8 garage gym ideas – create the perfect home gym in your garage

These garage gym ideas will help you use the available space fully – and they look good

A garage gym conversion overlooking a decked outdoor area
(Image credit: Builder: Patterson Custom Homes, Architect: Brandon Architects Interior, Designer: Ultra-Mod Home Concepts, Photographer: Jeri Koegel)

Garage gym ideas are about more than just cramming your garage with home gym equipment. A home gym in a garage also requires design decisions, as well as decisions about appropriate storage, the right flooring, and counteracting the darkness that tends to be an issue. 

So, these ideas for garage gyms tackle both the practical and the design questions. If all you have currently is an empty garage and lots of home gym ideas that don't necessarily translate well into this space, these garage-specific examples should give you plenty of inspiration.

Garage gym ideas: why build a gym in a garage?

Ideas for a home gym typically come to people when they realize that a gym inside their home, even if it's only a small gym idea, just will not work. From potential floor damage to noise, as well as the lack of privacy in a bust family home, a traditional home does have its drawbacks. 

Garages, on the other hand, seem made for gyms. Katie Thomas, founder of KTM Design explains that garage home gyms are so popular because they are 'the perfect size for all the equipment you may need', as well as delivering the much-desired 'separation' between home life and working out time, 'giving you a designated space to focus with minimal noise disruption.'

Garages are also remarkably sturdy – after all, as Katie points out, they are 'built to take the weight of cars, so you don’t need to worry about the weight of the machines.' You can easily fit all the home gym equipment you need in a garage without worrying too much about any negative impact on the floor/design of your home.

With this in mind, you do need to spend some time planning and designing your garage gym, especially if you are using your garage both as a home gym and for keeping your car in (this is called a half-garage gym).

1. Create a multi-purpose space

A garage home gym with yoga mats and bike on a wall

(Image credit: Garage Flex)

If you are converting an unused garage into a home gym, you will have enough room to create a multi-purpose space with several discreet workout areas. The beauty of a garage gym is that it can easily accommodate a rowing machine and a yoga mat, as well as a dedicated corner for weightlifting or HIIT training. 

This multi-purpose space has been created by Garage Flex. We really like how streamlined and uncluttered it is – more room for a more diverse selection of exercise equipment that's spaced out enough to allow multiple people to do different types of exercise at the same time. This layout is also suitable as part of half-garage gym ideas, where you'll only be able to use part of your garage at a time.

2. Open up the space with sliding doors

A contemporary home gym in a converted garage in Orange County, CA

(Image credit: Builder: Patterson Custom Homes, Architect: Brandon Architects, Interior Designer: Ultra-Mod Home Concepts, Photographer: Jeri Koegel)

The issue with many garage home gyms is that they can be quite dark. If you have the budget for it, consider opening up your garage conversion by installing bi-fold or sliding doors, or even a glass roof. 

This garage home gym created by Patterson Custom Homes and Brandon Architects is one of the smartest we've ever seen. The space has been designed to form continuity with the decked area outside. The result is an airy and open-feeling home gym that will never be too dark.

3. Combine a garage gym area with a utility area

A garage home gym with washing machine and fridge

(Image credit: Garage Flex)

A converted garage is an invaluable source of space for smaller homes, so it's understandable if you don't want to use all of that extra space just for the home gym. 

Because a garage is like a blank canvas, you really can put whatever you want in there. A treadmill, a washing machine, and shoe storage? Why not. If most utility room ideas are out of reach for you due to a lack of space, combining a utility area with your garage gym may well work.

4. Cheer up the space with colorful flooring

A garage home gym with blue and orange flooring

(Image credit: Garage Flex)

If you want a space that looks that little bit more exciting, invest in colorful home gym flooring. Vinyl flooring or resin flooring are both good options for garage gyms thanks to the durability of these materials, although you may find your floors eventually scuffs, so go for richer, deeper colors rather than light ones. 

5. Serious about working out? Use every inch of space

Nick Taylor's garage gym with extensive exercise equipment

(Image credit: Nick Taylor)

If your garage conversion ideas are gravitating towards a garage gym, you may as well get serious about full-body workouts. 

Nick Taylor, a professional personal trainer with over 15 years of experience, has created this highly sophisticated workout space in his garage. It's not for the faint of heart, and no available space has been wasted. If you have big fitness goals, take inspiration from the sheer range of equipment on display here. 

6. Keep your garage gym tidy with ample storage

Garage home gym with storage cabinets and biikes

(Image credit: Garage Flex)

If your garage gym is a family workout space, you will need to invest in some proper storage. We like how neat the space looks in this example by Garage Flex – the back wall has been lined with locker cabinets that keep all smaller items out of the way when not needed.

7. Consider an all-white design to brighten up the gym

A garage home gym with white panelling

(Image credit: Garage Flex)

Another way to tackle the potential darkness of a garage gym is by painting it all white or cladding the interior with white panels. Add plenty of lighting panels or spotlights to brighten up the space even more.

8. Create a weight lifting station

Nick Taylor garage home gym with weights

(Image credit: Nick Tayloe)

If strength training is one of your fitness goals, then you'll want to invest in the best dumbbells. As you experiment with different types and weights, you will find that they accumulate quite quickly, so you'll want to organize them properly in your garage gym. 

Nick Taylor's organizing of his dumbbells is exemplary – they are displayed in a multi-tier storage unit, in a way that makes selecting and retrieving them very easy. 

What do I need in a garage gym?

Mark Reynolds, founder and CEO of WeMakeGyms.com, told us that 'in an ideal scenario, it's good to be able to tick every box when it comes to a home gym. Those boxes are cardio training, resistance training, free weights training, and mobility/bodyweight/floor/core/functional work as the four main categories.'

That is a lot to cover and would involve a lot of machinery. Mark recommends:

  • one piece of cardio equipment (ideally total body like a cross-trainer but this also comes down to personal preference and of course budget)
  • a piece of equipment to facilitate resistance training like a cable machine or high-quality adaptable multigym
  • a free weights solution like a squat rack with complimentary bars and weight plates 
  • dumbbells or a squat rack hybrid

If you are using your whole garage as a home gym, this may well work fine. If space is limited, 'you combine the squat rack and cable machine in one footprint.' 

Also, don't forget that you'll need 'maximized floor space for the mobility/bodyweight/floor/core/functional work' – so, adequate vertical storage to keep the floor free is essential.

How can I make my garage gym look nice?

This is one of the most-asked questions people have about garage gyms, because garages are not inherently pretty spaces. The main trouble with them is that they are often very dark – some are windowless.

So, good lighting should make most garage gyms look much nicer. Alex Gwilliam, Sales Manager at Green Retreats, recommends 'choosing an LED lighting option that mimics natural daylight, such as an LED panel light, to really brighten your home gym and energize your workout.'

Good flooring will also go a long way towards creating a nicer look for your garage gym. You don't need to worry about the floor matching anything else in your garage, so a colorful floor can be a solution to an otherwise unremarkable-looking space.  

Finally, well-built storage lockers can elevate the look of your garage gym. Open shelving may be simpler, but for a more professional look, a purpose-built locker will really deliver. 

Anna is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.

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