In the wrong area, an apartment can become annoyingly saturated with the sounds of vehicles, people or even natural sounds like waves and wind. This article will detail a few simple decorating tips to reduce exterior noise.
Reinforce your Curtains
As the first line of defense between your apartment and unwanted noise pollution, your curtains are in a unique position to help you maintain a sane level of sound in your living space. If you are without curtains (or have curtains you don’t mind changing), think about trading them in for a heavier material; they can still be attractive and appropriate to your decoration scheme, but they will go a long way toward blocking out external noise.
If you already have thinner curtains that you’re not willing to replace, consider backing them in a second, heavier layer of similar- or complimentary-colored material.
Tapestries and Wall Artwork
If you have thin walls, or if the source of your auditory annoyance is coming from very close by, you might want to consider lining your walls with tapestries and/or wall-mounted artwork.
Tapestries can be found almost anywhere, and can lend a fun Bohemian feeling to your apartment as well as acting as insulation against external noise.
Wall-mounted artwork provides much the same kind of insulation, and is likewise available almost anywhere (depending on your taste). You could get posters from your favorite movies, pictures frames for your photos, even reprints of famous works of art. Canvas-printed art works especially well as insulation as it is both a sealed layer of canvas as well as a sturdy wooden frame.
If you’re open to rearranging your furniture setup, a couch, bed or armchair makes a great tool for insulation.
To rearrange your setup for maximum sound shielding, first locate the general direction from which the majority of sound is coming from. Next, line the wall(s) covering that direction with furniture that is thick enough to absorb sound, such as a couch, loveseat or armchair. Try to avoid things like dining tables or entertainment centers, as they appear to cover a large area, but in reality are too thin or perforated to make a difference.
Replace the Sound
If all else fails, you can always replace the troublesome noise with a sound more pleasing to yourself, such as music. A decent sound system run through either a stereo or computer can easily overpower most forms of noise pollution, and is much more pleasant to listen to than cars or obnoxious neighbors. In fact, with a little research, you can find aesthetically pleasing speakers that can be used as bookends or other decorative pieces, making them a fun and functional addition to your apartment’s décor.
Jordan Gaither: I’m a Communications major by trade, an artist by choice, a welder by day and a dancer by night (Okay, I made that last part up). Having lived in a succession of cramped, oddly-shaped apartments, I have a wealth of personal experience in apartment living, as well as arranging and decorating to maximize effect and livable space.