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Noisy Neighbors?
by Kari Lamanuzzi

It's a scene all too familiar for renters everywhere: 2 am and you know your alarm will be going off in a few short hours but you can't sleep. You aren't sure if it's the girl upstairs reliving her experience at the NKOTB reunion show, tears and shrieks included, or the guy next door who is panging out the opening to "Come As You Are" on his guitar for the 12th time, but your earplugs just aren't cutting it today. So what can you do? Well, here are a few tips to help you soundproof your rental space (and keep your security deposit!).

Magic Carpet Ride
It may seem obvious but carpet is a great way to reduce noise distribution in your apartment. If you have the ever sought after hardwood flooring, it will work against you if you have noisy neighbors. Invest in some area rugs, the plush ones work best and they are especially great for breaking up a studio apartment into distinct areas. It's the perfect excuse to buy that shag rug you've been pining over but can't bring yourself to buy.

If These Walls Could Talk
If you feel like your walls are made of elaborate origami, try these helpful tricks. Egg crate mattress covers tacked to the wall and then covered with a tapestry are a low budget way to decorate and soundproof your apartment without the look of industrial soundproofing mats, and if you use tall, skinnier tapestries it gives the illusion of higher ceilings, too. Bookshelves are another great way to reduce sound coming in from your next door neighbors, especially if you keep them full of heavy textbooks (see, they came in handy after all!). Try to avoid hanging anything on your walls that may resonate vibrations from sound, though...those vintage tin signs look really cool but when you hear the subtle humming they make against the wall as Nirvana boy cranks the amp, you may rethink them.

Window To The Soul
If windows are the eyes of your apartment, you want yours to be Tammy Faye Bakker. Just as tapestries and plush carpeting help to keep sound from resonating, so do curtains and drapes. The best thing about this is that it is easy and inexpensive. You just need large panels of fabric to drape over your curtain rod and you've got instant noise reduction, privacy protection, AND style. Again, drapes that dust the floor also add an appearance of height to your ceilings.

Talk It Out
Sometimes the best thing to do is talk to your neighbors. If they are night people and you have to get up early, let them know. Compromise will get you far, too. Approach them with a list of things you will do to help reduce the noise you produce and ask them to do the same. Also, if you come with baked goods in hand you'll score extra brownie points, no pun intended. If you have tried this, talk to your landlord because some places implement mandatory quiet hours, much like a college dorm.

When it comes to rental living, remember the Golden Rule and be respectful to your neighbors if you want a chance of them returning the favor. Don't forget to talk with roommates who may be disturbing neighbors when you aren't around and make sure everyone is on the same page. While it's hard to put any installation soundproofing in your rental home or apartment, you can use these tips to diminish any neighborly noise pollution. It may not make your humble abode sound-proof but unless your alarm clock plays "Hangin' Tough", you won't have to wake up to Joey MacIntire.

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