How to Create a Home Gym That’s also Your Home Bar
Let’s face it, our home bar might be part of the reason we need a home gym...but since both are here to stay, why not create an inviting space that’s perfect for working out AND for relaxing with a cocktail at the end of a busy day? If you’ve been needing a home exercise area and wanting a room devoted to making and enjoying delicious beverages, a lack of extra space doesn’t need to stand in the way. One room or corner of a room can do double duty as both. In fact, modern installations such as glass partition walls can make the project easier. For example, you can separate your exercise/relaxation space from the rest of a larger room with Crittall style glass screens. Once you’ve created a space in this way or with some other approach, use the following tips for successful design.
1 – The Mirror
2 – The Equipment
3 – The Bar Cart
4 – The Seating
5 – The Mini Fridge
6 – The TV
7 – The Wall Hangings
What do bars and gyms have in common? Wall mirrors, of course. Once you’ve found (or laid claim to) space for your gym/bar, pick a location for the mirror. Points to keep in mind:
The mirror needs to be located where you can exercise in front of it to check your form and technique.
You’ll also want some space in front of the mirror for the bar cart (we’ll get to that).
Hanging the mirror on a wall perpendicular to a window will maximize the natural lighting.
For safe and attractive installation of the mirror, don’t pick a wall with large humps or ridges.
The bottom of the mirror will need to be above any outlets.
Depending on the wall space you have to work with, you can hang one mirror or multiple mirrors side by side. ABC Glass & Mirror will deliver to Northern Virginia residents a full kit that includes one or more safety-backed gym mirrors, hanging hardware, and installation instructions. We also offer professionally installed custom gym mirrors tailored to your needs and tastes. The DIY gym mirror kits are a good fit for many rooms, but a unique design or an unusual section of wall space calls for a custom item.
#1 – The Mirror
#2 – The Equipment
If you’re creating this nook on a budget, you don’t necessarily need to buy any equipment. After all, how many of us have been whipping up cocktails with nothing but shot glasses and teaspoons for years now. Likewise, tons of aerobic and anaerobic exercises require nothing more than will power and motivation (which unfortunately we can’t buy at a local fitness store)!
However, if you have the money for a little retail therapy, this is the time to treat yourself to some barware. Depending what you like to drink, consider:
Variety of cocktail glasses – rocks, Collins, highball, Nick and Nora, martini, etc.
Stemmed and stemless wine glasses
Specialty ice cube trays
Fancy bottle opener and cork remover
For the gym part, the items you need will depend on how you exercise. If the jury is still out on that, popular home workout regimens often call for things like yoga mats, exercise balls, stretch bands, and free weights. It might be helpful to start with a program that requires little investment and then go from there.
Before you start shopping for your bar and gym equipment, be sure to select a theme and color scheme for the space. Take into account the living space around it as you want the gym/bar area to have some continuity with the rest of your home. Decorating trends today favor comfort, meaningfulness, and color. Eclectic looks that blend old and new items are also in-vogue, which means you can save money by mixing new purchases with things you already have as well as flea market and garage sale finds. You might want to consider one of these popular styles for your gym/bar:
Maximalism – “More is more” and over the top is OK.
Grandmillenial – Crocheted doily under a modern lamp? Perfect for the grandmillenial look!
Japandi – “Hygge” meets “wabi sabi” for a look that’s warm and streamlined.
Keep your chosen palette and style in mind whenever you do make a purchase for the space. Often functional items like Pilates balls, neoprene covered weights, or floor mats can be purchased in a shade that matches the room’s color scheme.
#3 – The Bar Cart
The point is to create this home gym/home bar without actually renovating your house or breaking the bank account (after all you need some money left over for spirits, bitters, and olives)! All the same, you need somewhere to store your liquor and glassware, and this is where the bar cart comes in. As a side note, interior décor blogger Kristi points out that using a bar cart to store your beverage ingredients (and anything else from dishes to diapers!) is an on-trend move these days.
The top shelf of the cart is for your favorite drink ingredients and glasses. Wheeling the cart in front of your mirror when you’re not exercising lets the sparkling glasses and bottles reflect in the mirror. If you need additional storage because you boast a well stocked bar, then a wall shelf, repurposed bookcase, or wine rack (they can hold other bottles, too) could work well.
The bottom shelf of your bar cart is for storing your fitness accessories. A bin or basket makes it easy to tastefully store stretch bands, hand-held weights, and so on. Your exercise mat can be rolled, tied with ribbons, and stashed here as well.
#4 – The Seating
Of course somewhere to sit is a necessity for a home bar, but does it really fit in with a home gym? In point of fact, recovery rooms are gaining popularity in both commercial and residential gyms, so many home exercise spaces do include seating. Any of the options below can do double duty as a place to relax your muscles and drink a recovery smoothie OR a spot to sip libations while chatting with your spouse in the evening.
A round pub table with comfortable high-backed bar stools.
A plush loveseat in front of a coffee table.
Two comfy chairs with an end table between them.
Bean bag chairs with a flat tray to set your drinks on.
To make the seating area more bar-like, you could situate it near an overhead light and replace the existing fixture with several pendant lights. These come in many styles, from lantern-inspired to colorful modern glass globes. Statement lighting above the seating area isn’t necessary, but it would definitely look amazing.
To boost the recovery room aspect of the seating area, add a container filled with all the self-care items you need post-workout – towels, massage gun, foam roller, cryo roller ball, etc. Depending on how you style the seating area, these could be kept in a storage ottoman, lidded bin, or large basket.
#5 – The Mini Fridge
At this point, we’ve really covered the essentials needed for your home gym and bar all-in-one combo. However, there are a few more things that would add to both if they’re in your budget or you already have them. Top on this list is a mini fridge. Load up one shelf with water bottles, electrolyte drinks, and healthy snacks that boost energy and help with recovery. Use the other shelf for bar items that need to be refrigerated like open bottles of cherries, olives, or specialty syrups. The mini freezer aspect is especially nice for your bar because you can fill it with silicone ice trays that make cubic or spherical cubes for cocktails. Even if it’s just filled with regular ice, it’s definitely nice to have this conveniently located. If desired, you can also include a smoothie blender on top of the fridge. (It will work for making protein shakes AND margaritas, after all!)
#6 – The TV
Here’s another feature that most bars and gyms have in common – a TV. If you’ve upgraded to a larger TV for your living room, you probably have another one stashed in a closet or attic. Use the wall mount kit to hang it in your home gym/bar where you can see it while exercising and while relaxing.
If you’re following an online workout program, you can stream the content from your phone to the TV (if it’s new enough) or plug your laptop into the TV with a USB cord. Even if you don’t use virtual fitness tools, a TV allows you to watch a favorite show while exercising, which can take your mind off exercises you don’t like and maybe even motivate you to keep working out a bit longer...just to find out how the episode ends!
Likewise, the TV can turn your home bar into a sports bar or dinner theater right at home. If you’re following a show with a friend or family member, this makes watching the next episode even more enjoyable – with a delicious drink and the pleasant ambiance you’ve created.
#7 – The Wall Hangings
As mentioned earlier, a specific style and color scheme is important. It will tie everything together, give your space personality, and make the area more inviting. When putting a home gym and bar together with items you already have, this can be a challenge. Maybe you have the beginnings of a gray and yellow color scheme, for example, or hints of an old-fashioned English pub style. A few well chosen wall hangings can give definition to the color scheme and draw everything together into a more distinct theme. Flea markets, garage sales, and discount stores are good places to look for these pieces. Possibilities include:
A vintage bar clock or other old clock that advertises a product. (If the clock still works, it can also be helpful for timing planks and wall sits!)
Humorous or antique wall signs.
A large painting or print that fits with your theme. (Choose something YOU like and don’t worry if the colors are over the top or the picture is unusual – this will give the space character and visual interest.)
Illuminated wall art. (Neon wall hangings are popular these days, but you could also use strings of lights or wall sconces with flameless candles depending on the style you’re going for.)
DIY wall hangings are also an option. Going the DIY route is helpful if you’re having trouble finding something in the color you need. A few ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
Paint a plain wood frame in the color you need, and then frame something that fits your theme. This can be anything from a print, to a newspaper clipping, to a piece of colorful cloth.
Cover one wall with peel and stick wall-paper (which has the advantage of being a current home decorating trend).
Paint your own message – funny or inspiring – on a canvas or reclaimed wooden board.
Hang curtains even if there’s no window. This may seem daring, but designers do it, so why not you? Hanging a curtain over bare wall space allows you to introduce whatever colors and patterns you want, and it can give the space a more cozy feel. You could also use your gym mirror to create the illusion of a window and an upscale look. Hang long drapes above the mirror (as though it was a window) and then pull them to either side. This will be very decorative and can really tie together the whole gym + bar concept.
Have fun putting your own spin on the home gym and bar idea! We hope one of our ABC Glass & Mirror gym mirror kits will help you get the project done on your schedule and budget. You can also count on our team for custom wall mirrors, glass shelves, or any other specialty glass or mirror that could enhance your home bar/home gym combination. The ABC team has been serving the Northern Virginia area for the past two decades, and we’d love to be part of your next project – (703)257-7150.