly, they will not be as effective. If you place books and a few other trinkets, it should do the job just fine. If you have a load of clear surfaces it could potentially make the noise worse. 

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