1. Find the right space. A spare room is ideal, but even a corner nook can work. “Any 8 x 4-foot space where you can lie down comfortably with your arms over your head will do,” says Dan Mezheritsky, president of Fitness on the Go, which provides in-home personal trainers across the U.S. and Canada. A spot where noise won’t carry and disturb your family is probably best.
2. Make it look good. In many homes the gym is relegated to a drab, windowless basement. But it doesn’t have to feel that way. “Hang up inspiring artwork, paint the walls with colors that appeal to you, install good lighting and add mirrors,” suggests fitness and lifestyle expert Lisa Tanker, CPT. If your gym is in the living room, toss loose gear in attractive storage (like covered baskets) so it’s not strewn about.
3. Choose multifunctional equipment. “Every piece should serve more than one purpose,” says Lalo Fuentes, CSCS, a Los Angeles–based personal trainer who helps clients design gyms in their homes. His top pick for versatility: a resistance band. “You can work legs, shoulders, chest, back, abs, biceps and triceps,” he says. That doesn’t mean you should forgo specialized equipment—if you know you’ll use it. Just decide based on your actual track record, not your best-laid plans.
Read on to find the best equipment in your price range.