The Rise of the Home Gym

The home gym has been a rising request and Wishlist item for basement renovations over the past number of years. However, the interest in carving out this type of space at home has certainly become a top priority this year. The year 2020 has brought on changes in lifestyle, habits and routines in just about every aspect of life, for just about everyone. With the temporary closures of businesses throughout the year, also came the closures of public fitness facilities and exercise studios. In addition to the stay-at-home orders in their various forms throughout the year, people have found themselves spending time indoors and in many cases trying their best to make their home function for them and their families in ways they may not have required pre-pandemic. These various other functions often included home office, boardroom, classroom, restaurant, movie theater and gym.


Whether the pandemic has brought to light the need or desire for an at home gym for you and your family, or it has been a long-anticipated item working its way up your Wishlist over the years, our design team has put together some tips on how to create an at home gym. A home gym that will allow you to stay active and healthy despite what the world is up to outside your four walls.

Location, Location, Location


Choosing the right location within your home for your gym space is one of the most important decisions. Most of the gyms we design are often part of a basement renovation. More often than not, basements have the most square footage available in the home to accommodate the size required to house all the equipment and clear area for activity. Basements gyms are often the chosen location as they are typically designed and constructed in conjunction with the rest of the basement and this allows you to plan out how integrated or separate the gym is to the rest of the finished spaces.


Depending on your fitness style preferences and the anticipated uses within your basement you can choose to make your home gym a separate room, perhaps with a solid door to create a more private and secluded atmosphere. This could be particularly beneficial if there are many multipurpose areas within the basement that could be occupied at the same time. A more intimate fitness area can also be desirable for certain focused-based exercises like yoga.


A fully open concept design may be chosen if you are looking for a way to make the basement feel as large as possible, while creating a more communal environment. If you prefer your equipment to be seen and admired by all and you don’t mind having your finished spaces both physically and visually connected, the open concept route may be the right fit for you.


For a middle ground option, we have designed gyms with large spanning full height glass walls to create a physical barrier that still allows for visual connectivity. A large barn door or glass French doors can also be an option when looking to create a gym area that is flexible to its connection to the rest of your basement.


Take Inventory

Making sure the floorplan works is critical! Like designing any room, the floorplan and furniture layout is especially important. A space can look beautiful, but if it is not functional and serving the users well then, the design has failed! Take inventory of your equipment, as well as keep in mind the items you may want to add to your collection in the future. This will help begin the process of calculating the floor area, wall and even ceiling space you will have to accommodate. When designing the layout of your equipment in your gym it is a good idea to mentally walk through your typical routines to see which pieces benefit from being next to or across from one another and which ones can be placed further away.

Beauty and Function

As mentioned above, form and function are critical in a home gym design. But that is not to stay style and beauty do not have a place too! When it comes to the materials and finishes in a gym space, they may need to serve different purposes then the rest of the finished basement. For instance, depending on the type of equipment and exercise being done in the space, specialty rubber gym flooring may be recommended, other times, the same flooring used throughout your basement, such as luxury vinyl flooring, may be okay to continue into the gym.


Lighting and storage are often particularly important design factors to consider for an at home gym. LED, dimmable pot lights are great for general lighting throughout, but perhaps, additional, integrated lighting at open shelving, or even integrated LED lighting in your wall mirror may be worthwhile. The attention to detail can both benefit the aesthetic of the gym as well as the daily function.


Another way to step up the gym experience at home can be by incorporating technology, like an audio system, and television. In addition to the entertainment value they can bring, you can use them to elevate your participation and intentionality by following along to fitness videos or logging onto virtual fitness classes.


Finally, making some design decisions that connect the gym to the rest of your home can also help make it feel that much more inviting and inspiring. This can be achieved by choosing a similar or the same colour palette of finishes from the other rooms. Paint colours, hardware finish colours, lighting selections, and even artwork and window coverings can help make your home gym feel just like that- home.


Mallory is a Designer with the Just Basements and ARTium Design Build Team.

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