How to Create a Home Gym

  • Cost: $400 ($200 for the floor; $100 for the Pure Barre bar; $50 for the mirrors; $50 for the chalkboard wall supplies. I used leftover paint fort the walls, and had the rest of the gym equipment on hand, so add more if you need to purchase any of those)
  • Time: 1 weekend
  • Help Needed?: None!
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Disclosure: The links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I earn a small commission if you click the link and purchase the item. The links are products I’ve used and loved in the past (or something very similar). 

Hi friends! Today I’m going to talk about how to create a home gym in your home. My home gym was the first room I truly ‘made over’ in our house. When we moved in, my husband and I decided this little concrete room in the back of our basement would be my space, and what I most wanted was a place to do barre at home. So, I decided to make this lovely space into a home gym.

before picture of the home gym

As you can see, it was literally a blank canvas. The space is small and awkward, with low ceilings and a sump pump in the middle of it, so it was going to require some planning to make work.


Before You Start: Find Inspiration for Your Home Gym

Before you dive in to our tips on how to create a home gym, find some inspiration for your own space. What’s important to you? What’s motivating to you? What functional needs do you have for this space? Are there any parts of the room you need to work around or hide?

I started this project, as I do every project, by scouring Pinterest for hours, trying to look for ideas for a small (and inexpensive) home barre studio. I loved the idea of a chalkboard wall to track my progress with my own “Countdown to 100 Club,” and write some inspirational quotes on .

The things I decided were “must haves” were a barre, a few mirrors, a tv for on demand classes, a chalkboard wall, a cover for the sump pump, and a more comfortable floor (doing any exercise on a concrete floor is a no-go).

Determine Your Budget

Since we had just bought our home, there wasn’t a ton of money to hire someone to create what I wanted, or to buy expensive equipment or furniture for what I wanted. My two big splurges were the flooring and an official barre from Pure Barre, my favorite barre studio. Otherwise, I had to purchase a few mirrors on sale at Bed Bath & Beyond (thank you back-to-college discounts) and the chalkboard wall paint. I repurposed or already owned everything else. The paint I used was leftover from our living/dining room (Behr Paint and Primer in 1 in Smokestack with eggshell finish).

Ok, let’s dive into how to create a home gym of your own!

Step 1: Working Around a Part of Your Room aka How to Hide a Sump Pump

sump pump and dehumidifer in home gym
Dehumidifier, sump pump, space heater all in a row

Do you have something in your room that you’ll need to hide or work around to make your space a functional home gym? For me, it was our sump pump and dehumidifier.

The sump pump was truly the elephant in the room, so I started this project by trying to find a solution for it. It’s in the middle of the room, takes up a good chunk of floor space right in the middle of the room, and it makes half of the back wall basically unusable with the drainage pipe.

I searched the internet for solutions to this sump pump. It certainly couldn’t be moved or disconnected (flooding in the basement is never a good situation). I saw a ton of options for covering the sump pump or building an enclosure for it, but I was at the beginning of my DIY-ness and the idea of having to build something with a saw was a too much for me to handle at the time. The other drawback to building a cover is that it limits the access to the sump pump when needed, and it just takes up even more space in the tiny room.

So, I decided to try and camouflage the pump as best as I could and just embrace whatever I couldn’t. This was a great first lesson in ‘sometimes, you just have to work with what you’ve got.’ I can’t spend a ton of money trying to change an essential part of my house just to gain 15 square feet of gym space. And, to bring Marie Kondo into it, this sump pump provides a useful purpose for our house, so I should learn to appreciate its usefulness and not focus on its hindrance.

If I wasn’t going to buy or build something to cover up the sump pump, that left camouflaging and cleaning up the sump pump (you can obviously apply this principle to anything you don’t like in your house). I painted the giant pipe the same color as I painted the wall. This helped the pipe blend into the wall a teeny bit so it wasn’t the first thing I saw when I walked into the room. I also used a piece of the foam flooring a chose to cover up the sump pump cover. It’s still easily removable, but as you can see, it helps the room seem so much bigger without the giant black cover on the floor.

sump pump cover in home gym

And, one of the biggest thing I did was organize the wires. When I moved in, the wires for the pump and backup battery were a tangled mess. All the outlets in the room are in the middle of the wall, so that tangled mess was not only on the floor, but also traveling half way up the wall.

By spending 30 minutes untangling the wires, lining the equipment against the back of the wall, the space visually looked so much cleaner and I gained a few more feet of usable space. I also installed a wire cover to run from the outlet to the floor to help hide the wires a little more. If you haven’t used one of these before they’re super easy. You can get ones that are just peel and stick on the wall, and you just need a utility knife or scissors to trim the piece to the correct height.

These fixes were super small and required no skills, but they made a huge difference in the space!

You may not have something as ugly or immovable as a sump pump, but get creative in how you’re going to camoflauge it! A little paint can hide a lot of things. And, honestly, so can a good clean. For me, organizing the wires for the sump pump and dehumidifer made the biggest difference.

dog sitting in home gym
You can see the wire cover better in the final pic, but you can see how much floor space I have now!

Step 2: Make the Space Functional as a Home Gym

our dog Sadie in our home gym
Sadie’s a great model

The second step in how to create your home gym is making the space functional as a workout space. I started by asking myself, What’s in the way of making your space functional as a home gym? For me, I definitely needed to address the floor–concrete’s not my favorite thing to workout on, especially with all the kneeling and floor work in barre.

If you Google ‘home gym flooring,’ rubber mats and foam squares are the first things that come up. I liked the idea of the foam floor, which would provide a little more cushion for my floor work, so I started researching those.

In the end I chose Dark Oak Soft Wood Tiles from Rubber Flooring Inc. The faux wood made my home gym feel a little more like a studio than my basement, and I love that they sent me free sample so I could see the colors in person.

With foam tiles, install is a breeze. You need a tape measure and a utility knife–that’s it! Your tiles will come with edges and square pieces, so you’ll fit them together in your room. I started in a corner and worked my way from one wall to the next. When I got to the end, I measured how much distance was left, and then cut a tile with my utility knife to fit that space. Cutting the tiles allows you to customize the floor tiles to your space.

Step 3: Make Your Space Motivational

chalkboard wall detail

Another important part of creating a home gym is making the space motivational. You want to want to workout in that space. For me, if the space isn’t pretty or clean or comfortable, I’m not going to work out. And, I like to have some things I can see to motivate me while I work out. The easiest way to make my home gym motivational was a motivation wall. Pinterest has plenty of ideas to help find what works for you (as always), and for me, it was the chalkboard motivational walls. So, that’s what I decide to put in my home gym. You can see exactly how to make a chalkboard wall at my post here.

Step 4: Add Your Equipment and Any Finishing Touches

The last step in how to create your home gym is to add your equipment in and personalize your home gym to your exact needs. Since I was trying to make my own barre studio, I hung 3 long mirrors, as I find them super helpful in barre.

long mirrors in home gym

I installed my Pure Barre barre on the shorter wall, which allowed me to see myself in the mirrors and see the tv and motivational wall.

ballet barre

I used an Ikea shelf as my tv stand, which provided me with storage for my DVD player and Pure Barre DVDs, my sticky socks, weights, and ball.

home gym tv setup

Enjoy Your New Home Gym!

home gym after pic

I LOVE having my own barre studio to work out in. It’s definitely motivating to have a space that I love to work out in. We added a rower since completing this project, and it easily folds up out of the way when not in use, so I can still use the floor space for barre. How I created my home gym will likely be completely different than yours–and that’s ok! Your space should be personal to you and your workout needs!

home gym after pic

What do you think? Anything you would change? How would you create your own home gym?


I'd love your feedback or to answer any questions!

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