Soundproofing Your Apartment: Myths vs. Reality

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We know that whether you’re sharing an apartment, coliving, or living in a condominium complex, noise from your neighbours can be irritating. Soundproofing your apartment or room can have great results for both reducing the noise coming from outside or preventing sounds from leaving the room. The best way to kick start your soundproofing is to know what you’re working with – so make a list of the places that seem to let noise in and out of your space. Problematic areas typically include doors, windows, empty walls, and floors.


Soundproofing vs Sound Absorption

First thing’s first, you should be aware of the difference between soundproofing and sound absorption. Both soundproofing and sound absorption have benefits, but they achieve a different result.

  • Soundproofing: This technique is used to (1) isolate sound inside a room, or (2) keep sound out of a room. Soundproofing materials are usually solid and heavy, since the activity of physically reducing ‘room to room’ sound requires the materials to be thick enough to reflect sound and keep it enclosed within the room. Rooms like theatres, cinemas and studios often use soundproofing to stop unwanted sound entering or leaving the space.
  • Sound absorption: This is a method of reducing the echo and noise within a space, by utilising products designed to soak up sound. Craftily placed sound absorbing materials on walls or ceilings can help to solve a variety of noise issues. So, people often think they are looking for a soundproofing solution, but are really looking to bring into effect sound absorption techniques.


Myths to Avoid Falling For

Do not be mistaken – there are plenty of commonly cited soundproofing solutions that are not effective. Here are a few things to be aware of when investigating your options:

  • Acoustic wall panels won’t stop noise transfer: The idea that covering a wall with acoustic panels will effectively soundproof a room is a myth! If your space contains a lot of hard surfaces, then sound is more capable of bouncing around the room more easily. Acoustic panels can provide a small amount of soundproofing, but cannot prevent external noise from entering your space in the first place.
  • Foam rubber does not soundproof: It turns out that the material used on your mouse pad or yoga mat is also ineffective in soundproofing your room. Soundproofing materials are designed to disrupt and absorb sound waves, and the composition of foam rubber does not have those qualities. So beware – sticking yoga mats to your wall won’t help to soundproof your room.
  • Soundproof paint and wallpaper are not worth it: Soundproof paint and wallpaper are options that surface when Googling how to soundproof a room. However, these techniques have been found to only marginally reduce noise levels. Soundproof paint promises absorption of sound waves, offering an inexpensive way to soundproof your room. However, due to the thinness of the paint, it’s ability to soundproof is very low. Soundproof wallpaper presents another option that is too thin to provide soundproofing that lives up to its promises. This wallpaper is typically made from wallpaper backed by foam or a different sound muffling material. While this has the ability to lessen general room-to-room noise, it does not soundproof the room. These options also fail to block high and low frequency sound like high pitched music or traffic noise.


Realistic Solutions

Now that you are aware of the myths that exist, here are some realistic soundproofing and sound absorption techniques that you can integrate into your solution for effective noise reduction: 

  • Purchase more furniture or rearrange existing furniture: The amount of furniture you have, and how you arrange it makes a significant difference in sound absorption. Soft furniture like sofas and armchairs have the ability to absorb some noise, but arguably more effective than that is cleverly arranging your furniture. Display your furniture to avoid having big, empty spaces in the room to improve sound reduction.
  • Get thick rugs: Thick rugs are not only a cosy addition to your room, but also increase the acoustic absorbency of the space. Rugs reduce the noise of you walking on the floor, and also reduce noise reflection from the floor, making for a more quiet room. 
  • Hang curtains: Curtains also have the dual benefit of reducing outside noise as well as reducing the light in your room. So, people who have curtains tend to have better sleep due to reduced light and noise. 
  • Apply window inserts: Average single pane or double pane windows are not typically capable of preventing a significant amount of external noise. Soundproof window inserts are designed to reduce the outside noise that comes through windows, creating a more tranquil environment. Inserts are usually made from laminate glass that reduces sound vibrations and also provides increased insulation, fitting tightly into your window frame-block. Another great benefit of this technique is that it is a relatively inexpensive solution. 
  • Replace your door or seal the existing door: It is understandably frustrating when the door to your room is unsuccessful at blocking outside noise. If you have this issue, there are a couple of options, however unfortunately neither of them are easy fixes:

(1) Seal up the door by taking it to a specialist who can fill the door with soundproof material

(2) Buy a new door that already contains soundproof material


Having a quiet and tranquil space where you feel at peace is important, regardless of if you are in your own house, or staying in short-term accommodation. Many of the tips provided in this article present realistic and feasible solutions that you can bring into effective action. In addition, now that you know the integral elements of having a quiet room, you can keep these in mind when looking for your next accommodation. If the apartment already integrates these soundproofing and sound absorption techniques – you don’t even have to worry about employing them yourself! Here at Relogo, we have vast experience in helping people find the best accommodation option for them. Whether your priorities include having a quiet room, access to facilities, or closeness to public transport, Relogo work with you to ensure that your needs are met as closely as possible. 



Aside from short term accommodation search, Relogo can also assist with tailored home search services, moving and storage solutions, and school search, among other complimentary a-la-carte relocation services. If you are looking for more comprehensive help, our team also provides concierge service packages. We are happy to lend our expertise to any enquiries, so don’t hesitate to contact us now.