Americans waste a whopping $397 million on abandoned gym memberships each year. Just imagine how many home gyms that money could buy!

While gym memberships are purchased with the best of intentions, modern lifestyles throw a wrench into fitness aspirations pretty quickly. 

Hectic schedules make it hard to carve out travel time needed to reach the gym. Finding the willpower to leave the house on early mornings, rainy days, or frigid nights is also challenging.

What if a world-class workout were just a few steps away in a basement, garage, or shed? A home gym zaps the time crunch involved in fitting in those crunches. There’s no better way to remove the barriers keeping you from getting in the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle strength activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

How hard is it really to build a home gym? In this article we’ll explore home gym ideas that show you what it takes to fit fitness into your home’s layout.

    Determine Your Fitness Goals

    The best part of building a home gym is that you’re building a custom one from scratch. Most people pay for full gym memberships when they use only one to four pieces of equipment. A home gym allows you to create an efficient workout based on your fitness goals.

    When choosing the right home gym equipment for your needs, think about the equipment you already use when you visit a gym. Your fitness goals will determine your equipment and space needs.

    You should also factor in the types of exercise you enjoy most. While there is a component of pushing yourself with workouts, you’re more likely to stick with them if you enjoy them.

    4 Steps to Creating a Home Gym

    Create your best home gym with the steps we’ve outlined below.

    Step 1: Choose the Right Space

    Location is the biggest factor to take into account when designing a home gym. In some cases, you may need to sacrifice a portion of your living space to create a fitness space. In others, you may be able to convert space currently going unused into a wellness oasis.

    While making use of available space is one consideration, you’ll also need to account for how much room you’ll need to accommodate the exercises you’ll be doing and the equipment you need. Some good places for a home gym include:

    • Basement
    • Spare bedroom
    • Garage
    • Shed/detached garage
    • Portion of your home office
    • Attic
    • Sunroom

    It’s also possible to simply partition off an area of a larger room in your home to create a gym space. For someone truly committed to making home workouts a part of life, a small addition or bump-out off a living room or bedroom could be worth considering.

    One law of the home gym is to start from the bottom by taking a close look at your floors. The weight of gym equipment can do a number on wood and tile flooring. The hardness of flooring can also translate through as impact on your joints and bones.

    If you’re in a position to lay down new flooring, interlocking rubber flooring and commercial carpet are two of the most durable flooring options for the home gym.

    If you’re simply trying to soften and protect existing floors, dense rubber exercise pads and horse stall mats placed over your existing floors are effective buffers.

    Once you’ve determined where you want to place your gym, it’s time to ask the following questions:

    • How many square feet of space do I need to comfortably work out using the equipment I want?
    • What’s my ideal budget? What is the maximum number I’m willing to hit to get what I want?
    • How many people will be using the space? Will gym users typically be working out together or at separate times?
    • What features should I prioritize to meet my fitness goals?

    It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to build the ultimate home gym once things get rolling. However, it’s important to only purchase equipment you can stay committed to using —. although you may want to leave extra space for pieces of equipment you may want to add down the line.

    Step 2: Choose Your Equipment

    This is the stage where the home gym really begins to come to life. Most people find they can choose home gym equipment without help based on what they know about their preferences and fitness needs.

    It’s also possible to hire a local trainer to help you plan your home gym using the equipment that will give you the biggest impact from every workout in terms of calorie burn, heart rate, and muscle-building.

    One rule to follow is to pick equipment that gives your workout variety. Variety is important because it allows you to work different muscle groups, avoid a plateau, and prevent boredom. Here are some core equipment options to consider:

    • Medicine ball
    • Dumbbells
    • Kettlebells
    • Barbells
    • Cardio machines
    • Treadmill
    • Elliptical machine
    • Suspension trainer
    • Stair climber
    • Core slider
    • Rower

    Some extra amenities to think about adding to your home gym include:

    • Fan
    • Foam roller
    • Yoga mats
    • Resistance bands
    • Weight plates
    • Water cooler
    • Mini fridge

    Step 3: Design Your Space

    Once you have a clear idea of what you want to fit into your gym, it’s time to consider design elements.

    Design to fit your specific needs is directly linked with workout motivation — enjoying your gym space will help you get the benefits you’re seeking. Make your gym a space you want to visit by adding:

    • A television
    • Speakers that eliminate the need to wear cumbersome headphones or pods
    • Bright lighting that activates alertness
    • Heating or air conditioning for temperature control
    • Mirrors

    Don’t forget to choose a color scheme that appeals to you. Color’s impact on mood means the walls in your gym could either elevate or reduce your energy levels. Red, orange, and yellow are considered motivating colors.

    Step 4: Keep Your Space Clean and Organized

    Avoid trip hazards and clutter. Everything should have a place in a home gym. Built-in shelves are ideal for ensuring all your gear can be neatly tucked away. Build a cleaning cubby where wipes and sprays can be easily reached.

    Benefits of a Home Gym

    According to Fortune Business Insight, the home fitness equipment market is on the rise. Health-conscious people are increasingly seeking the luxury of working out from the comfort of home. While building a home gym may seem like a splurge at first glance, the benefits discussed below showcase why this choice is all about savings and efficiency.

    Open 24/7

    Restrictive gym hours can make squeezing in a workout before or after work tough. The pressure to make time for both a drive and a workout means people usually end up splitting workouts into more and shorter sessions. Gyms can also be closed during weekend and evening hours when people actually have the time to pop in for a workout.

    A home gym makes it possible to work out on your own schedule. You can work out when your mind, body, and schedule align instead of trying to stuff a workout into the time allotted by a gym. And, there’s also no waiting in line for equipment.


    A home gym is comfortable and private. You never feel rushed by other people waiting to use a piece of equipment. There’s also no restriction on what you can wear while working out. You can feel free, too, to sweat it out, grunt, or power through the hard parts without fear you’re being stared at.

    For those easily distracted by other people’s constant coming and going, a home gym provides a focused space where stimuli are totally under your control.

    Cost Efficient

    You know exactly what you’re getting when you pay for your home gym. With gym memberships, the advertised fee is just the beginning. Sign-on fees, annual fees, and your commuting costs turn what looks like a good deal into a sizable investment. Fees also tend to increase each year.

    A gym membership charges you for hundreds of pieces of gym equipment you’ll never even touch. You’re basically paying for other people to work out. While your home gym requires more up-front expense, you get to enjoy a lifetime of savings afterward while using the equipment you choose.

    How to Keep Your Home Gym Budget Friendly

    Here’s a look at the best ways to curate a home gym without spending a fortune.

    Exercise for Free

    There are many ways to start working out now if you need to save up for new equipment. Bodyweight workouts use your own weight rather than fancy equipment to provide low-impact workouts that burn calories and build muscle.

    You can also find a plethora of online video workouts on YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo, and other free platforms. If you have a subscription to any popular streaming service, you may not be aware that most have workout programs available that don’t require any extra payment.

    Shop Sales

    Take advantage of periodic sales when filling your gym with equipment. Once you find a handful of brands and retailers offering the equipment you want, subscribe to their email lists to be notified of sale events.

    The middle of summer can be a great time to look for gym equipment. With most people spending time outdoors, retailers are often forced to knock down prices on indoor gym equipment that’s going unsold. In summer, retailers are also beginning to clear inventory in anticipation of releasing next year’s lineup.

    Secondhand Equipment

    Shop around for refurbished and lightly used equipment both in person and online. Tag sales and thrift stores are great places to score amazing deals. Craigslist, Freecycle, and Facebook Marketplace are also good resources. Many people are willing to offload their fairly new gym equipment at a great price when moving because they don’t want to deal with the cost and hassle of transporting it.


    A home gym ensures that a healthy body and mind can begin at home. While building a home gym can seem out of reach at first glance, some simple conversions will create a convenient workout space that removes all the common obstacles causing millions of gym memberships to collect dust.

    The best home gym isn’t necessarily the fanciest home gym — it’s the one with the layout and equipment you need to keep coming back to reach your fitness goals.

    Editorial Contributors
    Scott Westerlund

    Scott Westerlund


    Scott Dylan Westerlund is a real estate and financial writer based in Northern California. In addition to Today’s Homeowner, he has written for Flyhomes, Angi, HomeLight and HomeAdvisor.

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