Melissa Metrano, a fitness and lifestyle creator who recently transformed a lackluster workout space into her “dream luxury home gym,” has some tips for getting started on your own home gym improvement project.
“The most common mistake would be not having an organization system or the items you want nearby for when you need them,” Metrano says. “For example, since you’re working out in your house, you may think to grab a towel out of your linen closet when you head to your home gym or workout area, but instead why not have towels rolled up right by your cardio equipment as you need them?”
If you’re looking for inspiration, Metrano suggests taking cues from the pros. “A great place to start is to think of your favorite boutique fitness studios or gyms,” she says, “and make a list of all of the things they offer that you would want to have in your home to add those personal touches.”
We asked Metrano and other fitness and organizing experts to pick the best products for setting up a home gym, almost all priced under $25.
Metrano hit upon a simple organizing system when setting up her home gym. “I actually used a bookshelf to organize my workout items without having to take up too much space,” she says. “On one shelf I have our Peloton and workout shoes, the next shelf I have small workout gear like yoga blocks and bands, above that are white microfiber towels rolled up and a wipe dispenser, and on the top shelf I have jars for mints and hair ties.” This super-basic plastic shelving unit gets high marks for easy assembly and sturdiness, making it a great choice for a home gym.
Cubby-style shelving is another great way to get home workout equipment organized. This clear plastic unit has four cubbies that can be used to store towels, sneakers, water bottles, yoga blocks, resistance bands and even small hand weights.
Corner shelving units are an excellent way to make use of space that often goes to waste, which is crucial in a home gym where space is often at a premium. This freestanding corner shelf has five tiers that can be used to store all your home workout gear, from extra hair ties to equipment wipes.
“I use these to hold extra hair ties and mints,” Metrano says. “They’re great to hold small items you need in your home gym.” Not only are the jars convenient, but they also add a bit of a spa-like feel to a home gym setup.
Having cleaning supplies on hand in a home gym is a smart idea, and disposable wipes make keeping equipment clean a cinch, “I have this wipe holder in my gym,” Metrano says, “and it keeps my cleaning supplies looking organized and chic!”
Wallniture Guru Wall Mount Yoga Mat Foam Roller and Towel Rack ($24.99; amazon.com)
Metrano calls this wall-mounted rack “one of my best purchases.” This multi-use unit takes advantage of unused wall space to create storage space for mats, rollers and towels, and has hooks that can be used to hold resistance bands, jump ropes or even extra hair ties. “I love that this one has extra hooks for other items,” Metrano says.
BalanceFrom Foldable Solid Steel A-Frame Dumbbell Rack Holder with Handle ($19.99; amazon.com)
Metrano calls this weight rack a home gym organizing game changer. “I used to keep my free weights on the floor,” she says, which can be a tripping hazard and also just doesn’t look that tidy. If you’re starting from scratch, she suggests buying free weights with a rack, but racks can be bought separately if you already have a set of weights.
Lisen Cell Phone Stand ($12.99, originally $15.99; amazon.com)
Consider how you conduct your workouts when making purchases for a home gym and look for smart solutions for your particular needs. For example, Metrano says, “I use my phone for workout classes, so instead of trying to prop it up on something, I like to use a phone stand so I can watch classes and listen to music.” This stand can accommodate both cell phones and tablets.
Another item to consider when setting up a home gym is shoe storage. “If you have a spin bike or workout sneakers, keep them right in your home gym,” Metrano says. “This shoe rack is small and comes in so many cute colors!”
Command Clear Medium Hooks, Set of 7 ($10.99; amazon.com)
“I use these command hooks for so many things,” Metrano says. “They are great to hang bands from, towels, keys, anything you may need!” These are clear and won’t ruin your wall. Make sure you check the amount of weight they can hold before purchasing.
Tubular-style towel holders can serve a few different functions in a home gym. They hold towels, of course, which are really nice to have on hand during and after a super-sweaty workout. But these racks can also serve as storage for rolled exercise mats, foam rollers and water bottles.
When setting up a home gym, “mount or hang equipment on the wall to maximize floor space,” Remi Ishizuka, a co-founder of HomeBodies, says. Since home gyms are often set up in small spare rooms, maximizing storage is crucial, and there’s no better way than to use vertical wall space to store equipment. Garage hooks can be used for so many things — this set of multipurpose storage hooks can be used to hold everything from jump ropes and resistance bands to kettlebells up to 55 pounds.
If medicine balls are a part of your home workout, a wall-mounted ball holder is a smart investment. Leaving medicine balls on the floor isn’t an ideal way to store them, as they can roll underfoot and become a tripping hazard — a wall-mounted ball holder solves that problem.
Rope baskets are a smart way to store exercise equipment because they make cleaning up so easy, which Ishizuka considers an essential part of her workout. “Never finish a workout with equipment left out. You want to enter your gym for your next workout in perfect shape,” she says. She recommends this cotton rope basket for stashing boxing mitts, yoga blocks, massage balls and more when not in use.
Ishizuka also likes storage that takes advantage of vertical space, which she achieves by using floating shelves. Floating shelves can also provide storage space for yoga blocks, or hold a phone/tablet stand for watching your favorite workout.
These woven plastic bins come in cute colors and are among our top picks for use on floating shelves. In a home gym, use them to hold small exercise accessories like resistance bands, extra hair ties, cleaning supplies and spare chargers to keep your electronics in juice while you workout.
Tania Owens, a senior manager at mDesign, also recommends using wall-mounted storage in a home gym. “A great method of storing gear is a hanging wall rack mounted on the back of a door or inside a closet to keep it out of sight yet still handy,” she says.
Owens recommends this vertical equipment holder that mounts to the wall for storing longer items like foam rollers, yoga mats, rolled-up towels and more. It also makes a great caddy for equipment-cleaning supplies, which should be stored right in the home gym for easy access.
Umbra Skinny Garbage Can, Set of 2 ($14; amazon.com)
Don’t forget a garbage can! You produce trash in a home gym, and you’ll be glad when you have a place to dispose of it. This small trash can won’t take up a lot of space, and the second bin in the set can be designated for recycling or tapped to hold items like foam rollers and exercise mats.
mDesign Round Felt Basket and Attached Braided Handles, Set of 2 ($24.41; amazon.com)
Storage baskets that are vertically oriented, like this set of two felt baskets with handles that Owens recommends, are another smart option for use in a home gym. Use one for equipment like foam rollers and another to store clean towels for use during and after a workout.
When setting up a home gym, “Create zones for different exercises/types of equipment, such as a stretching zone, weight training zone, etc.,” Owens says, “so that everything is right where you need to use it, and you only need to take out/put away the equipment needed.” This open-topped storage unit makes cleanup easy — just toss your gear in after a workout and you’re all done.
mDesign Plastic Free-Standing Water Bottle Organization ($20.99; amazon.com)
Store water bottles right where you need them with this free-standing water bottle holder. It has storage for eight water bottles, and if you use one of the slots to hold a bottle of post-workout wine, we won’t tell!