The sound in apartments – and what can be done about it

The new apartment should have plenty of space, high-quality materials should be used and, of course, the rooms should be flooded with light. But often these very conditions ensure that living rooms have poor room acoustics with many disturbing factors. But the noise and poor acoustics sooner or later ensure that the occupant does not feel particularly comfortable within his or her own four walls.

What are the types of sound?

A distinction is made here between structure-borne sound and airborne sound. Structure-borne sound describes the propagation of sounds in liquids (water pipes) and solids (walls, floors, ceilings). Structure-borne sound introduced into water pipes and walls always results in airborne sound, which is then perceived by the ear. Very loud airborne sound, for example from passing traffic, can also be converted into structure-borne sound on walls and windows. Inside the room, the oscillating windows and walls then generate audible airborne sound again.

What are the causes of poor room acoustics?

Especially extensive living areas play a major role here, because here the airborne sound can unfold and spread well. Sound transmission is also favored by smooth surfaces, which help the sound to spread and also amplify it. But what can be done about the annoying sound? A few possibilities are highlighted in the following of the text.

The great room and matching furniture

As mentioned above, the size of the room is a significant point for the propagation of sound. This can be counteracted by making the rooms smaller. Don’t worry, you don’t have to remodel your apartment for this: For example, it is enough to install a room divider. A sliding glass door not only looks modern and maintains the open structure of the room, but also additionally shields sound from the neighboring room. But also in the design of furniture in the room can be considered a few things, so that the sound is reduced. Large walls of cabinets paired with open furniture ensure that the sound is intercepted and thus the room acoustics are a lot better.

Thermotec AG - The sound in apartments - and what can be done about it - pexels photo 259962
Thermotec AG - The sound in apartments - and what can be done about it - pexels photo 259962

Here, disturbing airborne sound is reduced with sliding glass door and carpet.

If many textiles, such as carpets or sofas/armchairs, are distributed in the room, then this has a positive effect on the background noise in the room. After all, the textiles swallow the noise and so it is demonstrably quieter in the room. So, if there are a lot of empty walls in the apartment, because its inhabitants prefer a minimalist interior, oak furnishings with textile surfaces should be urgently – whether carpet, sofa, or even curtains. With them, peace returns to your own four walls. If you like it a little more extravagant, you can, of course, use tapestries or textile pictures. These also work wonders against the sound and muffle it.

The kitchen – the noisiest room

In most households, the kitchen is full of life. There is cooking, cutting and clattering with dishes. Then there are the many kitchen appliances, which are also noisy. The fight against bad acoustics can also be waged in the kitchen. First, care must be taken to get to the root cause of the noise. Care should be taken to purchase high-quality kitchen appliances. Newer models are usually more advanced and operate much quieter. If you want to be on the safe side, you should check the technical data sheets of the devices. A sound level is often specified there. But even outside the kitchen, this value is specified for electrical appliances, such as the vacuum cleaner.

Thermotec AG - The sound in apartments - and what can be done about it - kitchen 2165756 1920
Thermotec AG - The sound in apartments - and what can be done about it - kitchen 2165756 1920

A bad example: many large surfaces and smooth surfaces make for a noisy kitchen.

Small tricks

Quick effect to prevent noise, achieve insulating underlays. If the washing machine stands on such, then the transmitted noise is reduced many times. Many floors are also difficult to walk on quietly: High shoes on wood. This structure-borne sound (impact sound) introduced into the floors is definitely heard by residents and neighbors! However, this looks different on carpet, which is why many carpets are a quick and helpful remedy for noise. Felt glides under chairs and tables are also efficient, inexpensive and quick to attach, providing an immediate effect. Especially on the stairs a lot of noise is generated when walking: For this purpose, there are now stair mats with impact sound absorption. These absorb the noise even better.

Major measures against the noise

In almost every home, residents hear water flowing through the pipes – whether taking a shower or going to the bathroom. And that, of course, can be very annoying. To stop this, however, major steps must be taken. If the pipes are decoupled with pipe clamps and additionally contained, then nothing can be heard of the flowing water in the interior. High-quality mixer taps in the shower and sink also reduce flow noise, as they should generate less “turbulence” inside due to better construction.

Thermotec AG - The sound in apartments - and what can be done about it - living room 2583032 1920
Thermotec AG - The sound in apartments - and what can be done about it - living room 2583032 1920

Well done! Beanbags, plants, a sofa and a rug provide tranquility.

Creaking wooden floor can be made silent again with professional help. The loosened nails only need to be professionally reattached. Also in the fight against noise from outside, should work with insulation. Here, as a rule, the seals between the window and the wall are the noise-permeable element. The sounds can also penetrate through doors. This should also be reviewed.


Airborne sound and structure-borne sound within one’s own four walls can be counteracted in a variety of ways. Often, even small changes are enough to achieve a more pleasant soundscape in his home.

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