How to Create a Workout Area in Any Room of Your Home

You don't need an entire room to create a home gym. Use these expert tips to set up an effective home fitness area in the space you have.

A year into the pandemic, many of us continue to rely on at-home workouts in place of studio classes or gym sessions to get our fitness fix. But finding the time and motivation to exercise can be even more difficult if you don't have a dedicated space for it. Trying to squeeze in a workout between living room furniture while dodging kids or pets likely isn't helping you to achieve your fitness goals. Luckily, you don't need an entire room to carve out a personalized home gym. Whether it's a corner of your bedroom, a section of your garage, or an outdoor patio, a home gym should motivate you to work out and help you feel good while doing it. These expert tips will help you carve out a home gym, no matter how much space you have.

home gym with neutral walls and workout bike
Life Created/Courtesy of Living with Lolo

1. Determine how you want to work out.

The best location and setup for your home gym will depend on your preferred workout style. If you like to start your days with yoga practice, for instance, look for an area that receives morning light with enough room for a mat. If your workouts involve a lot of high-intensity exercises, you might need additional room to move. Bulky equipment, such as free weights, a treadmill, or a stationary bike, also requires more square footage.

2. Get creative with available space.

Look for empty areas within your home that could work for your fitness needs. "Believe it or not, a walk-in closet is a great place to carve out a small workout space," says Dallas-based designer Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25. Even tight spots like a hallway or the area behind a sofa can work if you typically use smaller aerobic moves or portable equipment like dumbbells and resistance bands, says Carole Malloy of Josephine Design House. "Basically any area of the home that allows for this movement can be designated for a workout nook," she says.

A home office, guest room, basement, or attic can also serve as a fitness area. Interior designer Breegan Jane suggests temporarily moving your car to the street (since you're likely going out less these days anyway) to free up a spot in your garage. For those in warmer climates, an outdoor patio can serve as a workout space with the bonus of fresh air.

3. Define your home gym.

Set up boundaries, either visual or physical, to help separate your workout area from the surrounding room and limit distractions. "Though the space might not be huge, you can define the area by using a decorative screen or by putting down a sturdy floor mat or some carpet tiles," says New York designer Courtney Sempliner. To help maintain your focus, try not to let other household clutter, like laundry or kids' toys, encroach on the space, she adds.

If your home gym is located within another living area, frame the space with a pretty area rug and a decorative mirror instead of more utilitarian equipment, suggests Chicago-area designer Mark Lavender. "This will make the nook look like an extension of your living space when you are not using it as a gym," he says.

workout area with patterned wallpaper and weight rack with exercise ball
Matthew Millman/Courtesy of Jay Jeffers

4. Create an inviting atmosphere.

You're more likely to exercise if you enjoy being in your home gym. Equip the area with stylish gear in mood-brightening colors to make workouts more fun. "My colorful free weights help brighten up the room and make me feel happy and motivated when I walk in," Fenimore says. "Extend this to your yoga mats, gym towels, and any small equipment you can purchase in color!"

The right lighting can also have a huge impact on your motivation to exercise, Jane says. She suggests swapping out basic lightbulbs for those with dimmable and color-changing technology, like Bulbrite Solana smart bulbs ($8, The Home Depot). "I can change the way my space appears with my mood, and good moods mean great workouts," Jane says.

5. Incorporate storage for workout gear.

Keep your home gym neat and organized so it's ready whenever the mood to move strikes. Arizona interior designer Lauren Lerner of Living with Lolo suggests using baskets to stash towels and yoga mats and bringing in an etagere to sort weights and other equipment. Hooks and shelves work well for storing lightweight gear like resistance bands. To help disguise a small workout nook when you're done exercising, utilize hidden storage solutions like lidded baskets and bins or an ottoman with an interior storage compartment.

6. Personalize the area.

Bring in color and accessories to personalize your home gym. "A home gym is the perfect opportunity to have some fun with decor and incorporate pops of bold, energizing colors," says San Francisco interior designer Jay Jeffers. "Having a space that motivates you will make working out all the more enjoyable!" Go for a fun patterned wallpaper or a vibrant paint color to boost your spirits, and hang photos or wall decor that help you feel motivated and inspired. If your space is geared toward yoga or meditation, calming colors and real or faux plants can help set a relaxing tone.

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