Nothing beats being able to exercise at your convenience – and in the comfort and privacy of your own home. No driving in traffic, showering with strangers, being too hot or too cold, or wondering if the exercise equipment has been recently disinfected. Even if you’re not an exercise buff, designing your own gym allows you to create the type of space that is conducive to working out. Below, you’ll find design inspiration and tips to help you design a home gym that beckons you to work out.
“Compared with the cost of a gym membership or personal trainer, creating a home gym can pay for itself in no time,” according to Dan DiClerico, home expert and smart home strategist at HomeAdvisor.
And Wi-Fi-connected exercise equipment has increased the popularity of home gyms, he explains. “For example, a smart exercise bike with an interactive display makes it possible to join your favorite spin class without leaving the house.”
However, if you’re planning to install Wi-Fi-connected exercise equipment, he says it’s important to make sure there’s a good internet connection in the workout area. “That might mean installing additional wireless access points or range extenders to ensure fast internet speed. Otherwise, the weak signal could really slow down your workout.”
Fortunately, adding a home gym doesn’t have to be a major renovation project. “A finished basement or spare bedroom will do the trick,” DiClerico says. “Just make sure there will be enough clearance around and above the exercise equipment. Clearance requirements vary by machine but, in the case of treadmills, you generally want at least 6 ½ feet of free space at the back of the machine and 1 ½ feet at either side.”
If you don’t have an existing space, DiClerico recommends finishing the basement (unless, like the homeowner in the photo above, you can place the gym underneath the garage). “The average cost for finishing a basement ranges from $6,500 to $18,500,” DiClerico says. If you stick to the basics – hanging and painting drywall and installing plywood floors – he says you can control some of the costs. “But for the best workout experience, you’ll want good lighting, ventilation and audio/visuals, all of which will drive up the cost,” he explains.
If you’re setting up your home gym to have a power rack, it’s going to take up a lot of space, according to Shawn Breyer, owner of Atlanta, Georgia-based Breyer Home Buyers. “Power Racks allow you to set the bar’s height at any level, allowing you to perform bench presses, squats, shoulder presses, etcetera.” He recommends a wall mount power rack. “When not in use, they fold up and stick out five inches from the wall, allowing you to have your gym and your cars in your garage.”
If you plan on using weights in your home gym, it’s also important to make sure that they’re evenly dispersed across your flooring joist. “You don’t want to load up a dumbbell rack that happens to be in between two floor joists,” Breyer explains. “A 12-by-36-inch piece of 3/4-inch fir plywood can support up to 50 pounds without problems – but the average two-tiered dumbbell rack weighs 705 lbs.” Over time, Breyer says that either the plywood is going to warp or it’s going to collapse under the load.