Set up your workout gear in a well-designed gym or basement and you’ll set yourself up for fitness success.
Newsflash: Home gyms don't need to be bleak. Workout equipment that’s been relegated to your basement or tucked into a garage corner can still look really good—with the help of a little paint, wallpaper, good lighting, and a few plants, you can totally transform the space you break a sweat in. In fact, we managed to find proof that nice, well-designed home gyms do exist! Below, we rounded up some of the prettiest, most creative examples—you’ll actually look forward to your strength sessions when they’re done in rooms like these.
Suspend the Mirrors
Designer Lindye Galloway outfitted this Hudson, N.Y., home gym with a cardio area, meditation zone, and a yoga space. Instead of hanging the mirrors on the walls, she had them custom-made so they could be suspended—the floating effect enhances the spa-like, luxury ambience of the room.
If you're fortunate enough to have a separate structure outside of your home (that isn't the garage!), transform it into a wellness space. This light and airy room was designed by Nadia Palacios of Nadia Palacios Residential Design and constructed by Windham Builders, and the goal was garden cottage vibes, according to Nadia. Each element of the room was thoughtfully considered: The wood planks are pretty but they're functional—they hold heavy equipment better than Sheetrock. The building is often used by the homeowners with the expansive, bi-fold doors wide open, which helps with air circulation. (Gyms can get stuffy!)
Lean Into Design-Forward Details
Erin Wheeler of Sunny Circle Studio (who actually designed a room in the 2022 Real Simple Home!) really amped up her own gym with a coat of gorgeous blue paint, custom wall moldings, a jazzy light fixture, and elegant window treatments. Fun fact: The "art" in the middle of the room is actually a Frame TV, perfect for home workout videos.
Add Nice Cabinetry and Tile
If you can add custom storage to a room, take the opportunity and do it right! In this basement home gym, designer Jo Alcorn of Alcorn Home Design & Build chose to add cabinetry with pretty, light-colored wood grain melamine fronts so the homeowner could conceal workout equipment like rubber bands, yoga mats, and cleaning supplies. The cool tile backsplash adds another layer of texture to the room too! And the warm-toned, wood slatted ceiling combats the cold sterile atmosphere that basement are notorious for.
Create a Partition
Raili Clasen designed this basement of our 2021 Real Simple Home so that it was multi-functional. There's a sitting area that takes up a majority of the room, but she created a separate little zone for exercise equipment by adding a peg board divider. (So you can hang things if you want too!) And instead of dealing with hanging a heavy mirror, leaning it against the wall does the trick here.
Pick a Pretty Wallpaper
Designer Rachel Peck of Rachel Peck Interiors was aiming for boutique hotel vibes when she worked alongside contractor Dimora Remodeling to pair this custom oak slatting with a delicate, floral wallpaper—this smartly offsets the utilitarian aesthetic of most gym equipment. Rachel also says of this combination, "The high level of detail in the wallpaper paired with the structured uniform look of the slat wall gives the room a focal tension point which allowed us to only need one wall to achieve the 'wow' moment we were looking for."
Don't Forget Color
Interior design content creator Albie Buabeng of Albie Knows added a fitness zone to her multipurpose room, or what she's dubbed as "The Flex Lounge." Because it has so many other functions, like a work area, it needed to look nice. Colorful artwork, temporary wallpaper, and a fun, graphic Ruggable rug warm up the space. She added a very practical wall unit from iDesign, along with chic woven baskets, to store weights, bands, and towels.
Jazz Up Structural Elements
If you're shocked this is in a home basement, don't worry—so were we! Joni Lay of Lay Baby Lay really took lemons and made lemonade out of this subterranean space. The vertical pole is structural and can't be removed so Joni painted an elongated checkerboard pattern on it! On top of this, she and her husband created the custom, plywood arch and added strip lighting for the backlit effect. And if you look closely, she also installed a handrail for barre workouts.
Add Spa Perks
Ariel Elliott of True Style with Ari was all about creating a spa-like setting in her home gym. She made sure to include beautiful, wood open shelving and wicker baskets, plus lush plants. Ariel placed a small tabletop waterfall to create the calming sound of water when she's relaxing after a tough workout, as well as a reed diffuser. And a mini fridge was a genius addition—no one needs a cold bevvy more than someone who just cranked out a tough workout session.
Install Ceiling Beams
Shea McGee of Studio McGee has an incredible home basement—it features a home gym and an indoor skate ramp. (Mind. Blown.) If you're trying to figure out a way to make your workout room feel less cold, install wood ceiling beams like Shea did here.
Mix the Materials
If Peloton is life to you, then Shawna Percival of Styleberry Creative Interiors has plenty of design solutions for you in this post about how to design around your exercise bike. Perhaps what really makes this corner sing is the variety of materials—the brick, wood ceiling treatment, and modern art elevate the room significantly.
Construct a Sauna
Just because your gym is at home, that doesn't mean a sauna is totally out of the cards—you can retrofit one into an existing room! Designer Kristin Hildebrand of KH Interiors updated a regular home gym with a Finnleo sauna to make it a true wellness retreat for the homeowners.
Get Creative with Storage
Professional organizer Lela Burris of Organized-ish transformed this sunroom (which was once a screened-in porch!) into a little home gym. She used her top-notch organizing skills to create the neatest, tidiest area of exercise equipment we've ever seen—metal pegboards, closet shoe shelves, and a variety of Command hooks provide plenty of storage opportunities. To save on money, she hung multiple, inexpensive mirrors instead of buying a large one. And of course, we love the pale shade of pink paint!
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