Carpet design

How to Design a Home Gym that You’ll Actually Use

A New Year often comes with new resolutions, and for many those resolutions focus on fitness. Whether you want to eliminate all those holiday cookies or make your way to a healthier year, a home gym can make it more convenient – and safer, as the pandemic rages on.

A dedicated home gym is of course not a necessity, but if you’re lucky enough to have the space, it can be a real luxury, especially if it’s well designed. To make it a place where you will enjoy spending time, think about it and focus on the design, advised Sara’s story, a New York-based interior designer with a keen interest in exercising. “There should be a good atmosphere and good lighting,” she said, much like any other room in your house.

For advice on designing a strong, user-friendly gym, we asked designers how they approach workout spaces.

While it is nice to have a huge space for your gym, it doesn’t have to be a huge room. Nicole hollis, an interior designer, transformed an uncomfortable small room on the top floor of her San Francisco townhouse – roughly the size of a walk-in closet – into her home gym.

“We have this little room which is too small to be a bedroom, so we set it up as our gym,” Ms. Hollis said. Rather than trying to minimize tight spaces, she showcased them, painting the walls and floor in dark colors to create a dramatic feel, a strategy many designers use for powder rooms.

Credit…Douglas friedman

Basements are a popular place for home gyms because they often have free space, but for the fitness obsessed, it’s perfectly acceptable to place a gym in a more visible location, such as a bedroom. unused friends or a home office.

Olga Hanono, an interior designer, recently completed a four-story house in Mexico City with a top-floor gym, which has glass doors and views of neighboring rooftops. “It’s not the deepest, darkest corner of the house,” she said. “On the contrary, it is a space bathed in natural light.

If possible, it’s best to place the gym near a bathroom, said Jimmy Crisp, director of Crisp architects, in Millbrook, NY, because “chances are you want to take a shower after you exercise.” And if you’re doing all you can, consider installing spa-like amenities like a steam shower or sauna.

There are many ways to train, from free weights to elliptical machines, so it’s important to know what equipment you’ll actually be using. And if you want a gym that’s as attractive as it is functional, you’re in luck: it’s easier to find aesthetic equipment in a smaller footprint than before.

“Now there’s a mix of luxury and technology in the gym, and it’s the best thing that can happen to us,” Ms. Hanono said. “This allows us to place not only useful items, but also beautiful items in these places. “

Interactive fitness systems like Mirror, Tonal and To me are as discreet as a wall mirror or a picture frame. platoon streamlined stationary bikes and treadmills. Wahoo and Tacx making smart stationary trainers that allow the use of carbon fiber racing bikes indoors. Ergatta and Water Rower make rowers that look almost as beautiful as finely crafted rowing shells. And companies like Bala and Kenko rethink what the weights should look like.

Designing a home gym is about more than just stacking equipment in an unused room – it requires creating a layout with good spatial flow.

“We really like to look at the program and how the client will use the space, including the types of cardiovascular equipment they will be using,” said Heather hilliard, an interior designer in San Francisco. For example, she said, “If there is a treadmill, you have to have space behind it, in case someone falls. And you need space to navigate between machines.

With electronic machines like treadmills and Peloton bikes, she added, it’s essential to have electrical outlets nearby, so you don’t have extension cords snaking around the room. When possible, Ms. Hilliard likes to add ground holds directly under the machines.

It’s also important to leave space for floor exercises, Ms. Story said. “You don’t want to go to a gym where there are only machines,” she said, as it might sound claustrophobic. By leaving an open space in the center of the room, your gym will feel less cramped, while still providing room for yoga, stretching, and Swedish gymnastics.

The floor and walls of a gym should be durable and easy to clean.

“Some form of resilient soil is always a good idea,” Mr. Crisp said. This often means interlocking rubber or vinyl flooring, similar to those used by commercial gyms, installed wall to wall or as a large area rug on top of other flooring.

Another option is to use padded mats that can be unrolled individually, in inconspicuous training areas, on a hard wood, laminate or concrete floor, Ms. Hollis said. (The mat is not ideal because it is difficult to clean.) She suggested “a few different types of mat – one for weights and one for yoga.” Individual mats can also be placed under equipment such as stationary bikes, to dampen noise and catch drops of sweat.

For the walls, Ms. Hollis recommended a paint with an eggshell sheen because it is easier to clean than a matte surface.

Or, you can cover the walls with a more durable material. Ms Hilliard used plywood on the walls of a home gym she designed. Crisp Architects, in collaboration with Valerie Grant, an interior designer, created rebate paneling using wood planks for another gym.

All of the designers interviewed for this story also suggested adding mirrors – mirrored walls or large framed mirrors – to expand the feeling of space and allow you to check your form as you work out.

Credit…Rob karosis

You don’t need to blow up your workout space with the kind of ceiling light you would find in a commercial gym. Installing layers of lighting with multiple fixtures – and using dimmers to control those fixtures – can create a more inviting atmosphere and allow light levels to be adjusted for various activities.

“We integrate mood light and ambient light for the experience,” Rush Jenkins, Managing Director of WRJ design, in Jackson, Wyo., wrote in an email.

And because it’s a home gym, you can choose devices that you would never see in a commercial gym, like chandeliers, pendant lights, and sconces. “Depending on the height of the gym space, the main lighting could be a nice chandelier, or it could be a subtle flush mount,” Jenkins noted.

It’s also important to take into account the location of the devices in relation to the training zones, he added: “You don’t want to be lying on a mat while exercising and staring directly into a bright light. “

To bring in a relaxing mood light without installing new wiring, one option is a portable LED lantern, said Ms. Hollis, who uses a Uma sound lantern by Pablo, who also acts as a speaker. “It’s like a candle,” she said. “And things move with me.”

Using furniture and accessories that make it easy to keep your gym clean and tidy – and finish your workout without a break – will help you stick to an exercise routine.

If you have foam rollers, resistance bands or boxing gloves, think about where these items will live when you’re not using them, Ms. Hilliard said. Cabinets and storage items are ideal, but even a bunch of baskets on the floor can help.

Adding a bench, stool, or chair provides a place to catch your breath between exercises, as well as a place to throw a towel. And if you enjoy watching TV or listening to music while you workout, and you don’t plan on using a portable speaker or headphones, add audiovisual equipment to the room.

Where space permits, Hilliard also likes to set up a small kitchenette-like station. “Sometimes we do custom cabinetry, where we have a water cooler or water bottles,” she said, as well as space for clean towels and a basket for used towels. “As much as we can make it look like a high-end gym, people really want to use it, the better.”

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