Home Gym

Design a Functional & Motivating Home Gym

The importance of a workout space, fitness room or home gym was highlighted in 2020. If you have yet to assign and design a specific exercise space, it’s possible to make any area fit your workout routine.

Whether the space available is a corner of a bedroom, a niche carved out of a garage, or a fully dedicated space such as a guest bedroom or an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), there are several things to make it more functional and inviting.

Location is Key

Just as with real estate, determining the correct location to establish your workout space is the crucial first step.

The main question to ask is how much space do you need for your workout activities? Do you need space to swing kettlebells, do mountain climbers, burpees, or enough room for virtual dance fitness classes? Or do you only need enough floor space for a yoga mat or stationary bicycle? Do you engage in various physical activities with different space needs for equipment and the workout itself?

Equipment Storage

Some fitness regimens require little equipment while others, such as weightlifting, benefit from proper and accessible storage. Racks for weights, sturdy shelving for towels, yoga blocks, and small hand weights and kettlebells, baskets for yoga mats and foam rollers, hooks for towels and resistance bands, vertical racks, and other containers can keep your home gym tidy and equipment at your fingertips. If you have an available closet, it can be ideal for housing equipment while preserving floor space.


Maintaining proper form when lifting weights or doing yoga is critical to getting the most out of the exercise and avoiding injury. Having a full-length mirror to check appropriate body placement is beneficial. Hang a mirror on a wall, on the back of a door, or closets. If you don’t have the wall space for a permanent mirror, have a lightweight mirror tucked away that can be pulled out when needed. Mirrors also offer the bonus of helping to brighten a dark space and make it appear larger.


Appropriate flooring not only makes your fitness area more attractive, it, too, is integral in injury prevention. Hardwood or luxury laminate floors are ideal for HIIT or dance fitness as they allow for lateral movement. Yoga or Pilates mats also work well on these surfaces. If the room or space you’ve designated has flooring that needs protection, or for a softer nonslip surface, interlocking foam or low-pile adhesive carpet tiles are a good option. For high-impact exercises, a plyometric mat provides a thicker and denser surface.

Air Flow

Ideally, your workout space should have at least one operable window but even then, having a portable or ceiling fan for added air movement will make your home gym much more comfortable.

TV, Laptop or Tablet

These days, many people work out to virtual classes while others enjoy watching television while on the treadmill or elliptical. Consider installing a wall-mounted flat-screen TV or having a laptop or tablet with a stand or small table at the ready. (Be sure that your space also has a good WiFi connection and install a booster if necessary.)

Add Inspiration

Creating a workout zone that inspires activity is just as critical as having the right equipment. Our surroundings have a direct impact on our mood and motivation. Natural and/or artificial lighting, energizing colors, inspiring artwork, and music are all ways to encourage activity. A great design trick is to create a focal wall. Cover with photos, inspiring quotes, or a vibrant wallpaper. Live plants help clean the air and instill a soothing touch of nature. Find the things that speak to and inspire you to make the most of your exercise routine.

Other Ideas

A mini-refrigerator to hold cold drinks is an excellent addition to your home gym when space allows. Use aromatherapy diffusers to imbue invigorating or calming scents and set up a small area with a comfortable chair to relax and cool down after a strenuous workout.

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