How to create a home fitness space in small areas

Tips to transform your space into the perfect workout haven

Finding the right spot for your home workout area is key to staying on track with your fitness goals. Photograph: iStock

Exercise has been proven to enhance mood, boost happiness and help towards alleviating feelings of depression. However, more than a third of Irish people don’t exercise regularly due to limited access to fitness facilities, cost and unreliable weather. What if you could eliminate these barriers by creating a personalised fitness zone in your home? Here are some practical tips to help you transform your space into the perfect workout haven.

The right space

Finding the right spot for your home workout area is key to staying on track with your fitness goals. Although exercise equipment can be bulky and tough to blend with your home decor, choosing the best location makes all the difference.

Instead of cramming large equipment into your main living areas, consider alternative spaces such as garden rooms, which can easily be transformed into a gym. Or think about converting an unused room, such as a guest bedroom or home office, into a dedicated workout space. This will help reduce distractions and keep your living spaces tidy.

Even if you have limited space, you can still create an effective home workout area with various compact and space-saving equipment options. Resistance bands are versatile, providing a full-body workout and are easy to store. Kettlebells are another great choice, offering strength and cardio exercise options. Adjustable dumbbells save space by replacing multiple sets, allowing for a wide range of exercises. Foldable exercise bikes provide convenient cardio workouts and can be tucked away when not in use.


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Select exercise equipment you enjoy using and store it in an accessible, visible spot to keep you motivated and active. The main objective is to create a workout space that’s both convenient and inviting so you can maintain an active lifestyle without leaving the comfort of your home.


To create an inviting home gym, prioritise natural light by choosing a room with large windows or glass doors, which not only enhances the aesthetic but also boosts mood and energy. Position your exercise equipment to take advantage of the daylight, as it can improve your performance and overall wellbeing.

If your space lacks natural light, use reflective materials and lighter colours to brighten it. Opt for pale floor finishes such as light timbers or tiles, as they can significantly increase a room’s brightness. Mirrors are a cost-effective way to make any room feel more spacious and brighter. Place them near windows to maximise natural light and create the illusion of a larger space.

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Proper artificial lighting is also crucial in a home gym, especially when natural light is limited or if you tend to work out in the evenings. Consider installing full-spectrum LED lights that mimic daylight, reducing eye strain and promoting an energising environment.

Layer your lighting with a combination of overhead fittings and task lighting. Use adjustable track lighting or spotlights to highlight specific areas such as a workout bench or yoga mat. Dimmable options allow you to create a calming atmosphere for yoga sessions or an intense ambience for high-energy workouts.

Add personal touches that reflect your style and motivate you to work out. This bedroom is by Optimise Design. Photograph: Ruth Maria Murphy

Smart tech

Elevate your home gym by integrating smart technology, turning it into a cutting-edge fitness sanctuary. Begin with a smart speaker or voice assistant, allowing you to effortlessly control workout playlists, set timers and follow guided routines. Interactive workout mirrors such as Tempo provide live and on-demand classes, offering a personal trainer experience in the comfort of your home.

Upgrade your equipment with connected machines such as smart treadmills, stationary bikes, or rowing machines. These devices often track your performance, provide personalised workout plans and offer accompanying apps to monitor your progress, ensuring you stay on track with your fitness goals.

Making exercise more enjoyable can also boost motivation. Install a TV or sound system in your workout area to keep your workouts entertaining. Even a simple addition, such as a Bluetooth speaker for your favourite Spotify playlists, can enhance your workout experience.

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Finishing touches

Start with practical items such as storage solutions for resistance bands, yoga blocks and foam rollers etc. A wall-mounted rack or stylish storage bins can keep your equipment organised and within reach.

Add personal touches that reflect your style and motivate you to work out. Keep it decorative with artwork, or more motivational with something such as a whiteboard to track your fitness goals and progress. Plants can also bring a touch of nature into your gym, improving air quality and creating a calming atmosphere.

Creating a home gym that is right for you isn’t as hard as it might seem. With a little planning and some simple tips, you can design a space that helps you reach your fitness goals and looks great in your home. Whether you’re into yoga, lifting weights or boxing, you can have the perfect home gym that’s just right for you.

Denise O’Connor is an architect and design consultant at Optimise Design