Good Questions: Soundproofing a Nursery

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AT reader Dave wants to know: How do you all soundproof your nurseries? We live in a multi-unit apartment building, and our nursery walls, floor, and ceiling abut other apartments. At least two of our neighbors are complaining about our 3 month old's crying, especially when she cries at night. How do other apartment dwellers handle this? this is our first baby, and we have no idea what to do, and my wife is getting dirty looks down by the mailboxes in the lobby from our neighbors.

Wow - your neighbors are a nice lot, aren't they? We have some ideas that might help though, and while 'move' is top of the list, if that isn't an option, we have a few others, below.

The emptier the room is, the more sound will echo and travel, so if your nursery is somewhat bare, now might be the time to ditch the minimalist look and get some 'stuff' between the baby and the walls.

The most obvious idea is to move the crib away from a shared wall to an interior wall. Friends of ours also bought large, blank, mounted pieces of canvas from an art supply store and hung them on the wall their nursery shared with the apartment next door, to muffle the noise. The canvases were not left blank - they bought some acrylic paints and had a great time painting their own modern art. Neither are artistic, but the results were still pretty good.

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We would also put down carpet if you have bare floors - something like this rug from Overstock.com (right) might do the trick, and you can often catch $1-2 shipping sales there. Wool is a better sound baffle than cotton, and a tufted rug is better than a flat-woven one for sound containment. Get a big rug - one that nearly covers the floor, rather than an area rug, for best sound retention.

If you really wanted to go all out, you could always blow a popcorn ceiling up - they work as an acoustic baffle, for your neighbors upstairs benefit - but they are very ugly, a pain to get down later, and if you rent, may require a landlord's approval.

AT Nursery readers, how did you handle this situation? We know some of you must have experienced this - what should Dave and his wife do?