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50 Basement Gym Ideas and Design Tips



Gyms have become less convenient than ever, and many people are exercising at home more than ever before. If you’ve got a basement, you’ve got plenty of room to build a home gym that will help you stay in shape and be prepared for anything life throws at you.

If you’re lacking in inspiration, these 50 basement gym ideas and design tips should help spark a bit of motivation and creativity, so that you’ll find the drive you need to get back to your fitness routine.

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50 Basement Gym Ideas

1. Affordable Mirror Wall

There are many reasons why practically every gym you’ve seen is equipped with mirrored walls that stretch nearly the entire perimeter. Not only do they help you to see your progress, but they can also help you maintain proper form while you exercise. Plus, you always look best with a pump, so you better take advantage of that good mirror time while you can get it!

2. DIY Wooden Squat Rack

A squat rack is an essential piece of gear for any basement gym. But squat racks are expensive, heavy, and difficult to transport. Getting one shipped can be pretty expensive too. But you can skip all of that nonsense by building a squat rack of your own. Be careful with this though. Whatever you do, don’t under-build it. You want to make sure that your squat rack is able to withstand more weight than you can possibly lift.

3. Wall Storage Saves Space

When you’re building a basement gym, space is always at a premium. If you have equipment on the ground, it’s reducing the amount of space you have available for exercise. Since this is the case, it’s always a good idea to try and store as many items on the wall as possible. You might have to get creative with how you mount things, but you can use shelves, cubbies, pegs, hooks, and more.

4. Center Your Gym Around One Main Piece of Equipment

Since you probably don’t have an abundance of space, you don’t have to focus on stuffing as much equipment into your gym as possible. Instead, you can center your entire basement gym around one or two main pieces of equipment. Something like a power rack can be used to do such a wide range of exercises that you can easily work every body part and muscle group with this one station. Just try experimenting with different attachments and movements to keep your body guessing.

5. A Good View Enhances Your Mood

If you’re in the basement, you’re not always going to be able to find a beautiful view you can look at like this one. Heck, you might not be able to find a view other than a concrete wall. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Get creative. Install a fish tank or put up some art that always puts you in a good mood when you see it.

6. Use Whatever Space is Available

In a perfect world, we’d all have as many extra rooms as necessary to provide space for the multitude of hobbies, past-times, recreations, and responsibilities we have. But in this world, we have to make do with what’s available. Even if you have limited space and have to share that small space with other stuff, don’t be defeated. Use what you have available to you and make the most of it.

7. Think Functional With Your Fitness

Your basement gym can be whatever you want it to be. If you want it to be all about lifting heavy weights, then build the dungeon of your dreams. But if you want to be a bit more health-focused instead, try building your gym around a few key pieces of functional equipment that will let you complete a diverse array of exercises aimed at maintaining and improving your movement patterns and overall health.

8. Make the Most of What You’ve Got

sneakers and workout equipment
Image Credit: Alexandra Tran, Unsplash

You don’t need a ton of equipment to build a useful basement gym. In fact, you can get a great workout with a single piece of equipment, or even with no equipment at all! Don’t let your lack of equipment be a barrier to your success. Instead, make the most of what’s available to you. Find many different ways to utilize each piece of equipment you have instead of looking for new equipment to fill a single use.

9. Simple Can Still Be Effective

pink workout equipment
Image Credit: Elena Kloppenburg, Unsplash

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to have an impressive gym loaded with every piece of modern equipment. Having limited equipment will force you to think creatively and learn to maximize your efforts by thinking smarter instead of just working harder. Sometimes, simple is all you need.

10. Create the Mood That Inspires You

Each one of us is a unique individual with different tastes, goals, preferences, and desires. While some people might prefer to work out in a dark dungeon with blaring music and bare walls, others might prefer a brightly lit room with decorative art to keep them smiling. Whatever your preferences are, build them into your basement gym. You have to enjoy the room if you want to entice yourself to spend plenty of time in there.

11. Leave Plenty of Open Space

It’s easy to start putting equipment in every open spot on the floor of your basement gym. The problem is, you’ll quickly run out of space, preventing you from performing dynamic movements and overcrowding your workout environment. Try leaving plenty of open space instead, while prioritizing just a few pieces of vital equipment that you know you can use effectively to perform a variety of different exercises.

12. You Can Never Have Too Much Equipment

Ok, this might sound like the opposite of the advice we just gave, but this comes back to building the gym that works for you. If you don’t care about dynamic movements and you’re a bodybuilder just looking to add mass and get the best pump possible, then you don’t need a bunch of open space. You might prefer to pack your gym with equipment to hit each muscle from every angle possible, and that’s perfectly alright.

13. Create Your Gym Around Your Passions

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the back wall of this room features an auto-belay machine and climbing holds to scale the wall. Then you can see the different pull-up areas available, plus the TRX station, and it becomes clear that someone here is training to improve their rock climbing. Whatever your passions are, build your basement gym around them and you’ll be more likely to keep using it every day.

14. Don’t Forget the Flooring

When you’re planning and building a basement gym, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun of adding equipment and thinking about workouts you’ll perform with each new piece. But there’s one fundamental item you must think about before adding any equipment to your gym — flooring! The flooring needs to go under the equipment and it will protect the floor of your home beneath.

15. DIY Monkey Bars

Monkey bars aren’t just for the playground anymore. These can offer a wicked workout for a person of any age. Plus, you can easily build a set yourself out of industrial pipe. This is something that will benefit your kids as much as it benefits you since they’ll likely be climbing across the monkey bars more often than you!

16. You Can Still Go Heavy at Home

Just because you’re training at home doesn’t mean you can’t still go into BEAST MODE! If you get the right safety equipment, you can still safely push yourself to your limits in the comfort of your own home. Just remember to get outside of your comfort zone, no matter what that takes. If you were going to find gains in your comfort zone, you’d have reached your goals long ago.

17. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative

Sometimes, you have to use your resourcefulness and come up with something out of the box. When you need a pulldown bar and there are no bars available, look around and see if you can make one out of what is available. Don’t let anything get in the way of a good workout.

18. You Only Need the Equipment You’ll Use

All the equipment in the world isn’t going to make a difference if you don’t put it to use. You can fill your gym with every machine and weight you can fit, but if you don’t like working with that equipment, it won’t do you any good. You’ll be better served by utilizing only a few pieces of equipment that you know you’ll actually use.

19. Make Your Own Lifting Platform

If you’re into deadlifts, Olympic lifts, heavy squats, or powerlifting, you’ll want a lifting platform in your basement gym. But you don’t need to run out and spend a few hundred to have one shipped to you. Rather, a trip to your local home improvement store is all you need. Get a few materials and with a couple of tools and some DIY skills, you can build your own lifting platform without cutting into your budget for weights.

20. Build a Gym You’ll Enjoy

If you hate the workouts you plan to do in your basement gym, you’ll look for every excuse possible not to perform them. On the other hand, if you love your gym and it feels like a joyous place that you always enjoy, you’ll be more apt to spend lots of time there. The moral is: build your gym into a space that you love to be.

21. Use Peg Board for Customizable Wall Storage

Regardless of how you design your basement gym now, you don’t know what the future holds. You could add or remove equipment, move things around, or any number of other changes. But if your gym walls are covered with pegboard, you’ll be prepared for any change since the walls will always be customizable.

22. Design Your Gym to Fit a Corner

Your basement might be spacious, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily want to use all of that space for your gym. Make the best of the space you have by thinking minimalist and fitting your gym into just one corner of your basement.

23. Bodyweight Has Many Benefits

Don’t underestimate the benefits of bodyweight exercises and workouts. You can perform a wide range of bodyweight exercises with little to no equipment that can offer many ways to continue improving your physical abilities and appearance, even if there isn’t much equipment available.

24. Keep it Well Lit

Some people prefer the dungeon-esque feel of a basement gym. But for everyone else, light your gym as brightly as possible so it doesn’t feel gloomy. You’ll be more likely to work out if you feel energized in your basement gym.

25. Hang Up Motivational Sayings

Motivational sayings can be a great way to encourage yourself to start or finish a difficult training session. The sayings that motivate each of us are different, so try searching social media to find the sayings and mantras that most resonate with you.

26. One Piece of Equipment Might Be Enough

Just because it’s called a gym doesn’t mean you have to have a bunch of equipment. If you can get everything you need out of a single piece of equipment, then that might be all you need.

27. Give Every Accessory a Designated Place

Organization is key when it comes to designing a basement gym. It also helps you to make the most of limited space. So, give every accessory and piece of equipment a designated space and make sure it always makes it back to its space before you leave the gym.

28. Try Building Some Old School Equipment

There are plenty of old-school exercises that don’t see much use anymore, even though they’re excellent choices that can really push your fitness. Try building a climbing pegboard to increase your grip, arm, and back strength without having to do any pull ups.

29. Start With the End in Mind

When you’re looking at a bare basement, unfinished and drab, it can be difficult to envision what it might be after you finish your work. But try to put that final picture in your mind so you know what you’re working toward.

30. DIY Parallettes

Parallettes allow you to perform many bodyweight exercises, including plyometrics and isometrics. You can easily build this set with a few bucks worth of materials from your local home improvement store, proving once again that you don’t need to spend much to build a viable basement gym.

31. Save Money by Using Repurposed Materials

If you’re adding up the costs of putting together your home gym and it seems too expensive, try building your own equipment using repurposed materials. Often, you can find these materials for very cheap or even free, allowing you to drastically reduce the cost of building your basement gym.

32. Keep it Clean

In today’s climate, being hygienic is more important than ever. Just because Joe Public isn’t using your basement gym doesn’t mean you should let hygiene fall by the wayside. Ensure you’re keeping your space and equipment clean and sterile by utilizing an all-purpose gym cleaner after each workout.

33. Build a Heavy Bag Instead of Buying One

If you’re like most people, you can probably find a hundred pieces of equipment that you’d like to add to your basement gym. That would cost quite a bit, but you can add a lot more equipment if you think outside the box and build it yourself. You can easily repurpose some old tires into an excellent heavy bag that will offer you the same workout you’d get if you purchased one instead.

34. Use Technology to Make Workouts More Enjoyable

Some people think there’s no place for technology in workouts. But if some modern amenities make your workout more enjoyable, then do whatever it takes to get yourself in the gym more often. Whether that’s watching a movie while doing cardio or listening to loud music while lifting, anything that helps you train more is a blessing.

35. DIY Weight Plate Storage

There are many ways to store your weight plates, but you don’t have to pay for them! Try building this DIY plate rack to keep your weights organized on the cheap.

36. Build a Rack For Your Dumbbells

Sticking with the DIY mentality, try building a rack for your dumbbells. Dumbbells are already pretty expensive pieces of equipment, so save yourself some money on their storage by building it yourself.

37. Build a Simple Pullup Bar

A pullup bar is a versatile piece of equipment that will allow you to perform a variety of different exercises. And let’s face it, almost everyone needs to get better at pullups. Luckily, you can build this one for next to nothing, so there’s no excuse for not having a pullup station in your basement gym.

38. Paint the Wall For That Extra Push

It’s your basement gym, so design it in a way that will motivate you. Try painting the most inspirational slogan you can think of on your wall so that you read it whenever you get tired and it helps inspire you to push through the pain and bang out another set or one more rep.

39. Pick a Color Scheme

Not everyone cares about matching colors or cute workout spaces. But if a specific color scheme is going to make your basement gym feel more inviting for you, then break out the roller and start painting.

40. Maximize Your Use of Space

Image Credit: Artazum, Shutterstock

If you want a lot of equipment but don’t have much space, you’re going to have to get creative. Find ways to maximize the space you do have by storing things in the most efficient manner possible.

41. Use Mirrors to Make it Feel Spacious

Mirrors do more than just allow you to watch yourself. Cover one wall in a small workout space with mirrors and see how much larger your basement gym appears after.

42. Your Gym Doesn’t Require Much Space

For most households, extra space in the home is at a premium. Keeping a squat rack set up all the time would take up a ton of space, though it only sees use for an hour or two each day. But if you get creative with your equipment and storage, you can fit far more than you might think. Try folding equipment and wall storage for a combination that will help you keep your gym out of the way when it’s not in use.

43. Paint Can Transform a Room

One thing that can change the feeling of any room immediately is a coat of paint. Figure out what color is going to provide the mood you need in your basement gym and start rolling or spraying to change the mood in your gym and inspire the best workouts of your life.

44. Don’t Allow the Clutter

With equipment scattered around and not much space, clutter builds up quickly. But if you stay on top of it, you can transform the look of your basement gym and maintain an environment that you enjoy.

45. Opt For the Most Versatile Equipment

The best pieces of equipment are the ones you’ll use the most and the ones that allow you to do the most things. Equipment like battle ropes offer so many different ways to train that you’ll never get bored.

46. Finish the Room Before Adding Equipment

When building your basement gym, it’s important to finish building the space before adding any equipment. Trying to work around equipment will make your job much harder, so just exercise some patience and wait to add equipment until you’ve finished all the basics.

47. Make it Your Own

Your basement gym is for you and no one else. So, make it your own. Incorporate the type of equipment you need for the styles of training you prefer and don’t worry about what equipment other people would use in their basement gyms.

48. Chalkboard Wall

This is a great idea that makes it easy to track your workouts or to put a workout on the wall for easy reference, so you don’t forget what you’re doing partway through. Paint a wall with chalk paint and you can easily write on it with chalk, wiping it off with a chalk eraser when you’re done so it’s ready for your next session.

49. Make a Gym to Enjoy with Friends

man and woman working out on the gym
Image Credit: MilanMarkovic78, Shutterstock

While your gym is really meant for you, everything is better when it’s done with friends. If you make a basement gym that excites all your friends, you’ll always have plenty of partners to train with!

50. Don’t Forget About the Kids’ Corner!

Don’t forget about the little ones while you’re designing your basement gym. They watch what you do and want to copy, so while they’re young, it’s the best time to get them interested in working out. Hopefully, it will instill a lifelong passion in them for staying healthy and fit.

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Hopefully, one or several of these awesome basement gym ideas has sparked your interest and got the wheels turning in your head. Take any of these ideas and modify them to fit your own needs and wants.

Remember, your home gym is for you. It does no good if it’s not a place that you actually want to spend time. So, build it the way that pleases you, geared to fit your own interests and hobbies. Then, you’ll be very likely to use it regularly and continue to reach all those fitness goals you set for the new year.

Featured Image Credit: Mcability, Pixabay


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