Bruce Lane and dog Milo in the family’s exercise room. Photo by Michael Ventura.


Some home gyms are simple, just a few weights and a stationary bike. Others are elaborate, with all the amenities of a health club. Regardless of the size of the space, builders and architects say some features are worth including.

“You want to make it nice enough to have some incentive to use it,” says Bill Millholland, executive vice president at Case Architects & Remodelers in Bethesda. That can mean mounting a television, wiring the room with Wi-Fi and installing speakers in the ceiling.

Carib Daniel Martin, principal architect at Carib Daniel Martin Architecture + Design in Kensington, suggests insulating the walls of home gyms as a sound buffer and installing rubberized flooring to guard against weights being dropped. “Make sure the ceiling is high enough to give you a full range of motion and you aren’t hitting light fixtures,” says Martin, who also recommends wall-mounted fans to keep the air flowing as you exercise.

With proper planning, a basic home gym need not be costlier than other rooms. A rubberized floor may cost just $4 to $5 a square foot, and a mirrored wall is a simple way to make a space seem larger, leaving the exercise equipment as the main expense. More elaborate options, such as below-grade, full-height sports courts can range from $150,000 to $250,000, says Phil Leibovitz, CEO at Sandy Spring Builders in Bethesda.

These three local families have created fitness spaces that motivate them to keep moving.