Whether you're a rental pro or preparing for your very first lease, it's important to follow the rules of respectful tenancy, especially if you're in a tightly packed neighborhood or a multi-unit building with very close neighbors. One of the most important aspects of rental living is to keep the noise down. It's considered very rude to bump your music too loud, listen to movies at a high volume, or throw wild parties before or after sunset. If this is starting to sound like a real drag, don't worry! There are several neat ways to enjoy a rich personal soundscape without bothering your neighbors, landlord, or property managers. All you need is a little DIY, non-invasive soundproofing.
Rental Safe Soundproofing
There are two major ways to soundproof a home, invasive and non-invasive. The former is more permanent and requires renovation rights while the latter only requires a little handiness and soft materials. Since you can't open up the walls and floor to add extra insulation, you can focus instead on temporary measures that won't permanently change your rental property and can even come with you to soundproof your next location.
Felt Furniture Pads
If you live in an upstairs apartment, the thumping and clacking of your movements and your furniture could be secretly driving your neighbors nuts. A few sticky felt pads on the bottoms of chairs, stools, tables, and other furniture can make a big difference. This is also a good opportunity to stabilize anything that wobbles.
The key to good soundproofing is to add sound absorbing materials to your environments, reducing the amount sound can carry out of your unit and the echoes created by hitting hard surfaces. While the texturing of your wall and ceiling paint does a little bit for this, thick throw rugs work much better and they're not just for floors. Rugs can serve as an inexpensive sound buffer mounted soundproofing on your walls as well.
Windows are a major source of sound leakage which can be minimized with heavy light and sound blocking curtains. If you enjoy the look of curtains, you can use them instead of rugs to add an elegant and deceptively spacious appearance to your home or apartment what will serve to block sound transferring through the walls. Curtains can also be draped like a canopy across your ceiling to absorb sound that goes upward.
Records on the Wall
Vinyl is surprisingly effective soundproofing material and you don't have to buy in sheets. Instead, consider pinning up your record collection to create an awesome collage of wall art while effectively blocking sound. Don't have a record collection? That's not surprising since they've been outdated for decades but you might be able to pick one up at a local thrift store.
Foam is a great, inexpensive soundproofing solution, but it's not pretty. For best results, put it behind other things to create a double-layer of sound resistant material. This is an especially useful solution if part of your problem is noise coming in from outside. Foam behind book cases against a wall keeps your cases from shaking and reduces noise transfer in both directions. Foam taped to your windows can reduce rattling and foam under an area rug can nearly eliminate the sound of your footsteps for downstairs neighbors.
Now that your rental home or apartment has been properly equipped to block sound from every possible direction, going out and coming in, you're ready for that all-night jam session or epic movie night with your best friends without the risk of bothering your neighbors. You might even consider sharing your best results so the whole neighborhood can gain the same indoor audio freedom.