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Tips to Reduce Noise in Your Home

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Reduce NYC NoiseA common concern in NYC is how to reduce noise at home.  Whether the sounds are coming from your own appliances, street traffic, or neighbors, background noise can disrupt sleep, increase stress levels, and distract from the calming feel of your living spaces.  For people with a home office, background noise also can cut down on productivity by lowering concentration.  Follow these tips to create a quieter, more peaceful home.

  • Tighten door and window openings: Since noise can enter your home through even the smallest of spaces, make sure that windows and doors are not contributing to the problem.  Make sure that weatherstripping is in place and caulking has been done properly.  If you plan to replace windows, make sure that you select ones with sturdy frames and thick glass that have enough air space between the panes to maximize sound blockage.
  • Insulate walls and attic: Proper insulation can help to reduce noise levels in addition to increasing the energy efficiency of your home.
  • Install carpeting or use area rugs: Hardwood floors are beautiful but they won’t block noise from downstairs neighbors.  Carpeting or area rugs combined with sound-absorbing padding can make your living spaces quieter. You also will be doing your neighbors a favor, as they won’t hear you walking throughout your home.
  • Insulate the floor: If you own a co-op or apartment, it is possible to insulate the floor below the base boards.  This is even more effective than using carpeting or area rugs.
  • Install noise blocking window treatments: Heavy drapery, shades, or shutters made from sound blocking or absorbing fabrics can reduce the amount of outside noise that enters your home.  Velvet and wool work better than lighter, more gauzy fabrics.  Some curtains come with a noise-absorbing core between decorative panels.
  • Soundproof the laundry area: Whether you have a full laundry room or simply a small closet area where you have carved out space for a washing machine and dryer, steps can be taken to soundproof the area.  These appliances are some of the noisiest in any home.  Make sure to reduce gaps around the door and consider adding insulation.
  • Position furniture farther from exterior or shared walls: If noise is a concern at night, positioning your bed farther from an exterior wall can reduce noise.  When the bedroom shares a wall with a neighbor, moving it also can cut down on the amount of sound that you hear.  You may even want to consider putting an item such as a bookcase on a shared wall to muffle sound.
  • Don’t leave rooms sparse: The emptier a room is, the more it will allow sound to bounce around and echo.  Make sure that you have enough soft surfaces to absorb sound.  Upholstered pieces such as chairs and sofas will help to make your home quieter.

If noise from the street, your neighbors or within your own home has become disruptive, following these tips can help to create a more peaceful environment.  Simple changes such as new window treatments, furniture layout, or rugs can lead to more restful sleep and increase your comfort level at home.

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