10 Home Gym Ideas That Will Make You Actually Want to Work Out

Caroline Gilbert
Written by Caroline Gilbert
Updated September 22, 2021
An African American man in a white shirt doing squats in his home gym
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Flex your creative muscles to design the home gym of your dreams

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Let’s be honest, working out is hard. You may feel great afterwards, but working up courage to get started is typically the hardest part. If you’ve replaced your gym membership with working out at home, an easy way to get you more excited about breaking a sweat is to create (or upgrade!) a home gym. While investing in a solid home gym design and equipment can be a worthy investment, you also don’t need to break the bank.  

Before you make any purchases, think about your fitness goals when picking out your home gym equipment. Start by assessing your space. Where would you like to work out most often? How much room do you have to jump around or even spread out a yoga mat? These are all variables to keep in mind. 

With some creativity, the right equipment, and some extra space, you can create the perfect space. Whether you have an unused bedroom, attic or basement, or even garage space, these 10 home gym ideas and organization tips will make it easy for you to design the home workout room of your dreams.

1. Choose the Right Color Scheme

Young woman doing a yoga tree pose on a mat in her house
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When you commit to upgrading a space in your home, your color choices are critical since your decision can make or break your room, especially your home gym. The right color selection can energize you and make breaking a sweat more appealing. First and foremost, think about your space and what types of workouts you’ll be doing. 

Is your workout style is high-energy, high-impact, fast, or heavy-think cardio or powerlifting? If so, then select warm colors that’ll get your heart pumping like reds, oranges, and yellows. If your workout style is more meditative (like yoga or barre), opt for cooler colors like blues, teal, and purples for a soothing vibe. Of course, for home gyms that need to accommodate all types of workout styles, you can find a balance between both color families by picking colors from each as accent walls. 

2. Install a Home Rock Climbing Wall

Person hanging onto a rock wall in a home gym
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If you’re into more adventurous workouts like rock climbing, get rock climbing holds to create your own at-home climbing wall. Not only is climbing a fantastic full-body workout, but you can also make it adjustable to accommodate both adults and kids. Just remember to add a padded mat underneath your wall for safety.

Creating your own rock climbing wall will be easy if you’re familiar with the basics of construction. If you’re uncomfortable with using a circular saw, or if you don’t have the time to do it yourself, then hire a local carpenter to handle the construction.

3. Add Games

Basement home gym that has workout equipment and a pool table
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If getting to the gym is half the battle for you, getting rid of that half and working out in the comfort of your own home does the trick, right? Easier said than done. Even though your place is super convenient, it’s hard to stay motivated when you’re so close to temptation—like your couch and the TV.

To help you get in a solid sweat session, add your favorite games into your home gym to make it more fun. You can take a small rest in between sets by throwing some hoops with a mini basketball hoop, shooting some pool, or improving on your golf game with a mini putting mat.

4. Create a Focal Wall

A young woman doing aerobics in her home gym with inspirational wall art
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A fun design trick to create in a home gym is to make the main wall a focal point. Similar to an accent wall, you can add fun wallpaper to bring in some pattern, hang a fun neon light, paint an inspiring quote in a large-scale format or blow up your favorite photos. Whatever you decide to do, opt for something that’ll keep you motivated and inspired.

5. Consider Gym Flooring Options

A gray home gym with a lot of workout equipment and rubber floor mats
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Selecting the right type of flooring is an essential part of any home gym design. It’s vital to be thoughtful of the type of flooring since it can impact, and be affected heavily by, the type of exercises you do. Before making any decisions, think about the strength of the flooring you’ll need, texture that’ll work best with your equipment, the floor level the gym room is on and moisture.

  • Rubber floor mats: These mats are essentially sheets of rubber, which vary in size and thickness (think 1/2-inch for weightlifting and 3/4-inch for heavy-duty workouts).

  • Stall mats: These thick and durable mats weigh about 100 pounds each and are great to minimize impact damage from extreme workouts or heavy equipment.

  • Hardwood gym floors: Wood floors are always a classic choice, and there are options that’ll work well, but it’s important to consider that heavy equipment and dropped weights can cause damage.

  • Foam: Softer than rubber, this padded material provides a cushioned surface that is more pliant than the average gym flooring. Generally, the 1/2-3/4-inch thickness is best for gym use.

  • Carpet: While carpet seems like a solid choice for a home gym, it can become stained by sweat over time, and can lead to the growth of mold or mildew in its underpadding.

  • Cork: For a more stylish look, consider cork. When installed properly, it can combat sweat and is durable enough for a tough workout.

  • Vinyl: This flooring is waterproof, stain-resistant, durable against rips, and lasts about 8-10 years with basic maintenance.

6. Look (Or Go!) Outside

A mom and daughter do yoga together in their home gym while looking out the window
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When selecting a space for your home gym, think about what you’d like to look at. If you appreciate a nice view, then set up your home gym so you can look out a window. Whether you can see a majestic ocean scene, city streets, or just a little greenery, being able to view the outdoors while you’re working out might trick you into thinking you're doing something more fun than an earlier morning workout. Of course, if your living situation and climate permits, situate your home gym in an outdoor space like a roomy back porch or patio.

7. Dress It Up with Lighting

A woman does yoga in her home gym with a special light in the corner
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Whether you have a small corner or a large home gym, optimizing your lighting can make all the difference in creating an environment that’ll motivate you. If you don’t have any windows in the space, then a single light fixture probably won’t be sufficient, so get the right number of fixtures or bulbs with enough light output for your space. If you want the space to double as a relaxation spot, such as a yoga studio, get dimmable lights so that you can lower them.

You can also have fun with the lighting and use combinations of LED light strips, hue lights, and DJ lights to create a fun ambiance while you’re working out. The lights can pulse to the beat of the music or simply give off a colorful glow that’ll set the mood.

8. Open Things Up with Mirrors

A woman stretches in her bright home gym with a large mirror
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There's a reason why gym facilities have mirrors everywhere. They aren’t just there so you can snag that gym selfie—they help you check for proper form while exercising. Watching yourself exercise helps you correct your form and minimize injury. Being able to see your form is especially vital when you have a home gym since you won’t have a personal trainer there to help make corrections. Plus, wall mirrors can make small home gym spaces feel much larger.

9. Think About Equipment

A woman in workout clothes sits on a wooden floor next to an orange yoga mat and dumbells
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We understand, stocking a home gym can be daunting since there are a ton of options. To get started, invest in simple multipurpose equipment like a yoga mat, resistance bands, and kettlebells. To upgrade from the basics, consider adding some dumbbells, a medicine ball, and a foam roller to your collection.

If you don’t want to spend too much, you can find a lot of secondhand equipment on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. You can find a lot of listings for treadmills, dumbbells, barbells, exercise bikes, benches, pull up bars, and more, but of course the selection will vary based on where you live.

10. Create a Fitness Wall

A home gym workout wall
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Wall workouts are great for tight spaces since they don’t require a lot of bulky equipment, but buying a smart fitness mirror to mount in your home gym can get expensive. For a more affordable and personalized fitness wall option, make a fitness center with a single wall-mounted unit. For example, you can use it for strength training, with tools like resistance bands, body straps, and pull-up bars. You can also customize your wall to include your favorite equipment.

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