Home Gyms – A Luxury and a Necessity

Home Gym Design Planning

Home Gyms  have become a more common feature in today’s homes as physical fitness has become a more important part of modern life. People are looking for ways to incorporate an exercise regimen into their daily routine. Many people do a daily run, but weight training and other upper body exercises add to your total fitness, so running alone is not enough. 

Gym and fitness club memberships are expensive, and it takes time to travel to and from the gym. With time and opportunity at a premium, often these options that take you out of your home can be impractical and time consuming. The exercise solution for people with a busy lifestyle or who live in an unforgiving climate can often be to create a room in your home devoted to exercise.

Creating a Home Gym in New or Existing Homes Takes Some Planning.

It is not a simple matter of plopping some exercise equipment into a spare room. At least it isn’t if you want it to turn out right. There are many factors to consider when designing an in-home gym.

How big should the room be? A good Home Gym Layout must provide the appropriate space for the equipment plus space for floor exercise. Make a list of the machines you want in your gym, their dimensions, and the open floor area you will need for floor exercise.

Home Gym Design Woman Meditating
Select the right flooring.

You’ll need to consider what Flooring material is best, what Lighting provides both utility and function, and how to control Sound and Acoustics. Good Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning are very important in a room where you’ll be working up a sweat. You might want to consider adding a ceiling fan or even a separate mini-split air-conditioning and heating system just for that room. If you enjoy hot yoga, you’ll want to be able to heat up that room without heating up the rest of the house. A gym is a great place, but you certainly don’t want your house smelling like one all the time. You might also want to cut off the home gym from the main house HVAC system and only heat, cool, and ventilate it with it’s own HVAC system.

Your Home Gym Should Be a Nice Place to Be

An important consideration in the design and planning of a home gym is the issue of aesthetics. Home gyms need to be pleasant places to be or you’ll gradually stop using it. Full wall mirrors make any room feel bigger than it actually is. Mirrors also let you check your form while exercising so you will be able to maximize the benefit of your exercises. If your home gym is in your basement and has no windows, mirrors can brighten it up and become surrogate windows in window-less rooms.

A home gym should have calming and relaxing colors, especially if you intend on using it for yoga or other meditative activities. The better your home gym looks and feels, the more often you will use it. A home gym can also become your sanctuary.

Planning Your Home Gym

Home Gym Design starts with determining the positioning of the gym within the house. Do you want it near the bedroom and master bath? Exercise equipment can be noisy and vibrate the floor it is sitting on. A home gym is often best located in a basement or lower level where the equipment can sit on a concrete slab and not vibrate the entire house. 

Home Gym Layout
Ask questions to determine the gym that fits your home and lifestyle.

Should your home gym be a part of a home spa and not merely a room full of exercise equipment? More elaborate arrangements might include a bathroom with a shower and changing area. Maybe a sauna is something you want to include. Asking yourself questions like these will help you determine what kind of home gym is right for your needs, desires, and budget.

What Is the Best Home Gym for You?

There are many different kinds of gyms. What’s best for you is determined by the level of use desired and how you want it to feel. Some people may simply want a place to put a treadmill and a TV. Others will seek out equipment for the full body workout, complete with muscle training, cardio, free weights and full-length mirrored walls. Listing the equipment you want and the spaces each piece needs is the next step in any Home Gym Design.

The exact equipment and machines that will be utilized largely dictates the dimensions required for your gym. Be sure to take into account not only the length and width of the room, but the ceiling clearance height and the size of the entry ways if you have large, bulky equipment to move in and out. 

The floors need to be strong, since some of the equipment, and certainly free weights, can be quite heavy. The Floor Structure  must be able to hold this weight and also be stiff enough to suppress the vibrations from treadmills or stationary bikes. An architect or engineer can help you with your structural needs. 

Home Gym Design Man Exercising
How much space do you need?

Also consider the amount of free space that will be needed to perform your desired exercises. If you leave just enough space for your Bow-flex, and you intend to also do yoga and Pilates, you could find yourself stuck between a wall and a hard place.

Bonus Tip – If you plan on doing floor exercises or yoga, avoid putting recessed “downlights” in the ceiling above the exercise area. There is nothing worse than going to all the trouble and expense to create a wonderful home gym and find out later that when you are lying on the floor doing crunches, you are looking right up into bright lights on the ceiling.

Remember, Your Gym is a Part of Your Home.

You should decorate and coordinate accordingly. While function is a key component of the gym, it also must be inviting space and fit with the rest of your house design. So, the third step in designing home gyms is to decide on the look and feel of the space. 

Will it be a basic room, or will it be your luxury spa resort at home? However simple or sophisticated your gym might be, planning out your design and considering all the criteria will ensure a perfect end product. The more time you spend thinking about all aspects of your perfect home gym, the better the outcome will be.

I hope this information is helpful to you. You might want to get yourself a copy of my best-seller, Designing Your Perfect House. It is chockfull of valuable tips and advice that will save you many times the cost of the book on your house building or remodeling project. You might also like The Well-Centered Home: Simple Steps to Increase Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Happiness Where You Live. It will show you how to make your home a happy place.


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Bill Hirsch | Architect

Bill Hirsch

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