Q. We live in a condominium and our next-door neighbor is driving us crazy with noise that comes right through our bedroom wall. Are there any attractive soundproofing solutions out there?
A. Interior designer Ellen Rosenberg (773-720-5167), who has dealt with such issues many times, suggests blowing in insulation, putting acoustical tiles or cork on the wall, adding wainscoting, or hanging felt-backed art. “Any outer layer will help baffle sound,” she says. “You can also hang a heavy, lined drapery behind the bed. It’s a dramatic effect. I wouldn’t do it on all four walls, but it would look great behind the bed.”
Blowing in insulation? This sounds daunting until contractor Jonathan Rubenstein, from Paint Jar (847-926-9476), explains it to us. “You don’t have to open the whole wall,” he says. “You make a four-inch hole in it and blow in insulating material that fills all the voids-the gaps and crevices.” He uses cellulose, not fiberglass, for this purpose, because “it’s a green product, recyclable, with no V.O.C.s [volatile organic compounds].” Rubenstein also says you can install drywall over your existing wall, tape it, and paint it.
Dana Terp, of Terp Meyers Architects (919 N. Michigan Ave., 312-266-2809), suggests floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. He also mentions a new product called Acoustiblok, a thin, flexible sheet of soundproofing material containing no lead or asbestos that’s fastened to the wall studs before the drywall is mounted. If you’re adding a sheet of drywall, you could install Acoustiblok at the same time. Check it out at acoustiblok.com.