4 ways to incorporate music into your apartment
Whether you’re a musically inclined household full of instruments or a music lover with a vinyl collection stacked to the ceiling, knowing how to properly store your musical possessions goes a long way in optimizing your listening and playing experience. Try out these 4 ways to create your own optimal “studio” apartment.
1. Soundproof your space
First things first, let’s talk acoustics. Similar to the light creeping in from under your blinds in the morning, soundwaves are able to pass through small holes and crevasses in your apartment.
Recording studios install acoustic foam panels to reduce the noise pollution by removing echoes and background sounds, and absorbing the sound rather than blocking it. This means that in order to create the optimal listening experience, you’re going to want to invest in some sort of “soundproofing.” Not only will it improve the sound for you, it will also dial down the sound flooding into common areas and through walls for your neighbours.
Ways to soundproof your apartment:
• Thick curtains help block out the sound from outside and keep your sound inside.
• Blankets around your apartment will help absorb the sound keeping it crisp, plus they’ll add a cozy touch to your apartment.
• Acoustic seals like this one are perfect for apartments that have a large gap between the front door and the floor. Install one of these at the base of your door to mitigate the sound creeping in and out.
• Bookshelves or vinyl shelves are best placed on your problematic walls. For example, if you can hear your neighbour from time to time, place your shelving on the wall that separates your suites and then fill them with your favourite vinyls, books, plants, or any other décor you see fit. This should help absorb the sound on both sides.
• Rugs pull together a space and also assist in absorbing sound, making them the perfect addition to your listening and playing space. If you’re looking for a little extra boost in sound absorption, consider a rug under-pad to add a little more cushion and thickness.
• Furniture will greatly reduce the echo in your apartment, especially smaller spaces. There’s a reason why open mics are held in cafés and bars instead of large open venues.
o If you’re slowly working on furnishing your apartment, consider placing your speakers or playing your instruments in the room that has the most furniture, and then adjust once your décor is more complete.
2. Place speakers and amps perfectly
Where you place speakers and amps can be tricky, so when you’re deciding where they’ll go, consider the following:
• Position your speakers so they play along the length of the room. This will help the sound flow and travel to your ear better.
• Speakers are generally designed to sound best when they’re level with your ears. If possible, hang them on a wall, place them on a shelf or sit them on a table or stool close to ear level.
• Don’t push your speakers directly against a wall. There should be space around them, even as little as 2-3 cm, to ensure the bass in the speakers isn’t rattling up the wall.
• It’s recommended that speaker systems with a subwoofer are placed at least 30 cm away from a corner in your apartment to prevent echo and reverberation.
• Remember the above point about sound absorption? If you place your speakers on a desk, shelf, TV unit or record player stand, don’t forget to put a thin layer of foam or another sound-absorbing material underneath to prevent shelving from reverberating.
• Lastly, don’t place things in front of your speakers! This one seems obvious, but in a smaller apartment it’s easy to forget when you’re looking for places to store things. Speakers are designed for sound to travel freely out from the front of them, so anything blocking them will certainly change the sound experience.
For more tips on how and where to properly place your speakers, check out this helpful Cambridge Audio article.
3. Decorate with musical accessories
Musical instruments don't only bring joy to our ears, they can be pleasing to our eyes, too. Who doesn’t love the look of a classic grand piano or a beautiful Gibson Les Paul? Musical instruments are art pieces on their own, so instead of locking them up in cases, hiding them in closets, or pushing them to the side when they’re not being played, consider incorporating them into your apartment décor.
This can be done by:
• Hanging instruments on the wall: Whether it be a saxophone, guitar, violin or triangle, pick a shaded spot of your apartment and set up some wall hooks. This makes it easy for you to take down and play, but also acts as a focal point on your wall.
• Set up a “stage” area: This one really depends on whether or not you have the space in your apartment, but if you can, set up an area for your instruments with proper stands and a nice rug, add a little bit of decorative lighting and you’re ready for any jam session.
• Piano “styling”: Place plants, photos, books and other little décor items on and around your piano to make it feel like it’s part of a gallery wall.
o Speaking of pianos, have you ever considered painting yours? If you’re looking to add a little something different, try giving your piano a new coat of paint to better match your décor or even blend with your wall colour.
• Nooks: Do you have a little space in your apartment you’re not sure what to do with? It’s too small to fit a chair or bookcase, but might be just right for your instruments! Take a look here for some inspiration.
If you’re looking for some more inspiration on how to incorporate your instruments into your apartment décor, check out this article.
4. Create a record player station
So maybe you’re not the one with the musical talent, or you don’t have any instruments to decorate your apartment with. Why not take your vinyl collection out of storage and give it new life?
Vinyl’s have made a comeback in a big way and are becoming a household staple again. Whether you’re building up a collection, looking for storage solutions, or rediscovering the classics, consider these tips when setting up your record player station (while keeping the above tips of speaker placement in mind):
• Organization is key: With everything available online, sometimes we forget how to actually organize things that aren’t digital. Don’t forget, vinyl records are very thin and when used often, see a lot of wear-and-tear. This means that in order to find things quickly without frustration, you need a system. We’ve set our records up alphabetically, but sorting by colour is a good idea that’s both easy to use and visually appealing.
• Try to keep it all out of the sun: In addition to sun damaging the beautiful album art, the heat will actually cause your vinyl’s to warp and distort over time, resulting in a less-than-ideal listening experience. Take a look at this article to learn how to properly store your vinyl to minimize damage.
• Always store upright and vertical: Keep your vinyl’s looking tidy in their upright position always. To prevent sliding, use cute and stylish book ends, potted plants, or any other décor your heart desires.
• Keep them together: Whether it's multiple shelving units, crates or any other creative storage solution, we suggest keeping your records together. If they’re all over the place, your frustration level when searching for what to play will be amplified more than the music!
• Keep your dust cover closed: When you’re playing records, it’s easy to forget to close the lid. But remember, it exists to keep your vinyl’s fresh and free from dust to keep them as good as new.
• Remember the speaker set-up rules: As mentioned above, where to place your speakers really does matter. Consider our tips above when figuring out where and how to arrange speakers in your space.
• Add your personal touch: There’s no right and wrong way to set up your record player station – so jazz it up any way you like. Music is supposed to bring you joy, so do what makes your heart sing and find inspiration on Pinterest.
It’s important that you love your space – and if you’re a music lover, there’s no reason why your instruments or vinyl collections need to be stashed out of sight. Get creative and add them to your décor in ways that also enhance your listening experience (and keep the peace with your neighbours).