How to Turn Your Basement Into a Gym Powerhouse

Home gym with treadmill and elliptical cross-trainer

Photo: Brandon Architects, Inc., original photo on Houzz.

About the author: Shawn Gauthier is a writer for Houzz, which is a platform for home remodeling and design, bringing homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community.

The biggest challenge of a workout is often just showing up. At the end of a long day, changing clothes and fighting traffic can often be enough to bring us right to the couch. If you’re a victim of this struggle, it may be time to reassess your gym membership and give in to the luxury of convenience: a home gym in the basement. Turning your basement into your personal workout center can get you motivated and allow you to tailor the space to your needs. Take a look at the following tips to get started on your dream home gym.

1. Determine how much space you’ll need. Consider the type of equipment you’re hoping to use. This will partly depend on personal goals: Are you looking more for weight training or cardio workouts? A treadmill will take up more space than a weight bench, so think about these factors as you plan the room.

2. Consider your flooring. Rubber flooring by itself is often the go-to, but wall-to-wall carpeting laid over the rubber flooring can provide more flexibility in terms of the room’s aesthetics and comfort value. “Although it's available today with more options in color, rubber flooring still cannot provide the warmth and softness underfoot that carpet will bring,” says interior designer Sara Hopkins. “Inexpensive rubber flooring can also leave an unpleasant odor, while green, sustainable carpets with low VOCs help to reduce odor and are a better choice environmentally.”

3. Be aware of air circulation. It’s no secret — gyms are sweaty places. Consider installing overhead fans to keep the air moving properly.

Treadmill in red basement home gym

Photo: Witt Construction, original photo on Houzz.

4. Install a mirror. Avoid injury by installing a mirror. It can help you ensure you’re in the correct position when performing different exercises.

5. Plan for lots of light. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a basement exercise room full of windows, overhead lighting can help with motivation while working out.“A well-lit exercise room brings energy to the space, so artificial lighting should be considered even if natural light is available,” says Hopkins.

Contractor Tips: Finish Your Basement the Right Way

6. Choose bold colors for energy. In general, bright colors such as gold, orange or neons create an energizing effect. “The color of your walls can help you or distract you from staying on the path of your exercise routine,” says Hopkins. “Used properly and in the right amount, the correct color can bring a desired boost to your energy level.”

Yoga room in basement

Photo: John Kraemer & Sons, original photo on Houzz.

7. Pick mellow colors for a soothing effect. If you’re more of a yogi, go for softer shades. “Think about soft blues and greens, which have a more calming effect,” says Hopkins.

8. Get motivated with visuals. Whether you thrive on sports paraphernalia or encouraging slogans, frame and hang whatever will give you that extra boost during your workout. “Materials such as prints, photographs, posters, and slogans displayed in the room will offer additional support as you exercise,” says Hopkins.

9. Don’t forget secondhand shops. Transforming your basement space into a new exercise room can be expensive. Cut down on cost by furnishing your room with secondhand equipment. You’ll be eco-friendly and save a pretty penny.

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