Houses in city centers are built close to each other, and if you live in an apartment unit or within a compound, chances are that you are often bothered by street noises and those coming from your neighbors. If soundproofing your room(s) professionally is not an option at this time, know that there are simple ways you can reduce — not completely eliminate — outside noise so you can sleep, attend your meeting, study, or read in peace.
Do something about that door
If there are gaps around your front door or your bedroom door, outside noise likely travels through these leaks. You can buy a door sweep (thick rubber sweep) and seal the gap underneath to keep away not just noise but also bugs, dust, draft. Foam weatherstrips may also be used to seal the spaces along the sides and top of the door. Do this for every room in the house where you need quiet time, like your workroom or office, bedroom, and living room.
Use a carpet
Thick area rugs or carpets can help muffle unwanted sounds. Choose one that has a thick underpad and place them in your living room and/or bedroom to help with the noise problem.
Get the right furniture
Place a bookshelf (or cabinet, etc.) against a thin wall to reduce noise coming from the neighbor next door. Or use soft furnishings like a soft armchair or an upholstered bench to reduce the number of hard surfaces in a room, which increase noise vibrations.
Don’t forget your walls and ceiling
By the same principle, you can use a wall tapestry or fabric wall hangings to reduce sound reflection. Be a little adventurous and cover your ceiling with a patterned rug or textile mats. The idea is to have soft cloth or fabric all around to help minimize the noise. Of course, you can keep your photo frames and artworks but you might want to line the back with a piece of foam to help with the noise.
Heavy drapes can do the trick
Heavy-duty blackout curtains, velvet drapes, or thick, pleated curtains can help absorb some of the disturbing sounds. So consider having them inside the crucial rooms in your house instead of sheer curtains, blinds, and other non-fabric window treatments.