Home Gym

How to Build a Small Home Gym

Treadmill | Mat

I love the convenience of a home gym. I can work out when I want, how I want, and you can’t beat the commute. A home gym doesn’t haven’t to be large to be functional, a small home gym will work just fine. I’m going to share with you how to build a small home gym from start to finish so you can have a space that inspires you to work out.  I’ll walk you through selecting a space, setting up the area or room, adding equipment, finding storage solutions for smaller areas, and then adding some finishing touches. 

If you’re worried about the price of building a home gym, don’t be. You have a lot of options for staying within your budget. You can use any equipment that you already have or you can buy used equipment. You can still have a nice space to work out in without having the newest exercise equipment or lots of it.

Select a Space for Your Home Gym

Before you start building your home gym, you’ll need to select a space where you can set up your equipment. If you have an extra room in your home, this will make the perfect area for your gym. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a dedicated room then you’ll need to think outside the box. Remember, this space doesn’t have to be huge, just an area that is designated for the sole purpose of getting your workout in from home.

At a minimum, you’ll need to choose a space where you at least have room for a mat so you can do some basic exercises. If you have some gym equipment, you’ll need to choose a bigger area. If you don’t have an extra room, consider building your home gym in the corner of a room, in a garage, or even someplace like a shed.

We had a spare room in our basement that we decided to use for our home gym. This room is actually much larger than you need but allowed us to have multiple equipment options.

Setup the Area

Now that you’ve chosen a space for your home gym, it’s time to set up the area and get it ready for your workouts. The goal here is to create a space where you’ll feel motivated to work out. If you have any clutter in the area, move it on out so you have room for your equipment and any distractions are out of sight. 


Lighting is the first thing that you need to look at. Is your area lit well enough? Do you need to add natural or artificial lighting? Look at the area during different parts of the day to make sure that it’s well-lit. If you’re lacking light, consider adding a table or floor lamp to the area. Personally, I like to be around a window or windows while I am working out. If you have the option and an open area that has a window, that would be a great place for a small home gym.


Depending on what type of exercises you want to do, you may need to consider changing your flooring. Solid surfaces are great for most workouts but you may want to add some mats if you’re going to do a lot of floor work. 

We have acid-stained concrete floors in our basement. So we make use of mats where we need them, like under the bench, and some that we can roll out for floor work.


If you have the room, consider adding mirrors to your area. Mirrors can really elevate your workouts. They give you immediate feedback when you’re exercising, allowing you to improve your form.  Mirrors also make the area look bigger and enhance natural light to a small home gym.

Add Equipment

After you’ve set up your room or area, it’s time to actually start building your home gym by adding any exercise equipment that you have. Start by placing the larger pieces of equipment and then you can add smaller items at the end. As you add equipment, ensure that you have enough area around the equipment so you can actually use it and walk around it. 

Pull Up & Dip Station | Dumbbell Bench | Dumbbell Rack | Dumbbells

Do you have equipment that you rarely use? Depending on how often you use it, either store it somewhere else or push it over to the side so you can use it when you need it. Considering most home gyms are small, I would consider only keeping equipment that you use on a consistent basis. If you haven’t touched it in a year or so, it would probably be safe to say you can toss it.


Our biggest piece of equipment is our treadmill. We placed that down first in our home gym to make sure that it has the space it needs. And we positioned it so that it is facing a window. Having a good view always makes a run more enjoyable!

If you have any other large cardio equipment like a stationary bike, elliptical machine, or rowing machine, find a spot for them. While working with a smaller space it is important to keep in mind that you don’t have to have tons of cardio equipment. Choose your favorite one and go with that! A stationary bike or foldable treadmill will probably be the most compact.


We have quite a few pieces of equipment for strength training. This includes an incline bench with a leg extension attachment, a pull-up/dip bar, and a curl bar with plates. We also have several sets of dumbells, which we store on a rack. This helps keep the home gym looking nice and neat when it’s not in use.

I placed each of these in the room, making sure that there is enough room to use them. 

Again, working with a smaller space, you may want to look into a set of adjustable dumbells. This will give you more space and allow you to save time on changing weights.

Find Storage Solutions

Now that you’ve placed all your equipment it’s time to take care of the rest of your workout gear. Smaller items like jump ropes, foam rollers, and resistance bands can be kept on shelves. Shelves are also a good place to keep some towels and water bottles.

Yoga mats can be rolled up and placed in the corner. As I mentioned above, if you have dumbbells, make sure you have a rack to keep them organized and out of the way when you’re not using them. 

Final Touches

This is your home gym and you should have some items in your gym that reflect you. Think about motivational posters, plants, and candles. Add anything that makes you fall in love with the space. The more you love it, the more you’ll visit it.

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  • Reply Bridget Shrader

    Thanks for sharing! What are the room dimensions and ceiling height for your gym space?

    February 8, 2021 at 3:24 pm
    • Reply Henry

      You’re welcome. It’s 13’x16′ with 9′ ceilings.

      February 8, 2021 at 4:49 pm
      • Reply Michael

        Hello- Do you recall the color/brand of the floor stain?

        November 2, 2021 at 9:59 am
      • Reply Melissa

        Your gym looks terrific. One thing I love about my home gym is the audio/visual aspect. I love doing cardio while watching sports or even a 30 minute show. I also have an echo dot that can blast a workout mix. Am I out of touch?

        January 6, 2023 at 6:51 pm
  • Reply Sheila

    Did you make the double barn door yourself? Or where did you purchase it from?

    March 8, 2022 at 12:02 am
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