Top Tips on Designing a Home Gym

2020 was, for most of us, an extremely challenging year. Finding new ways of working and new ways of co-existing with family members. And for the health-conscious among us, finding new ways of keeping fit in both body and mind.

With most commercial gyms closed for the best part of the year, it’s been necessary to explore new ways of taking exercise, working out and chilling out.

Not to be defeated, we’ve laced up our running shoes once again and hit the streets. We’ve discovered online fitness classes, dusted off old bikes, virtual workouts, mental health-boosting apps and, in particular, our attention has turned towards creating home gyms.

Interest in home gyms has skyrocketed in 2020. We are converting spare bedrooms, garages, basements, attics and even sheds into home gyms at a remarkable rate. It’s partly out of necessity and partly the “Joe Wicks” effect (Wicks became a national treasure in 2020 on the back of his new stay-at-home gym routine for kids and families).

If you are eyeing that bit of spare space in your home and considering turning it into a fabulous workout space and relaxation zone for you and your family, read on for our greatest tips on how to maximise your space and ensure your gym lasts for many years to come.

Work out how much you could save

Did you know that there are 6,700 gyms and fitness clubs in the UK? And nearly 9 million people are members of commercial gyms and fitness clubs.

On average it will take only five years to pay back the money invested in a home gym


With average gym memberships coming in at around £70 per month (and some exclusive clubs charging many times more) it’s not surprising that there is a strong incentive for us to want to save money.

The average family has three members of a gym so membership could cost up to £2,500 per year. A typical home gym installation might cost in the region of £15,000. So, it will only take five years or so to pay back the money invested in the home gym.

Furthermore, gyms are opening and closing at an unpredictable rate, with local and national lockdowns causing havoc on the high street. And, as concerns around social distancing are high, it’s unsurprising that we are turning to the home as our main exercise space.

Fitness, your way

Our first tip is to carefully think about who will use your gym now and (more importantly) in the future. Maybe it’s just you and your partner today but, in the future, will there be children using the gym? Or perhaps an older relative? A home gym is an excellent opportunity to improve fitness for the whole family. Make sure you factor every potential gym user into your design.

Next, take a while to consider how you and your family want to keep fit. Not everybody wants to do cardio all the time and end up pouring with sweat. Most of those who dive into a new fitness regime and attempt too much, too soon, end up giving up. It’s far better to find a style of fitness that really suits you. Exercise should be a reward, not a punishment, and the feeling of wellbeing it generates should be the incentive.  

Whilst treadmills, cross trainers, and cardio machines such as rowing machines are still extremely popular, there is a huge trend towards holistic exercises such as Pilates, meditation, and yoga.

Because every individual has different preferences, at motive8 we tend to think of home gyms as one of three or four different types.

The functional home gym is the most recognisable, with its steppers, kettlebells, resistance bands, hand weights, treadmills, and bikes.

Whereas the Wellness oasis may not look like a commercial gym at all as it will tend to feature exercise mats, plants, mirrors, artwork, pleasant soft lighting, and a gentler ambience altogether.

Then again, the family gym is focused on the whole family from kids to grandparents, and zoned areas for each age group.

Find the right space

One of the biggest questions you may be asking is whether you have enough space to fit a home gym. Our customers have in the past converted garages, basements, lofts, spare rooms, annexes, garden buildings and side rooms.

If you are lucky enough to have a double garage (take a look at this amazing garage gym we created for one such customer) this is an ideal candidate for conversion to a home gym.

If you don’t have any existing space, you can always build a new structure. This of course will certainly require a team of home gym designers to achieve.

So, first of all, consider what space you have available. It’s amazing how much you can fit into a small space especially with an experienced designer overseeing the project, but there are limits. You will most likely need a space in the region of 5 by 5 metres for maximum effect. You need enough space between equipment to ensure adequate safety and make sure you don’t feel cramped.

Increasingly we are installing projectors and screens into new home gyms to take advantage of live streamed exercise classes, pre-recorded exercise classes and games console-based exercises. For best effect, these will require a whole blank wall.

Getting the vibe right

Gyms are spaces in which quite a lot of heat, moisture and vibration occur. And it’s a space where we breathe in very deeply and exhale a lot!

Failing to take account of these aspects will create a gym which is stuffy, dark, damp and maybe even smelly. For your home gym to really work it must be light, bright and properly ventilated. A room with large existing windows is ideal but, if necessary, it is well worth enlarging or creating new window spaces. Mirrors are vital in most gyms – and the bigger the better.

One of the most important factors in your home gym design will be ventilation and airflow. A gym without ventilation is likely to be abandoned quickly because it will soon become unpleasant, difficult to clean and generally unwelcoming. Ventilation may need to be installed separately. And without an adequate flow of air around the space, the quality of the air rapidly drops.

Other factors include temperature and humidity. These will be different from other rooms in your home and, for best effect, dehumidification, exhaust fans and heating may need to be installed professionally. It’s part of the overall cost but essential for getting a gym that will be used for a long time.

Consider new tech

The health and fitness space is extremely innovative and new inventions, gadgets, gizmos are coming out all the time. Whilst some might be passing fads, we think that some fitness trends are here to stay. So, pay attention to these trends and make sure your gym is designed with these innovations built-in:

Live streamed fitness classes

Why work out on your own when you can experience a class with a top-flight professional instructor? Choose your theme – from eighties-style aerobics to boxercise to yoga, barre, HIIT and … Mr Motivator. The worlds of fitness, entertainment and socialisation are colliding in the home gym.

Smart gym kit

The latest and greatest gym equipment comes with internet connectivity, allowing you to compete on leader-boards, set challenges, get livestreamed classes. The best of the bunch can be paired with your wearable tech such as heart rate monitors. So, your workouts can be assimilated into your overall movement throughout the day.

Build to last

Our last tip is perhaps the most important. It’s about building a gym that lasts for many years to come. Building a proper home gym should be an investment, not an expense. It’s an investment in your future and that of your family. So, attempting to save money at every opportunity could be a mistake.

This is especially important when it comes to equipment. Whatever equipment you choose it should be built to last. That does not necessarily mean brand new equipment – there is plenty of gym equipment on the second-hand market. But the last thing you want is to be

Your thought process should be: “What can I buy so that I never have to buy again?”


continually having to replace flimsy, fragile gym equipment. Your thought process should always be: “What can I buy so that I never have to buy again?”

motive8 can recommend the best equipment on the market that has stood the test of time. What equipment do we recommend? That all depends on your style of workout. A typical home gym will have some form of cardio, free weights and a stretching area. If you are interested in Pilates, then a reformer will probably be necessary.

Two or three yoga mats will be essential. Also remember essential items such as a skipping rope, dumbbells and resistance bands. But don’t skimp on these either.

Enjoy your fabulous home gym

Home gyms have come a long way since the days of a weights bench in a crowded garage. Modern families want a space that’s adaptable, good for all the family, flexible and will last for years. Using our tips before you get started will help you get a fitness facility in your home that will last a lifetime and bring joy and pleasure to you and your family.

At motive8 we are committed to helping customers build fantastic home gyms, no matter who will be using them or what their exercise preferences are. Please do get in touch with us to discuss your home gym project.

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Alice Ward


Alice has been in the fitness industry for over 15 years, one of her first places of work being motive8! Since then, Alice has gone on to work for some of the leading U.K gym providers and most recently managed a large corporate gym in Surrey, implementing innovative fitness trends and overseeing the health and wellbeing of the clients, alongside opening a second corporate club and managing a team of personal trainers and instructors. A keen interest in health and fitness drives Alice outside of work, spending regular time working out in the gym, outdoors or at home.

Monika Blaziak

Gym Maintenance Co-ordinator Manager

Monika is the Gym Maintenance Co-ordinator Manager for all gym and pool/leisure equipment and has a background in maintenance and accounts administration for property development companies.

Monika’s skills include accounting, IT and of course the backbone of all busy administration roles, multi-tasking!

In her spare time she likes to spend her free time with her dog Cezar, walking through parks and forests and also likes to relax with a good book at the end of the day. Monika is also interested in psychology, which she is currently studying.

Nick Sadler

Managing Director

Nick Sadler is the Founding Director of motive8 and has worked in the industry for 18 years. He has worked as the lead Gym and Spa consultant on projects across all sectors on a number of prestigious schemes with developers, architects, interior design agencies and managing agents. His expertise and consultancy on projects have ensured that the original design concepts are always met or exceeded whilst maintaining the future operational efficiency of the facility.

Jenny Cromack


Jenny’s specialism’s are fat loss and endurance training, she has a proven record in helping clients to lose weight, change their body image and simply feel amazing about themselves! Having seen what we can achieve with clients on a 1:1 basis, Jenny transfers these skills to be able to impact the health and wellbeing of corporate clients and groups.

A keen duathlete and triathlete, Jenny has recently started representing Great Britain for her age group. So, if she isn’t at work she will be cycling, swimming or running somewhere!

Sarah Cleland-Smith


Sarah has worked in the fitness industry for 17 years and is a co-owner of motive8. She has worked across all areas of the business, predominantly the day to day operations of the Gym and Spa facilities we currently manage on behalf of our clients. She has a key understanding of how design must meet operational requirements, ensuring the client and end user receive the best possible service and ongoing running costs are considered in the design. Her current focus is project management and financials.

Richard Moon


Richard has headed up the motive8 maintenance team for the past 12 years and became a Director and co-owner of the business in 2016. He provides service contracts and maintenance for all motive8 equipped facilities to ensure longevity and value for the client. The maintenance department currently services in excess of 200 sites in the UK. He works with the client and their onsite team to provide H&S best practice which includes daily checks of the facility. Richard also manages motive8 gym installations, ensuring equipment and design are delivered on time, safely and to a high standard.

Rob Clarke


Rob has worked in the leisure industry all of his working life and brings with him a huge amount of experience from the commercial leisure sector. He has provided consultancy to the majority of the country’s leading developers, architects and property management companies and is widely considered as one of the leading experts in residential leisure facilities.

Rob’s role at motive8 is a varied one and involves business development, overseeing the maintenance and management departments whilst also consulting on a variety of client projects.

Outside of the office, you will often find Rob walking his beloved Labrador in Windsor Great Park. Rob also enjoys travelling and spending time with his family.

Nikki Spratley

IQ coordinator

Nikki has always had a passion for helping people and after spending a number of years working in and running the Gym & Spa department, an opportunity to develop and grow motive8’s training division presented itself and so Nikki moved from overseeing the Gym & Spa team and managed sites to developing the training of our own team along with those from outside of motive8.

Outside of motive8, Nikki continues to work at a sports massage clinic helping her clients with various injuries along with making time for her own fitness and wellbeing.

Margaret Hamya


Margaret is our bookkeeper and joined the company in March of 2017.
She enjoys working on multiple projects within the finance department and uses her professional qualification in Finance and Accounting to generate the financial reports used by different stakeholders within the company.

In her spare time she gets involved in different life activities like spending time with family and friends and enjoys cooking.

Rolstone Langmead

Logistics & Gym Install Manager

Joining motive8 back in 2013 with the Gym & Spa department, Rolstone brought his experience from the customer service industry as well as 8 years’ experience as a personal trainer, the knowledge of which was spread into the department.

Rolstone now manages motive8 gym installations, ensuring equipment and design are delivered on time, safely and to a high standard. Providing H&S best practice and service support to our customers for all our products with the aid of our team of engineers. Rolstone is also working with our Maintenance team that currently services in excess of 200 sites in the UK to ensure longevity and value for the client.

Albert Spangenberg

Refurb and Technicians Manager

Albert started his career in facility maintenance and operations; he is now motive8’s Refurb and Technicians Manager. Albert launched a new department providing refurbished gym equipment to rent or buy which his background in mechanical engineering and manufacturing perfectly suits. He has worked in the fitness industry for the past 17 years. Albert is meticulous about how the equipment is maintained and is always looking at ways to improve the service motive8 can offer to their clients.

In his spare time he likes spend quality time with the family and work on mechanical projects.

Kamil Reyad

Maintenance Admin Assistant

Kamil is a recent law graduate with a background in customer service and sales, working within the maintenance administration team. His skills include IT, Multi-tasking and customer service.

In his spare time he enjoys going to the gym, boxing, practicing MMA, playing guitar, reading and gaming.

Warren Killeen

Head of Maintenance

Warren started his career as an Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration engineer servicing a wide range of commercial and industrial systems. He has over 20 years’ experience in the FM industry working for major players across the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. With his technical and hands-on experience, Warren has always been happy to roll his sleeves up and get involved with works on sites when needed. In Warren’s spare time he enjoys DIY, quizzing and country walks. He is also involved with helping at his local Irish club organising charity fundraising nights and other events.

Kim Mead

Gym & Spa Design

Kim’s career began in the property industry, where she spent a number of years working for both estate agents and developers, giving her a broad spectrum of experience and knowledge of how the industry functions.

Kim has worked alongside Nick for the past 11 years and transforms his ideas & designs into 3D visuals and 2D floor layouts via CAD & Visio in line with the architect’s requirements. She brings together all project documentation including equipment specifications, quotes & project drawings. Once finalised and agreed, Kim procures all the required equipment.

In her spare time, Kim loves playing tennis, cooking and travelling.

Sally Ottewell

Gym & Spa Consultant

Sally has over 10 years’ experience in sales. She has worked within the communications industry for 12 years and made the move to motive8 because of her love for all things fitness.

Sally is passionate about gym and spa design and takes pride in each individual project, whether that be residential, corporate, commercial or within the hotel market. She consults, designs layouts and provides product advice on schemes nationwide with a range of developers, designers, project managers and private clients.

She enjoys being active, is a regular gym goer and has practiced yoga since being a teenager, qualifying to teach it in 2014.

Emma Jackson


Emma has recently joined the Gym and Spa Team, after graduating from the University of Nottingham with a masters in Product Design and Manufacture Engineering.
She is experienced in CAD, creating 3D visuals and has extensive design knowledge, which she’s now using to design gym and spa facilities.

In her spare time Emma enjoys travelling, cooking and spending time with her family and dogs.

Ashley Wright

Head of Gym & Spa Management

Ashley moved back to the UK after working as a singer in production shows around Europe. Starting in the fitness industry as a Personal Trainer, Ashley joined Motive8 as an Area Manager in 2019 before moving into the role of Head of Gym and Spa Management. Ashley oversees the Gym and Spa Department ensuring a high standard of service is met for the residents and motive8’s clients.

Away from work, Ashley still teaches spin classes at a number of gyms across London and enjoys cooking and travelling.

Josh Remedios

Gym & Spa Area Manager

Josh has worked for motive8 since 2013 after graduating from University of Portsmouth. He has worked his way up through the gym and spa department from Spa Operative, to Supervisor, Manager and now Area Manager. Josh works with the managers he oversees to provide facilities residents can enjoy as an extension to their homes as well as working closely with the estate management companies to ensure the standards at all sites remain high.

Outside of motive8 Josh is a keen on his travelling and adding to a growing list of countries he has visited as well as being passionate about his own fitness and football.

Lauren Alford

Gym & Spa Area Manager

Starting in the fitness industry as a Personal Trainer with a specialism for pre and post-natal exercise, Lauren moved into management and now oversees the running of several of motive8’s fully managed gym & spa contracts. Lauren deals with the day-to-day operations of these sites whilst ensuring a high standard of service is met for the residents and motive8’s clients.

Away from work, Lauren is a holistic therapist and yoga teacher. Having previously competed in multiple martial art disciplines, she still enjoys practicing them as part of her weekly workout routine.

Will Thompson


Will has worked in the leisure industry for 12 years. During this time, he has held many different roles all over the country in many different sectors of the leisure industry.
Will joined the motive8 team in August 2019 as Gym and Spa manager where he excelled and has since been promoted into the area manager role.

In his spare time Will enjoys spending time with friends and family and open water swimming in Shepperton lakes.

Kate Halsall

Personal Trainer & Biomechanics Coach

Kate is an enthusiastic personal trainer, and qualified biomechanics coach, who specialises in posture and back care. She has worked in the industry since 2009, and her other specialisms include weight/fat loss, group exercise and working with specialist populations.

On top of that, Kate loves working with groups of pregnant ladies as she is also pre and post-natal qualified! Exercise is a real passion of hers, and she can often be found riding her bike, going to fitness weekends, walking in the lake district – and she’s recently started participating in cycling sportives.

When it comes to advice, she claims “give it a try – what’s the worst that could happen?” is her greatest piece.

Emily Forbes

Personal Trainer

Emily is motive8’s in-house nutritionist, and doesn’t stop at just being a great personal trainer. Her effective programming and nutritional advice is highly popular and aimed at helping clients achieve a variety of fitness goals.

Not only is Emily passionate about nutrition though, as she also loves strength training and Yoga. She takes a holistic approach to exercise, nutrition and health as a whole, which no doubt makes for a recipe for success across the board.

Her greatest piece of advice is simply “consistency…this will help you achieve your goals for the long term.”