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How to Deal With Shared Walls in a Condo

by Jann Seal, studioD

Living in a condominium means you’ll be sharing much of the space that’s outside your door, including the hallways, lobby, mail room, sporting facilities and garage. It’s hard to control your neighbors and their noise, especially late at night while they’re in the hallway. But there are ways to insulate your interior space and prevent neighboring noises from intruding, and to contain sounds coming from within your unit.

Keep any sound-making equipment away from the shared walls. Put your television on an interior wall or in a cabinet with insulation at the rear, if it's against a shared wall. Consider using headphones if you have difficulty hearing. Float your sound system toward the center of the room. Place the telephone away from a shared wall.

Check the floorboards that run parallel to a shared wall and be sure all caulking is tight and without cracks. Stuff the electrical switch boxes with approved material to muffle neighboring noise.

Soundproof your interior by checking the amount of draft that comes in and out at the bottom of your main door. Reset the door or get a new threshold that seals open space. Add a stuffed draft protector to the bottom interior of the door for an immediate fix.

Pad the walls that abut another unit as sound bounces through walls that connect in any way. Hang foam panels and cover them with fabric or leather to create a sound proof barrier between the apartments. Create an air space by installing an inner wall running parallel to the shared wall. Sound absorbs into the air space and won’t travel between units. Investigate installing commercial-grade sound insulation if the noise coming from other units is unbearable.

Arrange your bedroom in a way that the headboard doesn’t sit against a shared wall. Put it under a window or against an interior wall. Angle it in a corner if there is no other alternative. Pad the headboard if you must place it against a common wall. Keep computer equipment and other electronics that create sound, including your alarm clock, away from walls that connect to another unit.

Add fabric to your interior decor as hard surfaces emphasize noise. Hang curtains or draperies from floor to ceiling. Upholster the furniture and add decorative pillows. Lay area rugs on tile or wood floors and remove your shoes -- the sound of footsteps travels through the walls. Place canvas artwork on shared walls and decorate your dining table with a tablecloth and napkins. All absorb sound and help create a quiet environment.


  • Speak with your neighbors and try to find an agreeable solution to noise prevention.
  • Seal your windows.

About the Author

Jann Seal is published in magazines throughout the country and is noted for her design and decor articles and celebrity *in-home* interviews. An English degree from the University of Maryland and extensive travels and relocations to other countries have added to her decorating insight.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images