Unfinished basement home gym

Home Gym Ideas for an Unfinished Basement

Thinking of turning your unfinished basement into a perfect home gym? While making it a reality might seem like a costly and difficult process, having your own gym could prove a worthwhile choice, considering the plenty of benefits that come along with it. You’ll not only steer clear of the heavy traffic to get to the public gyms, but also have the freedom to work out when it’s convenient and, of course, save money in the long run.

To simplify the process and help you get started, here is a list of home gym ideas for an unfinished basement.

I start off with determining what factors you’ll need to consider when designing your unfinished basement to a fully functional home gym. Well, they include:

Space for Workouts

One of the mistakes most fitness enthusiasts excited about creating ideal home gyms make is underestimating the space requirements for their activities. For an effective workout routine, you’ll just enough space to move around and operate safely.

If your basement has chunks of space, then this shouldn’t be a concern. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to create a perfect home gym in a small basement, even if it is divided into smaller rooms. To create more usable space, you may opt removing a few walls or pillars that you think will intrude in your gym space.

If that not ideal for you, then the smartest option is to dedicate the rooms to certain types of training. For example, you can use one room to accommodate equipment for weights and resistant training and another room for cardio workouts.


Another important factor worth your consideration is the type of home gym flooring you choose. A good floor option provides the protection and comfort you need to get the most out of your workouts. The popular home gym flooring options include foam, rubber, carpet, turf, and vinyl. Many people prefer rubber and vinyl floors because they are the most durable and easy to clean options. However, rubber is quite common as it is more affordable and absorbs shock more effectively from intense exercises or weight training.

Foam floors can prove hard to clean, but they usually absorb impact better compared to the turf, vinyl, and carpet tiles. But if you want a perfect base for exercise bikes, treadmills, or yoga, they are an excellent option.

Basement Ceiling Height

You obviously don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on a piece of equipment and later realize your ceiling won’t allow you to use it. Most basements are typically designed to have low ceiling heights, and this can leave you frustrated and annoyed.

The standard height for a home gym basement ceiling is 7 feet. This can only be ideal for those short users planning to do overhead bar-presses and chin-ups. But if you’re tall and want to do exercises like rope jumping, experts recommend having no lower than 12 feet of vertical space for maximum comfort and safety.

Power Outlets

Some of the workout equipment and tools will require a power supply, directly from the wall outlet for top performance. A treadmill, for example, needs to be plugged into an exclusive power outlet, and not an extension cord. So, it best to add extra outlets when redesigning your basement.

By the way, if a treadmill is exactly what you’re looking to get for your home gym, I strongly recommend you to read my buying guide on the best home gym treadmill under $500!


Needless to say, you need sufficient oxygenated air when training and proper ventilation is an extremely important element in this aspect, although it’s often neglected.

Increased heart rate during training means more carbon dioxide will be released in the air. You’ll also need enough quantity of oxygenated air quickly to be able to carry on with your workouts effectively.

When there’s a drastic increase in the carbon dioxide released than the oxygenated air, chances are you’re not going to enjoy exercises in your home gym for a long time.

Consider having patio doors and a few windows in the room to increase air flow. You can also install an overhead fan to keep the air circulating, helping you stay cool when training. If an overhead fan isn’t possible in your room because of low ceiling height, then make use of the freestanding fans.

However, installing a separate HVAC system is by far the most rewarding option when you want to control the temperature in your basement more effectively. It makes you always look forward to training in your home gym.


Training in an inviting environment with adequate lighting can be a game changer. It adds to your positive energy and helps keep your determination high. The light that we’re exposed to has a direct impact on the cues that our bodies take. For example, darkness and shadows send a message that it’s time for bed, not training.

A bright environment is also critical for your safety. Workouts in a darkly lit exercise room subjects you to risks of trips and falls, which can be quite dangerous.

You have plenty of lighting options for your home gym. However, the best way to go about it is to install overhead lights that mimic the sun. Make sure they’re bright and evenly spaced.

Personalizing your Gym Space

After mastering the basics, now it’s time to dive into another important aspect — tailoring the workout environment to your unique personality. You’ll need to think about what motivates you to work hard and can make you go beyond your limits. Feel free to fill your space with anything that can help you visualize what you’re actually dreaming to achieve. You should basically make your gym space an environment you’ll enjoy being in.

Check out the following gym space personalization ideas:

Painting Words of Inspiration on Your Accent Wall

Don’t underestimate the power of words of inspiration painted as an accent wall. They can go a long way in motivating, supporting, as well as encouraging you to commit yourself for the ultimate success.

Wall Mount a Television

A TV will not only add an aesthetic appeal to your gym space, but can also be a great asset for your workout regime. Watching TV while working out is enjoyable and your routines exercises tend to go by a lot more quickly when watching your favorite shows and sports.

Also at some point, there’s the need to learn new exercises. It is an excellent way to break boredom in your gym space. But you will need sources of the new training methods and techniques, and the best way to replicate them is through streaming videos or DVDs.

Get Quality Speakers

Playing your favorite tunes on a quality sound system can greatly improve your workouts. Music elevates your mood and makes you enter into a state of intrinsic motivation and concentration, making you less aware of your exertion. Simply put, music makes those strenuous physical activities appear to be less exhausting.

Working out with your headphones on sometimes can be troublesome, as you can easily get distracted when you get tangled up in those cords. Investing in a quality sound system allows you to avoid this. You just make the selection and fire up the music, and then concentrate on training.

Install Mirrors

Besides adding light to darker rooms and making them look a little larger, mirrors can also help with your motivation when lifting weights, as you’re able to see the changes in your form. Perhaps, the most important benefit is that, they can help you to avoid injuries. You’re probably wondering how, right? Well, full-length mirrors installed on the wall allow you to make corrections on your postures and techniques while performing different exercises.

Use Bright Wall Colors

Just like lighting, the colors on your wall can have a dramatic effect on your exercise regime. You can customize your room with bright colors of your choice, such as orange, yellow, and green. These color options create an energized environment. Be sure to avoid pastel shades, because they give your room a more calming effect.

Other things you might want to include in your basement area include:

  • A table to place your phone, wallet, or bottle of water
  • A small shelve to store clean towels
  • Wall hooks for hanging your workout clothes or towels

What you choose to add to your gym in the basement depends on your personal preference. You can decide to make it as detailed or simple as you want, as long as your space feels inviting and motivates you to reach your fitness goals.

What Are the Types of Equipment to Use in Your New Gym Space?

Since you don’t have plenty of space like commercial gyms to accommodate every type of equipment, you’ll have to be selective. The good news is that, there is variety of equipment and accessories that can fit into your basement gym, regardless of the available space. I’ve narrowed down the search for you and here are the types of equipment to mix up your muscles effectively.

1. Dumbbells Set

Ask the fitness experts and they’ll tell you a set of dumbbells is must-have equipment in your home gym. Dumbbells are often offered in different sizes, shapes, and materials and also range from very light to very heavy, so they can meet the workout needs of every user group.

Replicating the state-of-the-art rack dumbbells you see in public gyms could take up much of your space. The best option is to go for the adjustable dumbbells. They allow you to reap just the same benefits without sacrificing a lot of space.

2. Kettlebells

Kettlebells are basically an alternative to dumbbells, given that they have the ability to replicate most of the workout performed with dumbbells and also provide more variations to activate a slightly different muscles profile. This piece of equipment is available in different weights, sizes, and shapes.

If your basement gym area can’t accommodate the standard commercial kettlebells, purchasing adjustable versions would be a worthwhile option.

3. Pull-Up Bars

Pull-up bars, also known as chin-up bars, are a great piece of equipment for performing intense upper body workouts to build a sculpted physique. The beauty of pull-up bars is that, they are inexpensive and can easily be secured to a doorframe and wall. Better yet, they take up little space in your basement gym.

4. Barbell Set

You’ll need a quality set of barbell weights for squatting, bench pressing, deadlifting, and overhead pressing. For the best results, be sure to choose the customizable weight options, allowing you to adjust to increase or decrease the resistance level to match your different unique needs. Don’t ignore the barbell weight set that combines versatility with durability.

5. Treadmill

Treadmills are incredibly popular for home gyms because they are dead simple to use and provide a solid cardio workout. You’ll find treadmills that are designed with the basic or high-tech features that guide you to achieve the health benefits you need. With the availability of folding treadmills, space shouldn’t be an issue.

6. Rowing Machine

A rowing machine should be at the top of your list when purchasing equipment for your gym space in the basement. This type of cardio-exercise tool will provide you with a really strong aerobic workout, which engages your legs, core, as well as your upper body.

7. Workout bench

If you plan to do weight training exercises, then a workout bench is essential. When shopping for a training bench, make sure you purchase an easily adjustable bench with an incline and decline functionality. Also, looking for a brand with a sturdy construction is critical for your safety.

8. Yoga Mat

You definitely wouldn’t miss a yoga mat in a home gym. Besides helping with improving your yoga practice, this gym accessory can be very useful when executing those other floor exercises like abs workout, planks, and push-ups. That’s not all; a yoga mat provides a good level of cushioning for your abdominal exercise and stretches.

Once you’re done with your exercises, you can roll up the mat and store it away to save some space.

9. Jumping rope

Another important accessory you should have, especially if you can’t afford purchasing a cardio machine, is a jumping rope. It provides intense cardio benefits in a little as 10 minutes.

10. Medicine ball

A medicine ball can be a great addition to your home gym. The amazing thing about the exercise balls is that, they are subject to a variety of exercises, including core exercises. If you need rewarding dead bugs, bicep curls, chest presses, or plank knee tucks, you can’t go wrong with a fitness ball. You can easily find an option that matches your fitness level.

There you have it! And I hope you enjoyed going through our home gym ideas for an unfinished basement.

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