Posted on December 19, 2016 by Jasmine Shaddock

It takes seven seconds for someone to form their first impression. Designing a gym without cutting corners could make the difference between creating yet another gym and a winning lasting impression.

People cut corners in design for many reasons: time, budget or availability of builders. Whatever the reason for finding a quicker way around a process or problem, the cracks will always begin to show quicker. Cutting corners in gym design will lead to things wearing more easily, a lack of positive and motivating atmosphere and a less satisfying workout for its users.

Here are some of the most important areas of gym design where you should not be cutting corners:


There is never a good reason for saving money when it comes to gym flooring. Not only does a gym floor need to be an acceptable standard for health and safety reasons, it also needs to be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Heavy equipment like treadmills and rowers may be frequently moved about the gym and your floor needs to be able to cope with this.

“You also need the right type of flooring for exercising,” says Nick Sadler, Managing Director of motive8. “If you’re going to do a lot of exercises like skipping and aerobics you need a strong floor and a safe floor to prevent things like slipping.”

There are also very few reasons to use carpet in a gym – whether it’s hotel, office or home. Carpet is easily stained, unhygienic for an environment where people workout and the fluff clogs machinery and air filters. Soft sports vinyl is a great starting point for the best gym floor.

Ceiling height

One of the most important aspects of choosing a gym venue and layout that must not be compromised is the ceiling height. Equipment like treadmills and cross trainers are raised from the ground on their own platform. If your planned space is just about high enough to accommodate a six-foot tall user, you either need to reconsider your chosen space or be very confident that there is no demand for equipment that adds another foot to the height of the user.


One of the most important aspects to gym design that should never be compromised to save cash and time is the equipment. This stage of the build and design process requires careful thought to ensure you buy the right kit.

Factors like how many users your gym has per month should influence your choice in machinery (i.e. a cheap treadmill that will be used heavily daily is most likely to break very quickly).

Daylight and fresh air

Exchange of air is very important in all gyms – even a home gym. If a room smells stuffy, moldy or sweaty there is little chance people will want to come back to use the gym again.

“In most cases the best thing you can do is open windows to let fresh air in,” says Nick.

Air circulation and conditioning are essential for spaces where it is not possible to open windows, to make sure users still have clean air.

The best light is always natural. It always works well for aesthetic benefits, it is less likely to dazzle users or need replacing like artificial lighting and has been proven to give health benefits.

Natural light provides mental and visual stimulation, as well as increasing a person’s productivity (ideal for an office gym) and comfort levels. There are a wealth of benefits that come from using natural light – a great reason to spend time in the design process ensuring it can enter the room.

“If you can get natural light into your gym, make the most of it,” says Nick. “Talk to your designers and come up with a plan for using as much of it as possible.”

Iconography and graphics

It is always worth seeing every opportunity as a marketing opportunity if your gym is a business. Making sure your brand resonates throughout the whole gym is a very important part of creating a good first and lasting impression.

Signs, posters, information leaflets that have consistent design and branding all the way through the gym make it look very professional.

“It’s good to take time to think about what could go on the walls of the gym,” says Nick. “To make your gym truly individual it’s nice to have something inspirational on the walls like a full-sized graphics of famous sporting heroes.”

If you are a brand that has a particular colour scheme – or perhaps a favourite colour for your home gym – continuing this theme throughout will complete the look.

Motive 8 09.12.16

“The worst thing that could possibly happen is that you have a great gym people can’t use due to cutting corners in the design process,” says Nick.

By avoiding cutting corners on what is listed, your gym will shine and not only look the part, but last a long time.

Get in touch with our expert team to find out more making your gym design a success.