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 (opens in new tab) 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
If you are doing a garage conversion for your 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 (opens in new tab). 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
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 (opens in new tab) and Brandon Architects (opens in new tab) 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 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
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
If your garage conversion ideas are gravitating towards a garage gym, you may as well get serious about full-body workouts.
Nick Taylor (opens in new tab), 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
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
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
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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab), 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.