11 basement gym ideas that are stylish and functional

Create a beautiful basement gym that takes the work out of workout

yellow gym equipment in a blue wall home basement gym - getty
(Image credit: Getty)

Basement gyms are becoming ever more popular, and with good reason. During the pandemic, basements have become prime territory for hobbies, school, work or working out. It is more convenient, less intimidating and less expensive in the long run. With COVID still hanging around and gyms opening sporadically, it’s time to create your very own basement gym.

With little or no natural light and low ceilings, it’s easy to see why cold, dark basements are often overlooked. They are used as a backstage area where we dump things we don’t need, just in case we might need them again in ten years. But, there are so many better home gym ideas for this space. The cool, quiet basement is the ideal spot to create your perfect home gym.

When the new year rolls around, instead of buying another gym membership as part of a resolution you won't keep, vow to create a basement gym right here in your home. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune to set up and we assure you it is money well spent. Your home gym will always be good to go, no need to renew your membership. Plus, it’s so much easier to hit the gym when it's just down the stairs.

Most importantly, you can create a gym that you actually want to work out in. If yoga is your thing, create a zen basement studio with art hung on the walls and warm candlelight. If you prefer a spin class, get some disco lights, music, add a bike and you’re set. If you like weights, you can cover the floor with mats and the wall with mirrors and get lifting.

Basement gym ideas to make the most of your space

All of the things that make a basement space so unappealing ordinarily - cool, dark, quiet, separate from the rest of the house - are exactly what makes the basement the perfect spot for your new gym. 

Take a look at these fabulous basement gym ideas and create your own perfect home workout space.

1. Build your very own climbing wall

Basement gym climbing wall idea

(Image credit: Atomik Climbing Holds)

A climbing wall is such a fun basement gym idea. Aesthetically, you couldn’t get away with building this anywhere else in your home, but the basement is the perfect spot. If you’re bored of going to the gym, this could be a great solution. 

Climbing can strengthen your hands, forearms, biceps, neck, shoulders, traps, back, lats, abs, glutes, thighs and calves. Your entire body benefits from climbing. It’s like having an entire commercial gym in your basement, but it’s much more fun. Climbing is also an activity the whole family can enjoy together and all of your friends will want to come and work out at your place too.

To find out more on how to create this amazing climbing wall in your basement, head to atomikclimbingholds.com (opens in new tab).

2. Create a zen yoga studio

Basement gym yoga studio with sofa chair coffee table mirror plant yoga mat and yog block

(Image credit: KoolShooters, Pexels)

With the addition of some cozy furniture, a faux plant and a mirror you can transform your basement into the perfect spot to relax for some candlelit yoga. During the pandemic we’ve all tried to do a living room yoga sesh or two, smashing into everyone and everything. 

There is often a lot more space in the basement and with a little TLC, it can become a zen paradise. You can add a sofa and a coffee table to create a calming space where you can read a book, drink tea, or find your next virtual yogi to follow. You could even add a diffuser to create a spa aroma. Make sure that you have installed some good ventilation if you’re going to do this though.

You can purchase a beautiful yoga mat from Lululemon (opens in new tab) or one of the best yoga mats on the market to suit your basement yoga studio decor and a diffuser for a spa aroma from Saje (opens in new tab).

3. Add fun, colorful equipment

yellow gym equipment in a blue wall basement home gym - getty

(Image credit: Getty)

If you have the space to go all out, get yourself some serious gym equipment. By adding pops of color to brighten up the space, a home gym is far more inviting than a commercial one. Basement gyms can sometimes be a little dark and dull, but this one feels fun and makes you want to use the equipment.

At Legend Fitness (opens in new tab) you can choose any color you like to fit with any basement gym style.

If you are a little short on space or budget, you don’t have to purchase all this fancy stuff to add some color to your basement gym. You could add a colorful yoga mat, paint a feature wall idea or add some interesting home gym wall decor ideas.

4. Have fun with the whole family

Family friendly basement gym idea with climbing frame rope and rings

(Image credit: Victoria Borodinova, Pixabay)

It’s becoming ever more difficult to keep our kids active. Why not create a basement gym that will be fun for the whole family? You can use ropes, ladders, monkey bars, and climbing frames to create an incredible indoor playground. 

This is a great way for kids and adults alike to get some exercise together, especially if you live somewhere where the weather is not always the best. This would also suit a garage gym idea too. 

5. Create a mirror wall

A home gym with two black framed large mirrors and machinery

(Image credit: KTM Design)

Nowhere else in your house offers you several windowless walls that you can cover with mirrors. If you want to work out like you’re at the gym, you need to be able to see what you’re doing. 

Also, there is usually very little natural light in a basement, so mirrors are a great way to make the space feel bigger and brighter, especially when you're designing a small home gym idea. For a budget-friendly option, you can simply purchase wall mirrors and hang them all up together, you don’t need to have a professional come in and install them.

6. Fashion a basement spin studio

a woman on an exercise bike in a basement or apartment

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If spin is your thing, the basement is the prime location for your own private spin studio. It’s a cool, dark space where you can crank the tunes and sweat it out. Spin class is so much more fun when it’s a party. All you need is an exercise bike, some disco lights and a TV for your virtual instructor. 

You can get one of the best exercise bikes with all the bells and whistles, or keep it simple and get a second-hand static bike on marketplace. There are plenty of different apps you can use to access instructors, live classes or competitions. Even if you try a few different apps, it’s still more cost-effective than the spin studio in the long run.

7. Get with the times with smart home gym equipment

Lululemon mirror basement gym idea smart gym equipment

(Image credit: Lululemon MIRROR)

We love gym classes where we can work out with friends and have an instructor to motivate us. The pandemic highlighted a need to work out together while staying physically apart, and there are now so many smart gym options available at competitive prices. You no longer need to find the motivation to leave your house and go to a gym class, you can access live classes right from your basement gym.

Smart gym equipment allows you to compete with your friends, play games and win medals. Plus the technology is so smart that equipment like MIRROR from Lululemon (opens in new tab)(pictured above) or Tempo (opens in new tab) can track your form as you workout and correct you as though you are right there in a live class.

8. Or, just install a TV

Basement gym idea with TV weight rack mirror wall and gym equipment

(Image credit: Planeta Design Group)

If you’re not super into the new smart workout equipment, a TV will certainly suffice. 

There are so many YouTubers out there who would love to take you through their workout routine. If you have a small basement, a TV, a mat, a bike or a few weights is all you need. You can cast your chosen workout to the TV and get your sweat on. Take a look at the best TV out there to really get you motivated. 

Even if you’re basement is not a huge space where you can create a purpose-built gym, it is still nice to have a dedicated space to work out in. If you’re trying to use the TV in your living room, you’re far more likely to sit on the sofa and put on another rerun of Grey’s Anatomy.

9. Stay motivated with cute signage

Home gym signage and shelving with plants and gym equipment

(Image credit: @_megortiz)

Putting up some cute signage that tells you to keep it up is a super inexpensive way to brighten up your basement workout space. You can add a gallery wall that both looks great and makes you feel great, like in the image above. 

Adding anything that makes your space more welcoming and encouraging is a great idea. If you’re crafty you can create your own art with messages that motivate you, or you can even go all out and create a chalkboard wall where you can write all your workout routines, motivational quotes or whatever works for you.

10. Or create a feature wall

Basement gym idea with wallpaper feature wall signage weight bench and yoga mat

(Image credit: Custom Neon)

You have so much windowless wall space in the basement that there is ample opportunity to create something interesting on the wall. Anything that makes the space more fun, will make you want to work out more. We love the colorful wallpaper and neon signage in the home gym pictured above. 

Get your own neon sign from Custom Neon (opens in new tab). Or, you could create a gallery wall idea with art, photos and signage, paint a mural, create a chalkboard wall for logging reps, or a faux live wall so you can feel the outdoors, even without windows.

11. Splash out on a spa

Home gym idea with weight rack bench yoga mats and foam rollers in a basket and sauna

(Image credit: Evin Kriebel – Evin photography)

We saved the best 'til last. Our favorite thing about going to the gym is the post-workout sauna. Why not bring the spa to your basement gym? It may cost a little more to install than some of our other ideas, but it is such a luxury to have a sauna in your own home. 

Saunas reduce stress, soothe sore muscles and rid the body of toxins. It could be a great addition to your basement gym. The gorgeous custom home sauna pictured by Evin Kriebel is from Sunlighten (opens in new tab). If you have the budget, you could go all out and get a hot tub for the backyard too.

Can I work out in my basement?

I think you may have guessed our answer to this one already, but yes you most certainly can. 

And it is a fantastic use of this overlooked space. Kyle Risley, health expert and CEO of Lift Vault (opens in new tab), says, ‘Your basement is one of the best places in your home that you can work out in. This is mainly because basement floors tend to be built on top of the foundation of your home, meaning they’re incredibly stable and resistant to flexing while jumping or dropping weights. However, there can be some trouble with overhead space in some basements, so this is something to look out for if your basement has a low roof.’

How do you ventilate a basement gym?

Because your basement is underground, it can be exposed to a lot of moisture. This needs to be controlled otherwise it could lead to mold or mildew which could have a serious impact on your health when you’re breathing heavily during a workout. If you’re lucky enough to have a window, ventilation isn’t so much of a challenge however, most basements are windowless.

Don Adams, foundation and basement expert at Regional Foundation Repair (opens in new tab) says, ‘I would advise that you place a moisture protection layer on the floors and walls of your basement. While working out there is a lot more condensation created, and without windows, or very small ones, you don't have the best ventilation. Adding a moisture protection layer can help your health.’

The easiest and least expensive ventilation option is a portable air purifier. It works by pulling air into the unit and moving it through a series of filters. The filters trap any contaminants like mold or mildew spores and then the clean air is pushed back out. It doesn’t require any expensive building projects to install windows or make holes in the walls. However, if you’re going to use your basement gym for years, it might be worth considering installing something more permanent like an exhaust fan or an air conditioning unit.

Stefan Bucur of rhythmofthehome.com (opens in new tab) agrees, ‘For a low cost approach fans and air purifiers work relatively well although in the long run we recommend connecting the basement to the home's air vents or HVAC system.’.

How do you stage a home gym?

As you can see from the gorgeous gym ideas above, a basement gym can be beautiful as well as functional. All you need to stage your gym are a few softer touches like pretty towels, art, mirrors and a plant or two to make your gym feel like a part of your home. If your home gym is a nice, inviting space, you are far more likely to want to work out in it.

Nichole Abbott, interior designer at FLOOR360 (opens in new tab) says, ‘Adding some softer elements to balance out the hard edges of equipment, machines and weights is important. Consider adding artwork, or exposed shelving with towels. Keeping the space uncluttered with shelving and storage for weights, kettlebells, exercise balls, or steps is crucial. Placing the larger equipment along the wall to create more space will help avoid overcrowding. Adding a floor to ceiling mirror will make the room look bigger.’

Emily Grant is a British ex-pat living in Squamish, Canada. She has written about all sorts from interior design and gardening, to travel, tourism, and pets. When she’s not writing, she loves finding DIY ways to beautify her rented space. She has become an expert in making small apartments feel like home and has written features on smart storage solutions, organization ideas, and seasonal decor. She also loves spending time out in the backyard, relaxing in the hammock on her beautiful patio. In addition to Real Homes, her work has featured on Gardeningetc and Homes & Gardens.

SPONSORS