Sound Dampening Tricks for Noise Within Apartment?

Good Questions

Q: Apartment Therapy has posts about damping sound coming from external sources like street noise, but my concern is within an apartment I share with others. How can we reduce noise from an open space like the living room that is at the end of a long hallway that we all share? It's easy to watch TV in our rooms with closed doors without disturbing each other and no neighbors to speak of, but the living room is a different beast:

I know some tips like sound-absorbing curtains, but that's not that much of the wall space. We would also like to keep furnishings and gloomy blackout curtains to a minimum to have an open-feeling space too. It is hardwood floored so I will likely grab at least one area rug, and I've been contemplating sectioning the room near where it meets the hallway with a tall bookshelf. I just have no idea if those kinds of additions are worth trying, or if it's a lost cause just by design.

Are there any good tips and tricks you can suggest?

Sent by Jane

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.