Interior Design

How to create your own home gym, according to interior designer Katharine Pooley

Keeping fit during lockdown need not be a problem

home gym ideas
(Image credit: Future / Craig Knowles)

If you can create the space for it you really should consider it – a home gym is such an asset, it actively encourages fitness and positivity in your life. There are so many areas in our homes that are underused; spare bedrooms, basements and attics full of clutter, out buildings and garages sitting empty. By comparison a home gym is something you and your family will use and enjoy every day and will be an uplifting and empowering addition to your home.

Katharine Pooley is one of the most sought-after interior designers working internationally today. Here she shares some of her favourite home gym ideas.

1. What makes a good home gym

Functionality is key, spaces should be zoned to ensure all exercises can be undertaken with adequate space. 

Size is very important – you need to have enough space to achieve your goals for the space. If you’re a regular gym goer, you’ll be in there a lot so it needs to be space you enjoy spending time in, and have enough space to feel relaxed and not cramped. I find, especially in the current climate, that the equipment itself isn’t what’s vital; it’s having a space you like being in, and that works for your needs. 

It’s a good idea to clearly define the different spaces within your home gym; for example a yoga area, a weights section, a cardio corner. Each exercise comes with a different mentality, and that should be reflected in the space itself.

Home gym ideas

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

2. Utilise space

This completely depends on your needs; if you want your own personal yoga studio, you only need a small room, the size of a small bedroom and mirror panelling can be added to give a feeling of spaciousness. 

However, if you’re planning a fully equipped gym and you have a treadmill, weights etc, you will definitely need more space. Consider height too – if you have low ceilings, high intensity exercise with jumping will prove more challenging.

Home gym ideas

(Image credit: Katharine Pooley)

See: 10 easy children's room ideas that will inspire children and parents alike

3. Consider the best lighting 

Exercises like yoga or Pilates fit better with soft, low lighting, whereas with high intensity cardio safety comes first, so proper lighting is a must. 

The best idea would be to plan a combination of lighting. Diffused LED strip lighting hidden in ceiling coffers and joinery will give a soft uplifting wash of light. Overhead down lights will allow for bright task lighting. 

I also like to add some aesthetic accent lighting like sculptural contemporary crystal and bronze wall lights – a gym can still be an elegant and considered space - function and beauty is my mantra.

Home gym tips

(Image credit: Warren Smith)

4. Learn from past mistakes 

People often assume an at home gym is all about the equipment; it’s not, just as an actual gym isn’t just about the equipment. It’s about the changing rooms, the music, the lighting, the atmosphere; the same is said for your at home workout space. Make sure you’re creating an experience for when you exercise; much like they do in boutique gyms.

Katharine Pooley,