Informational Guide

Garage Gym Ideas On A Budget

Looking for garage gym ideas on a budget? Look no further! We’ve put together this ultimate guide for inspiration.

by Josh Mitchell

In the old days, to be a fitness guru, you needed to have unlimited free time and a gym membership automatically drawing $50 a month from your checking account that would keep you committed. The concept for a home gym was one for athletes and movie stars in those days.

Today, having a home gym or fitness area in your garage is much more attainable. With the power of the internet, you are not only able to purchase essential gym equipment you need quickly and easily, but you can even hire a personal trainer to be with you virtually. This article will teach you to leverage skills you already have to build your very own home or garage gym.

With everything going on in the world today, convenience is the key to getting anything accomplished. That alone should be the reason for setting up a gym in your home or garage. The idea of traveling to a gym, changing in a public locker room, using equipment that other people have sweat all over for years, and then having to travel home is a dated concept at best. Think of the perks that come along with setting up a gym in your garage at your home.

  • Freedom 
    Your job usually comes before your workout, along with family and other important obligations. With a gym in your garage, you do not have to sacrifice those times for working out. Feeling motivated before work, get a quick workout in before heading to the office. Need to get a gym session in after you put the kids to bed; the garage is only a few steps away. The freedom a home gym provides is unmatched.
  • Money Savings  
    While the thought of purchasing your own home garage gym equipment seems daunting, think about the long-term savings that will add up in the first year. That $50 per month membership, paired with the commute and fuel costs, stacks up over time. With equipment at home, you can start small and build your gym exactly how you want it for about the same amount. The difference is that after your gym is complete, you will not have to keep paying that recurring bill year after year.
  • Time Savings 
    Time is money, and less time traveling to the gym means more money in your pocket. If you could replace that 30 minutes of driving back and forth to the gym with the actual time in the gym at your home, you could effectively double your workout time each day. Think of how much better shape you could be in just by adding an extra 30 minutes to your sessions each day!
  • Stress-Free Flexibility 
    We have all felt the stress of that looming gym session hanging over our heads. Until you get to the gym, the guilt of not going is haunting. That all disappears when the gym is at home. You can get that session in at any time, day or night, all at once, or in mini-sessions throughout the day. The availability of the gym eliminates the stress, and the accomplishment of using it more routinely builds confidence (and muscle)!

5 Things to Plan Before Building a Garage Gym

Floor Space and Flooring

The foundation of any gym is the floor that it is built on. For this, purchasing rubber flooring or foam mats makes the most sense. This will give your gym an insulated and durable surface for both placing equipment on and for you to stretch on. Make sure to plan for ample space; a congested gym is an uncomfortable gym. Stretches and certain exercise movements will require open floor space.

Equipment Selection

Back to personal fitness goals. Will the gym be filled with weights for building muscle or with cardio equipment for getting into shape? This will determine the equipment that fills a home garage gym. A mix of both is a great place to start. Maybe an air bike or elliptical machine paired with some adjustable dumbbells and a yoga mat. Starting by burning fat and strengthening muscles will build a good foundation to grow from.

Making Equipment Multi-Purpose

Multi-purpose equipment is the key to maintaining the floor space we discussed previously. Having multi-use equipment in your home garage gym allows for maximum floor space and maximum efficiency. Multi-purpose equipment is also the most cost-effective way to outfit a home garage gym.

Storage Space Optimization

This is where ingenuity comes into the creation of a home garage gym. You want to use the space as efficiently as possible, but you will have an abundance of equipment to store. Think about building a storage rack that sits up against a wall for all of your small equipment. Building it will be inexpensive, and using it will be efficient. Neatly stacking plates, hanging dumbbells, and storing resistance bands or jump ropes off of the ground will keep your space clutter-free and increase the longevity of your equipment.

Lights & Music

How do you get into the perfect workout mind space? Well, by having optimal lighting and loud music, that's how! Purchasing some adjustable LED lights for space will allow you to crank them up bright for high-intensity workouts and dim them down low for a zen-style yoga session. The same goes for music. Have large enough speakers to jam while taking a virtual spin class, or provide the calming sounds of that babbling brook for long stretching sessions.


The elephant in the room, how much can you afford to dump into this home garage gym? To make it easy on your psyche and your wallet, think about ramping up the gym over an extended period. But as you build and grow with the gains. As you become stronger, buy the bigger weights. When you become committed and routine, you can justify the spending.


A couple of additions to a home gym that you may not think about at first are as follows. The first, a fitness-tracking bracelet. You will want to monitor heart rate and caloric burn throughout your workout. Most smartwatches have these capabilities, but there are fitness-specific versions on the market as well. These are great for self-motivation and goal setting. The second is a shaker bottle. As fitness progresses, supplements are an inevitable next step. Shaker bottles are great for blending the supplements, and like any new toy, you will be motivated to use them. If using your new bottle is another form of motivation to use your home garage gym, well, that makes it worth buying.

Garage Gym Ideas On A Budget

Vital Equipment to Fit in Your Garage Gym

  1. 1
    A Multi-Function Rack 
    More expensive but necessary in any gym is a squat rack. This piece of equipment is exactly what the name implies, a rack, useful for a variety of exercises, as well as storage of larger weights and bars.
  2. 2
    A Versatile Barbell 
    Barbells come in a variety of lengths and weights. If you purchase the heavier version, it is more useful in the long term than a light version that will require the purchase of additional plates.
  3. 3
    Plates/Bumper Plates 
    Plates and bumper plates are available from 10-45 pounds; we suggest buying the versions with a rubberized coating that prevents rust and adds protection from dropping on the ground during clean and jerk-style exercises.
  4. 4
    Dumbbells & Kettlebells  
    With the wide variety and range of exercises you can perform with just some simple dumbbells and kettlebells, they are the best value for a dollar in a home garage gym scenario.
  5. 5
    An Adjustable Bench 
    The best benches are adjustable and wheeled; they are great for all types of exercises, including dumbbell or barbell exercises and even some improvised workouts like dips or decline pushups.
  6. 6
    Cardio Equipment  
    The style and price range of cardio equipment on the market is so vast, it is hard to suggest just one or two options, but just keep in mind that floor space is a priority when picking out the best cardio equipment for you.

Building a Cheap Garage Gym on a Budget

Building a budget home gym is easier than one would think. Just start searching for garage gym ideas on a budget or cheap garage gym ideas. Especially if you are just starting to get into fitness, you will not necessarily need to purchase too much fancy equipment. At first, you just want to start working on your cardio and burn calories. This will get your body warmed up for more specific exercise down the road. If you are more experienced, get creative in planning your home gym. What do you need, what would be nice to have, and what would you potentially make yourself?

  1. 1
    Buy Used Equipment 
    Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are your friends when building a home garage gym. Bargain deals from someone else who outgrew or overspent on equipment that they did not end up using. Look for moving sales or situations where kids have gone off to college and left perfectly good equipment in their parents’ basement from when they were aspiring athletes. Just be careful not to buy any sand-filled weights, as those were once popular but cracked and became a mess after a while.
  2. 2
    Building Your Equipment 
    While it is worth buying some home gym equipment, like an air bike or rowing machine, homemade equipment could work well in other scenarios. This does not need to mean cutting a tree down and using it to deadlift in your garage. While that could work, think of making your storage racks or even squat racks. This could save your money for more specialized equipment. Building a plyometric box from lumber and plywood you have laying around could cost way less than buying one on the internet and having it shipped to you.
  3. 3
    What Equipment Can Be Multi-Purpose? 
    Doing some research could save you a ton of money when planning for a home gym build. Look into what multi-purpose equipment you could purchase so that you are not wasting floor space or money on multiple pieces of equipment. For example, that plyometrics box we discussed making yourself could be used for lunges, box jumps, a flat bench, and even a storage chest if made with all of those purposes in mind before making any cuts in the lumber.
  4. 4
    Shop Around For Deals 
    Deals are easy to find on the internet. Do some simple web searches for discount links or coupons, and you will be amazed at what you will find. Also, contact manufacturers and inquire about used or returned products that may sell for a discounted rate. Look for past year models of equipment and leftovers that you could score for cheap to outfit your home garage gym.
  5. 5
    Discontinued Models 
    It does not need to cost more than about $1,500 to build a home gym. Look for discounted versions of the same brand name materials and equipment to save money. For example, to buy rubber floor mats that are branded and marketed towards fitness, you can expect to pay top dollar. If you purchase the same rubber floor mats from a farm supply store, you could save hundreds of dollars. Why? Because the farm supply store brands them with a horse to stand on, rather than a human to exercise on. Simple hacks like this will get you much more bang for your buck when outfitting your home garage gym.
Building A Garage Gym On A Budget

How to Turn Your Garage into a Gym

  1. 1
    Clearing Out All Your Old Junk 
    I am sure you have more than enough space to fashion a home gym in your garage or basement. Just clean out some of the junk you saved from college and repurpose that area for something more productive.
  2. 2
    Maximize Space With Clever Storage Solutions 
    This seems to be an ongoing theme if you have not noticed. Space is super valuable in a home gym setup. Use walls and racks for storage. You can only use one or two pieces of equipment at a time; leave everything else up and out of the way!
  3. 3
    Focus On The Multi-Function Machines And Equipment 
    Multi-use and efficiency should be key factors when purchasing home garage gym equipment. Buy the tools you can and will get the most usage out of.
  4. 4
    Make It Comfortable 
    Paint and outfit the space so that you will want to spend time in it. No one wants to be in a gloomy gym. Make the room call you in every day by keeping it fresh and clean.
  5. 5
    Mind The Weather 
    If you live in a location where you have to worry about the temperature in your gym getting too hot, cool it down. A window A/C unit can make a world of difference with heat remediation and air quality.

What Are the Drawbacks of a Garage Gym?

  1. 1
    This space could be used for other hobbies, right? Wrong. This space was made for a home gym. Yes, you could read a book in this space, but read a fitness book and read that on your inclined adjustable bench.
  2. 2
    If your gym temperature varies during the changing seasons, look into insulating the space. Also, develop routines to use the gym at the coolest point of a hot day and for cold days, start your workouts with some high-intensity cardio to warm up your body, as well as the space it occupies.
  3. 3
    Like any personal property, maintaining the equipment in your home gym will be your responsibility. Luckily, exercise equipment does not usually have too many mechanical parts that you will have to wrench on, but you will have to lube parts once in a while. The primary treatment will be cleaning and sanitizing. Click the link to find out more on what it takes to keep home garage gym equipment clean.
  4. 4
    It’s easier to be distracted when working out at home. The dog is barking at the mail person, the kids are chasing one another around with scissors, the list of distractions is a lot longer than this article. Self-discipline is the key to success when you have a home gym. Make a conscious effort to focus and work out each day to maximize your investment and its potential.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Where can I buy cheap gym mirrors?

Mirrors can be a great addition to any gym. They can be used as a tool to correct form, as well as make space seem much larger than it is. Shopping for large mirrors can be tough, but with the power of Amazon and the internet, it should not take too long to find some inexpensive ones.

How big should a garage gym be?

Your garage gym does not need to be giant. Think of a hotel gym, usually about 12’X12’ with enough open floor space to stretch. Utilize wall racks for storage to keep the floor space clutter-free.

Can a treadmill be used in a garage?

Treadmills can be used anywhere that they can be plugged in. A tip for a garage treadmill is to purchase a folding unit with wheels so that it can be stored away easily.

What is the best color for a gym?

The color of your gym can be whatever you choose. Some people paint with colors of their favorite sports team, some paint the space white for cleanliness. Whatever color that motivates you most is what you should choose for the pain in your home garage gym.


Staying healthy and in shape is challenging. Building a home gym in your garage could be a tall task. Whether you are building a CrossFit-style gym, a weight lifting gym, or even a fitness and aerobics space, it can be expensive upfront. In the long term, though, a home gym will save you tons of time and money and provide you with years of service. The combination of accessibility and efficiency makes building a home gym essential for any fit individual.