A couple laying in bed with their pillows covering their ears | LivingIn
NYC Living

Soundproofing Tips for Neighborly City Living

August 22, 2018

As a general rule, peace and quiet are not main features of city life; New Yorkers are used to dealing with loud sirens, subway delays, and crowded sidewalks. For this reason it means everything to have a quiet place to call home. If you can hear the street noise, traffic, or your neighbors when you are inside your home, try our soundproofing tips to create a more zen-like space for yourself.

A bedroom with several rugs to absorb sound | LivingIn

Soften things up with wall coverings and carpets.

No matter how minimal your aesthetic, bare walls and floors are not doing you any favors in the acoustic realm. That’s because sound waves have more space to reverberate on empty walls, creating an unpleasant echo effect. Invest in artwork and tapestries that will drown out the noise; the softer the surfaces in your home, the softer the outside noises will become. Try hanging thick tapestries or shag rugs on the walls, installing carpets or area rugs, and using thick drapes to drown out outside sounds.

Move your furniture

If you share walls with a noisy neighbor, think of your bookshelves, cabinets, chairs, and dressers as your first line of defense against sound. Soft furnishings against the wall will work especially well when positioned opposite other soft furnishings, as this placement dampens each sound’s reverberation.

Soundproof your windows

You can’t completely drown out a high-pitched police siren (they’re meant to be heard loud and clear, after all), but you can eliminate typical traffic and some construction noise by soundproofing your windows: the installation of a layer of laminated glass to your window pane for approximately $1,000 per window.

Try out acoustic foam

Acoustic foam is used by musicians to create functional home studios and it can also be used to soundproof your home. Luckily for us New Yorkers, the design of acoustic foam has come a long way in recent years. If you don’t love some of the designs available today, you can opt to create a custom design for your walls.

Add some wall insulation

Planning some upcoming renovations? Get rid of interior sound pollution by adding layers of packing insulation or using a thick layer of drywall. You’ll be amazed at what a difference those two adjustments will make in your home.

Get a white noise machine

A white noise machine is one of the most innovative soundproofing tips if thick fabrics and acoustic foam aren’t your solution of choice. Instead of trying to block out noise pollution entirely, noise machines use subtle white noise to mask the sounds of your noisy neighborhood (or neighbor). Good varieties can be found on the market for as low as $13.  

A man laying on the couch with over-ear headphones | LivingIn

Invest in good headphones

If these noise-canceling solutions aren’t enough, a good pair of headphones might be the right solution. The best of 2018 headphones range in price from around $100- $350, with varying options for noise cancellation, sound leakage, and battery life. For a less expensive soundproofing idea, consider picking up a quality pair of earplugs. It’s a great option to try before committing to a more intensive solution.

Looking for a quieter neighborhood instead of soundproofing tips? Check out homes for sale and rent in NYC’s quietest areas: Battery Park City, Financial District, Sheepshead Bay, Clinton Hill, SoHo, Boerum Hill, and Greenpoint.

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