Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need masses of space to enjoy a good workout. As long as you have the will, there is always a way to get the most out of what you have.
If you can lay down a yoga mat, you have enough space to create an exercise area that works for you. Here’s some top tips to create a home gym in a small space.
Pick a room for your home gym
When designing a home gym in a small space, where do you start? The first step is to decide where in your home is the most suitable.
The most popular area of the home to convert into a gym is an unutilised garage. It’s often the perfect size for the equipment you need, and normally has separation between your home offering a designated space to focus with little noise disruption.
Another popular option is the spare room, or even the attic. But, like a garage, not everyone has one of these. Lately, garden rooms are also a popular addition and can be a great place to create a small gym that’s separate from the main house. Unfortunately, for those living in a flat, or with a small garden, this option isn’t feasible or even possible.
However, not to worry, if you don’t have any separate space at all for a workout area, you don’t need to clear out the office, begin the loft conversion, or re-landscape your garden in preparation for a brand-new garden room.
In fact, why not choose an unused corner of your living room to work out in? Your home aesthetic doesn’t have to suffer if you keep the area separate by using a room divider, or a tall storage unit.
You might not have considered it before, but hallways are also often underused, and if it’s not full of shoes and coats, you could create a small workout zone, especially if it has some firm wooden flooring.
Wherever you’re exercising, the best choice is somewhere close to a window, as that way you’ll have good ventilation and airflow while you’re working out. If this isn’t possible, maybe consider a ceiling fan to ensure you stay cool, calm, and collected during your work out.
No matter where you choose, ensure to consider the weight of your equipment and whether the flooring is up to the task of holding the weight, especially if you’re using heavier machinery, such as a treadmill or a cross trainer. The last thing you want is a damaged floor or ceiling because the spare room upstairs couldn’t handle the weight of your equipment!
Create an illusion
Once you’ve settled on a space, think about the design. Home gyms don’t have to be boring, and if the area is small, there are several things you can do to make it appear bigger and brighter.
Add a splash of your personality to the walls with bold colours to create a space that’s more motivating, and if you want to create the impression of a larger space, decorate with a large mirror that can cover the whole wall or most of it.
A painted ceiling is another way of making an area appear more spacious due to drawing the eyes upwards, so why not consider decorating it with a bright and up lighting colour.
Remember that window we mentioned? Well, windows can offer a lot of natural light, and walls painted white can be highly reflective, especially when ample light is thrown onto them. White walls paired with natural light and mirrors make even the smallest of spaces feel like a palatial hall.
Decorate the walls in your home gym
Let’s face it, for many people, the idea of a home gym is a room that’s purely functional.
Gym equipment isn’t always the best looking, but there’s no reason why you can’t invest in great design to make your home gym stand out from the rest, and a space that you can actually enjoy being in as opposed to feeling like you have to.
So, you’ve painted the walls to match your mood, and you’ve added some mirrors to make the room seem bigger. Now why not add some art to the walls to fill up the negative space?
Your gym doesn’t have to be a gallery filled with Picasso or Vincent Van Gogh, but you could make room for some inspirational quotes from your favourite athlete or celebrity.
If you’re not keen on adding frames or posters to your freshly painted walls, try some decals instead.
The internet is filled with choices of stickers, beyond the traditional choice of “live, laugh, love”. But if you’re looking for something more personal, there are creators that can produce something that’s unique to you.
If you’re into watching workout videos or taking part in online classes, you don’t have to try and keep up on your phone or tablet.
Add a TV to the wall using the correct set of brackets; attaching it to the wall keeps the screen safely out of harm’s way while you’re working out, so there’s no need to worry about damage if you get a little too enthusiastic during a boxercise session.
A TV can also be used as a sound system, so there’s no need for an additional speaker or hi-fi if you require music to keep you pumped up during your exercise routine.
No matter what you put on the walls, having your favourite inspirational quote in your eyeline, or your favourite song blasting through the speakers while you’re exercising is bound to keep you motivated when you’re working up a sweat.
Save on space
The next step to creating your ideal home gym is choosing the equipment you need.
It’s important to bear in mind that, after investing in your multiple accessories, such as yoga blocks, weights, resistance bands and more, small home gym spaces can start to feel quite cluttered if not organised efficiently.
One organising solution is a small storage rack with multiple shelves, as they keep everything neat while not occupying much space. You could also consider a small bookcase to store your smaller pieces of equipment, or if you’d prefer to keep them hidden when the room isn’t in use, use a small cupboard whose door can hide a multitude of sins.
Remember those walls we’re so fond of? They’re not just for decoration, you can also utilise them for storage too! Add some floating shelves to hold those lighter dumbbells or add some hooks to neatly hang your resistance bands and avoid them becoming tangled.
Pegboards are a very hot interior design trend right now and are ideal to add to the walls in your home gym.
Available online and in many home stores, pegboards often come with a number of different attachments, including hooks, shelves and hangable boxes. This makes them perfect for storing your resistance bands, yoga mats, skipping ropes, foam rollers, headphones and more!
If you’re hoping for bigger pieces of equipment, you could consider something collapsible, such as a foldable treadmill, that can be easily stored away between uses.
Re-use and repurpose
If you don’t want to get anything new, look at what you’ve already got in the house.
During lockdown, bar carts were very popular, and for the most part they still are. But these trolleys can be used for much more than storing glasses or liquor bottles and could make a great addition to your minimalist home gym.
They’re ideal because they can be wheeled around, depending on the size of the room, and you can store cleaning wipes, free weights, yoga blocks, lifting gloves and much more.
Already own an old shoe rack, coat rack, or hallway unit that you’re no longer using or considering getting rid of? Why not consider repurposing it, as these excellent storage solutions are already designed to take up minimal space and can be the perfect addition to your small home gym.
Speaking of hallways… If you’re using one to exercise in, a simple bench can easily provide both storage space, and act as a prop for stretches or press-ups. As we mentioned above, if there’s already a hallway unit, utilise it!
Remember your goals
Your space is coming together and you’re ready to start working out, but now you want a way to keep track of your routine.
Any gym bunny knows that a consistent routine is key when working towards your goals, and it can be annoying when you need to interrupt your workout to check your phone and see what you’ve done previously.
With this in mind, why not consider hanging a whiteboard? They come in a variety of sizes, depending on how much room you’ll need, and they can easily be cleaned with a cloth or eraser when your routine needs shaking up or changing.
If you already know your routine by heart, use the board to list your goals instead. Writing them out and seeing the list each time you work out is a great way to keep you motivated and working towards them, whether they’re long or short-term.
You could even go old school and opt for a blackboard with different coloured chalks. Use one colour for your routine, another for the quantity of sets, and another for the number of reps. Coloured chalk is a great way of adding some colour and personality to your workout room, as well as making things a little more fun.
However, if you want to take it one step further, dedicate an entire wall to being your blackboard. Chalkboard paint is available in a number of DIY shops and in a number of colours, so it can still fit in with your chosen aesthetic.
You can fill the wall with whatever works for you, whether it’s your exercise routine, goals, or inspirational quotes.
If you feel you need some added support, invite your friends and loved ones into your dedicated workout space and ask them to leave a kind or funny message on the wall to keep you motivated, focused and smiling while working hard to reach your goals.
Plan, plan, plan
Creating a home gym can seem overwhelming, especially if you believe that there’s not enough space to do it.
However, you don’t need to upheave your whole home in order to make room for a dedicated workout space, and it’s easy to make it work around what’s already in your house.
The best way to design a home gym is by keeping it as simple as possible, and before you bring out the paintbrushes or picture frames, you need to plan your space.
Firstly, know the type of exercises your body needs to avoid stocking up on items that won’t get used. There’s no point spending money on a cross trainer if you know they’re not likely to be used, as they’ll only end up taking up space that could be used more efficiently for something else.
Based on the exercises you hope to complete, then consider where in your home you could put your workout space.
If you just want to do some yoga or Pilates, you might not need to dedicate a whole room to working out and would benefit more from a small corner in the living room where you can easily roll out your exercise mat.
Once you’ve formed a plan of action and considered the kind of space you might need to achieve your goals, only then should you start work on your DIY home gym. Planning ahead means that you can make the most out of your small, dedicated workout space, without it becoming cramped or cluttered.