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Tips on Designing Your Basement Gym into a Workout Haven

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Adding a basement gym to your renovation project can be very exciting. There are many wonderful advantages to having your workout room downstairs. You'll no longer need to drive hours to the gym, or wait to use your favorite piece of equipment. You'll be able to select the music that motivates you, or the television show you want to watch. Plus, think of the money you'll save since you'll no longer need to pay your gym membership!

Frequently, homeowners become so excited about adding a home gym to their house that sometimes their only focus is on the exercise equipment. Although, this is understandable, the details of the room itself are also very important and can play an important role in your overall experience.

How to Build a Home Gym You Want to Use

Regardless of how much money you want to invest in the space, your goal should be to create a workout haven. We've all seen the treadmill in the corner that's uninspiring to use and eventually becomes a coat rack. Take this opportunity to build something that will not only be a room you can workout in, but also a room where you are inspired to workout.

Taking the necessary time to plan your room so that it is physically ready will help make your fitness journey an exciting and motivating process. Here are a few things you should consider before starting your renovation.

Man doing sit ups on a ball

How to Create a Great Gym Space

There's a few structural things you should consider regarding the space where you'll be building your basement gym. You can usually make anything work, but with a little added attention you can move your gym from good to great!


Basements frequently have low ceilings, which could be a problem with some of your machines. From a renovation standpoint, there really isn't much you can do, at least not cost effectively.

However, when you are purchasing your workout equipment be mindful about the height limitations.


How much space will you dedicate to your workout room? If your basement has several small rooms, you may want to have a cardio room and a weight room, or you may want to remove a few walls to create one large room.

If you have a large open space, there's plenty of options available and you shouldn't run into any issues.


If your basement has concrete floors, heavy exercise equipment shouldn't be an issue. Concrete is the most common flooring material in basements and is an excellent floor for basement gyms.

There are plenty of options available for flooring if your base is concrete. You can add carpeting, tile, or better yet, interlocking rubber tiles!

Rubber tiles are simple to install, excellent at absorbing impact, and even help keep the sound contained within the room.


Sometimes proper ventilation can be a challenge for basement gyms. Use fans to keep the air circulating. Ceiling fans work amazing if you have a high ceiling.

You'll most likely find your workouts to be unpleasant if you don't have proper ventilation. In fact, you may find that you stop working out altogether.


Consider installing fabric panels on your walls. There are many to choose between and they can make a big difference in absorbing sound.

They're available in solid colors or with pictures or paintings which can disguise their sound absorbing purpose. Regardless of what you choose, be sure to select something that's mildew resistant.


Lighting can keep your workout area safe and enjoyable.

Basement Gym

Designing your Basement Gym

Probably the most important rule is to make the room your own space. You should feel motivated to be in the room. Your ultimate goal is to create a workout space that you'll not only look forward to spending time in, but you'll also feel a sense of pride.


  • Sound System - This is your private basement gym! You won't need to wear headphones anymore, and you'll be making all of the music and channel selections. Outfitting your space with quality speakers can make a huge difference when you're exercising. Music can also keep you motivated.
  • Television - Many people enjoy watching TV when they are working out on a treadmill. There's many workout programs available to stream online and a television is nice addition to a basement gym . . . whatever your plans.
  • Storage bins - Storage bins are great for reducing clutter. They're ideal for jump ropes, foam rollers, yoga mats, or wheels. Keeping your gym tidy and clutter-free will not only help you find things, but it will also give your gym a classy look and feel.
  • Mirrors - Installing mirrors in your gym will add the illusion of a larger space. It will also make the room seem brighter. But there is a practical workout reasons for mirrors. They'll give you the opportunity to check your form, which can help prevent you from being injured. 
  • Extras - Remember this gym is your workout haven, and you should create the room so that it's enjoyable and you feel motivated to workout. You may want to consider a small fridge to keep your water cold, wall hooks to hang towels and clothing, or a small table for your water bottle and other small items.
Basement Gym Equipment

Selecting your Workout Equipment

Now the fun begins! It's time to purchase your home gym equipment. Here are a few of our best tips to make your gym your favorite workout place:

  • Exercise Patience - Lower-end workout equipment is best purchased in the middle of January. A little patience will help you stretch your dollars!
  • Look for Bargains - Exercise equipment can be expensive. If you can be patient and selective there are many bargains available that can save you a lot of money. There's plenty of opportunities to purchase used equipment. Some equipment on Craig's List is nearly new!
  • Don't Try to Have the Perfect Gym Overnight - Overtime your workout will change, so it's a good practice to allow your gym equipment to build as your workout evolves. If you take your time, you'll be able to add higher quality equipment one piece at a time as you venture into new types of exercise. 
  • Let Your Basement Gym Evolve - Overtime, your workout will change, and so will the necessary equipment. Think of your gym as an ever changing room, never fully complete. As your workout needs change, so does your equipment. 
  • Invest in What's Important - Build around your core equipment. Maybe it's a treadmill, an elliptical or a rowing machine. Decide what you want to build around and then make the investment. Frequently manufacturers resell equipment that has been returned at deeply discounted prices. Also, large gyms upgrade their machines periodically and sell the old to the public or to a service willing to auction it off to the public. 
  • Versatility is King (or Queen) - Many company's sell equipment that offers a total body workout. Bowflex manufactures excellent workout equipment and many of their machines are designed for a total body resistance workout. TRX gear is relatively inexpensive, takes up very little space and is a great way to get a total body workout!
  • Open Space is Good - Some equipment, such as treadmills, take up their fair share of the floor space. Having some open floor space will allow you a place to do yoga, workout DVD's, stretching, free weights and other types of workouts. 
  • Stability Ball - These are inexpensive, extremely versatile, and a great addition to any basement gym! Stability balls can be used for workouts, stretching and ab crunches, among so many other things.
  • Dumbbells - No gym is complete without dumbbellskettle bellsresistance bands or some other type of resistance equipment. Many think that losing weight requires plenty of cardio, but the most effective method is a combination of cardio and strength training. So, don't forget your dumbbells!
  • Infrared Sauna - These are an excellent addition to any basement gym. There are many health benefits and they are not as expensive to purchase or operate as you many think. After a hard workout, you can jump into your infrared sauna. You'll not only relax, but you'll help your body recover.

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