Between 2020’s mostly homebound workouts and new year’s resolutions for 2021, the home gym has never felt so important. Whether you live in a small apartment or sprawling house, dedicating any amount of space to your fitness regimen is a great way to inspire movement — even if that’s a basket to store a yoga mat, some hand weights, and a few resistance bands. But if you’re looking to double down on your at-home workout game, there are a range of home gym upgrades you can make, from equipment innovations to decorative elements and stylish fitness accessories that work well in a hybrid space. You’d be surprised how motivating it can be to have a contemporary mirror, a marbled set of weights, or unique flooring in the mix.
“People are spending a lot more time thinking about how to enhance their space and transforming some areas to make up for the activities we used to enjoy when we were out,” Daniele Busca, creative director of Scavolini USA, tells TZR. According to the design expert, exercise spaces that prioritize both form and function are key, as well as areas with a sanctuary feel to relax and recharge, be that a spa-like bathroom or meditation corner. What’s more, in a post-COVID-19 world, Busca says the convenience of a home-gym will remain a priority. “As our lives become increasingly busy, a home gym makes squeezing in a workout more convenient,” Busca adds. “It also tends to provide extra motivation for you to take care of your body, as there is no added excuse for commute times to the gym.”
Kalah Talancy of KT2 Design Group tells TZR that ceiling details, framed mirrors, and more focus on connecting the home gym to the outdoors for a seamless workout transition have been among the most popular trends for reinvigorating a home gym space. “In 2020, as clients were trapped inside for days on end, we saw people start working out in different ways,” she says, noting a trend of indoor-outdoor exercise routines. “Our clients have taken to practicing yoga and doing HIIT training outside as much as possible,” she explains, adding an increase in indoor-outdoor meditation, too.
Wherever you’re at in your fitness journey, Busca says it’s important to consider your routine when designing a home gym space — if you’re someone who works out a lot, dedicating more space to your workout is sensible. Aesthetics are also key for a cohesive and functional feel. “It’s like designing a closet where there is a dedicated, organized space for every garment and accessory, and each of the finishes has to reflect the client’s personal style,” he says. Kelly Finley, founder and principal designer of Joy Street Design, says new technology options are the answer to making a home gym space work for you, no matter the size of the space available. “With compact digital weight machines, mirrors that show workout class content, it’s virtually impossible not to be able to make space in your home to work out,” she says.
As a complement to modern equipment, Busca says sleek furnishings and natural materials elevate any home gym space. To make the experience more therapeutic, he recommends choosing an area of the home that overlooks a patio, terrace, or a courtyard to bring nature indoors, when possible. “I love a space that is calm, filled with natural light, quiet from the outside noises, but that can also be filled by fun music for a quick Zumba session,” he says.
From easy upgrades to seriously major wellness-space ideas, ahead, keep scrolling to discover eight tips for elevating your home gym space from design experts.
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Home Gym Upgrades: Stylish Equipment
Danu Hassik, design director of Parts and Labor Design, says an easy way to add style to your workout space is by upgrading your favorite gym equipment. “This can be especially key for smaller homes where your gym is your bedroom or living room, and you don’t want your equipment to detract from the space aesthetically,” she says. “Think marble weights and leather medicine balls which can also have many uses, including a doorstop or backrest.”
Home Gym Upgrades: Set The Tone With Flooring
Proper flooring is essential for those with home gyms or a single piece of equipment like a stationary bike, elliptical, or treadmill to reduce noise and vibrations throughout your home. Hassik says these products can help to establish an aesthetic, be it a moody palette via dark mats and rubber flooring or a lighter and more vibrant environment by using lighter wood or mats.
Finley suggests colorful flooring to make workout spaces more inviting and livelier, whether with floor mats or tiles. “Those items don’t need to be front and center or the simple black ones with no style,” she says. “We use the more industrial FLOR tiles to add color to the floor without investing a ton.”
Home Gym Upgrades: Lighting & Mirrors
Mirrors are a great way to increase the perceived space and elevate a room while serving a useful function in any interior, but especially for workout areas. “We often see mirrors in yoga studios and other workout spaces, but it’s also a great material to add to your home gym where you have the ability to combine with some beautiful accent lighting,” Hassik says.
“Without the ability to have instructors or trainers one on one with our clients, they are in charge of monitoring their own form, so the more mirrors, the better,” Talancy adds. She also notes the importance of good lighting, both for monitoring form and enhancing the overall feel of a home-gym space.
Home Gym Upgrades: Stylish Storage Solutions
Finley says garage shelving with attached hooks is one of her go-to design moves for storing items on home-gym walls. Sleek furniture, shelving, and decorative baskets are also great in smaller or multifunctional spaces.
Home Gym Upgrades: Fans for Ventilation
“When we design home gyms, the biggest request is to include lots of ventilation,” Finley explains. “We include lots of windows if the space allows, but we also like to include fans placed strategically in the corners and turn on with the flip of a switch to move the air around.”
Home Gym Upgrades: Create A Meditation Space
Busca says a meditation space is a simple way to integrate wellness into a home, even the tiniest apartments. “All you need is a yoga mat and maybe some essential oils,” he says.
Home Gym Upgrades: Invest In A High Tech Device
Busca and Finley both say that the biggest challenge to designing any home gym is space, and investing in modern, high-tech equipment the ideal solution. “High-tech gym equipment is growing increasingly popular because they do not require a lot of space, and with the advanced features, you can feel like you’re taking a professional exercise class,” Busca says.
“No matter how much of a gym rat you are, when it comes down to the final layout of the house, no one wants to give up space in the house for a massively large gym,” Finley says. “This requires us to come up with clever ways to get everything that’s needed into the gym and to space plan accordingly.” She says a digital weight system is a great space-saver in place of large lifting cage systems or a ceiling-mounted pull-up bar.
Home Gym Upgrades: Create A Wellness Sanctuary
For serious workout buffs with plenty of square footage, a wellness sanctuary, like Scavolini’s Gym Space, is a luxurious investment to consider to exercise, relax, meditate, and detox. Busca says the initial concept was inspired by the matter of space, looking to ancient Roman baths or “cathedrals of wellness” that incorporated steam rooms and hot and cold water for design inspiration.
“For many people, having a dedicated room in your home for a gym is not feasible,” he explains of the Italian-made bathroom-gym hybrid concept. “What better way to inspire total wellness than being able to combine exercise, and self-care, and grooming in the same space?” Busca adds.
Shop Stylish Home Gym Equipment
From elegant weights, benches, and mat towels to sleek stationary bikes, treadmills, and pilates reformers complete your home gym with these stylish extras and pieces of equipment.