Small Home Gym Ideas and Tips

Caroline Gilbert
Written by Caroline Gilbert
Updated September 29, 2021
Woman doing mountain climber exercises on a mat next to her bed while watching a home workout class on a tablet
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You don't need an entire room to create a fun and functional home gym

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Many of us rely on at-home workouts instead of studio classes or gym sessions to get our fitness fix, since working out at home is both convenient and budget-friendly. But, let’s be real, finding the time and motivation to exercise can be that much harder if you don't have a lot of space for it. Trying to squeeze in a workout between living room furniture while dodging kids or pets may seem like a professional sport in itself, but it probably isn’t helping you to achieve your fitness goals. 

As unlikely as it may seem, you don't actually need an entire room to create a home gym. Whether it's a corner of your bedroom, a mobile gym, or a sunroom, a home gym should motivate you to work out and help you feel good while doing it. The small home gym ideas below will inspire you to create your own workout area, no matter how much space you have.

Get Creative With the Space You Have

Young woman in gray yoga clothes doing yoga in her bedroom with a turquoise yoga mat with a white towel
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Walk around your apartment or home and look for empty spaces with a layout that’ll work for your fitness needs. While walking around, don’t overlook tight spaces. Yes, even walk-in closets, low traffic hallways or the area behind your couch can serve as a small home gym if you use smaller aerobic moves or equipment like dumbbells and resistance bands. 

A home office, guest room, basement, or attic can also serve as a fitness area. When it’s time to work out, you can move your car into the street to free up a spot in your garage, and those in warmer climates can use an outdoor patio (which has an extra bonus of fresh air!).

Small Home Gym Location Ideas

  • Small Outdoor Gym: ​​Whether you have sunny weather just five months out of the year or all 12, enjoy workouts in the fresh air by transforming your covered porch into a zen fitness space. Hang command hooks to store yoga mats and resistance bands on an exterior wall and work out, rain or shine.

  • Corner Bedroom Gym: Add a stylish storage bench into a corner of your room for some small gym equipment. Not only will it store your gear neatly, it’ll be readily available when you want to work out.

  • Cardio Nook: Place your small treadmill in a spare closet and install a floor-to-ceiling curtain for privacy. For a stylish flair, add a pendant light and inspiring wall art.

Consider Your Layout, Workout Style, and Equipment

Man in shorts, T-shirt, and boxing gloves doing a kickboxing class with his TV in his den
visualspace/E+ via Getty Images

Another important consideration when thinking about small home gym ideas is your layout in relation to your preferred workout style and the equipment you use. Place any bulky equipment, such as a treadmill or a stationary bike, in the space first since it requires more square footage, then organize your smaller equipment around it. 

Additionally, if your small space allows for it, place your equipment in a prime position. For instance, if you’re a yogi, try to find a corner of your den that has a nice relaxing view with room for a mat and your poses. For workouts that require high-intensity body-weight exercises, find a slightly bigger space to accommodate your moves that has a shelf for you to place your laptop on if you’re doing an online workout class.

Equipment for a Small Home Gym

  • Yoga mats and foam tiles for gym flooring: Use a yoga mat or interlocking foam mats to make your small gym space both stylish and safe.

  • Small gym equipment essentials: From resistance bands to foldable treadmills, there are a ton of smaller exercise devices that still pack the punch of full-sized equipment. Stock up on free weights, resistance bands, yoga mats, and jump ropes for your small home gym.

  • DIY ballet barre: Ballet and barre classes can be expensive. Make your own ballet barre so you can take free virtual classes from the comfort of home.

  • Pull-up bar: This piece of equipment is cheap and easy to install in any home doorway. Plus, it can be used for a bunch of strength-building exercises.

Take Advantage of Storage

DIY wooden box filled with colorful small gym equipment
Carol Yepes/Moment via Getty Images

Storage can help keep your space stylish and organized between sessions in your small home gym. It’s important to keep your exercise space neat and organized since you're working in a smaller space or multi-purpose room. Plus, you can DIY storage solutions and repurpose other items you may already have. For example, if you accidentally killed your potted plant (no judgment!) and still have the woven plant basket you kept it in, you can use it to store equipment like towels and yoga mats. 

You can also take advantage of vertical space and use hooks and shelves to store lightweight gear like resistance bands. To keep your workout equipment incognito, be sneaky and use a stylish room divider or hidden storage solutions like lidded baskets, bins, or an ottoman with an interior storage compartment.

Storage Ideas for a Small Home Gym

  • Pegboard: Grab a few materials like a pegboard, paint, pine boards, and over-the-door hooks to create a cute storage unit for your yoga mat, jump ropes, resistance bands, and more.

  • Folding table with wheels: Use a folding table with wheels or a rolling cart to easily store all of your equipment. When you’ve got company, you can easily roll it into another room.

  • Dumbbell rack: Bring a bit of your local gym to your small home gym with a tiered dumbbell rack for ample storage of all your weights.

  • Mounted shelves: Make your own box wall shelves to store your gym essentials. This will allow you to have everything within arm's reach while keeping your space clutter-free.

  • Bench with storage: Get a stylish bench with a lid so you can easily hide all of your small gym equipment.

Pay Attention to the Decor

You'll be more willing to break a sweat in your small fitness space if you make it into a personal sanctuary. While you might not have room to add vibrant wallpaper, you can incorporate some personality with pops of color and fun accessories. Purchase free weights, yoga mats, gym towels, and any other small equipment you can in your favorite color.

For a bit of inspiration, hang a poster with a motivational quote or your favorite photos. If you’re using your space for yoga or meditation, use equipment with calming colors and a few small potted plants and succulents to set a relaxing tone.

Young woman doing a medicine ball ab workout at home on a yoga mat next to window and potted plant
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Wall Decor for a Small Home Gym

  • DIY gym mirrors: Keep your form in check by creating an activity mirror for your small home gym design. Measure how much room you have and use 12 mirror tiles to create one big mirror, or mount two floor mirrors to the wall side by side. It can even help to brighten up your space.

  • Affirmations: If you have some old sports medals (participation ones count too!), use them as wall décor. Your jerseys, posters, and ribbons from your glory days are great for brightening up your workout space and giving you a competitive edge to stay focused. You can buy or create your own inspirational wall decals, too.

  • Schedule board: To get your home workouts into shape, make a schedule. Hang up a series of decorative clipboards or a whiteboard, and use it to plan your monthly workouts or write inspiring or funny quotes.

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