Dealing with noisy neighbours
With the increase in townhouse and apartment living, many homeowners share at least one wall with their neighbours. With single brick construction between dwellings, noise may be carried and be heard in the apartments or homes next door. The good news is that there are ways to soundproof your abode to reduce the amount of noise that you have to put up with.
Blocking noise via walls
Where one townhouse or apartment is joined to another, the main point of noise disturbance travels via the walls. If you own your dwelling, one of the easiest ways to reduce sound is to add just a single layer of drywall to your existing walls. Add two layers and your walls will block out even more sound, so much so that your neighbours could invite a rock band round for a party and you'd barely notice.
A rented townhouse or apartment is not quite as easy, but there are still ways to reduce noise levels. In a tiled space, simply adding a few thick rugs will help to absorb sound, as will thicker curtains and tapestries hung from the walls. In fact, the more padding you can add to a room, the more the sound is deadened.
Blocking noise via ceiling
Of course, your walls aren't the only paths that noise can take to your home. If you have an apartment or townhouse above you it's can be just as bad, if not worse, than noise from next door, especially if the dwelling has tiled floors. High heels on a tiled floor can sound like a marching band doing daily exercises.
A floating ceiling is one option, with an added layer of insulation. Because the floating ceiling is situated below the original ceiling, the space in between helps isolate noises from footsteps or similar sounds.
Acoustical tile is another option. This type of tile helps absorb and dissipate the remainder of the noise before it gets into your home. Similar, but far more affordable, is polystyrene ceiling tiles. These are simply glued onto the existing ceiling and help to dampen noise and come in a range of designs.
For rented homes you could simply drape a piece of fabric across the ceiling in a decorative manner. The fabric will help to absorb and dissipate a bit of the noise from above.
ABOVE: Now here's a way to block out noise from above - a padded headboard behind the bed that stretches up the wall and over the ceiling!
General nuisance noise
For an affordable solution to neighbour noise, try hanging heavy curtains that run from the floor to the ceiling. Heavy fabric can do quite a bit to dissipate sound. Add a few large, leafy plants near your windows as well. Remember, every bit of sound control you include adds up to reduce the total noise level.