Getting to the gym can seem so hard, so it makes total sense that the Peloton bike, treadmills, rowing machines, and other exercise equipment have taken homes by storm.
The problem? As great as they might make your body look, exercise equipment is darn ugly. No matter how sleek and well-designed these hunks of metal are, it’s hard to incorporate them gracefully into your home decor, especially since many of us don’t have whole rooms or huge amounts of extra space to devote to working up a sweat.
Your best bet, say experts, is to embrace the equipment, rather than try to hide it completely.
“You can’t just tuck it in the corner of a room and pretend like it’s not there,” says Marty Basher, a home design and organizational expert at Modular Closets. And after all, “if you don’t put it where you’ll see it on a regular basis, you’ll be less likely to use it.”
The first step is to measure your space carefully before you design around it.
“If you’re banging a wall or brushing up against drapes or furniture, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable, so be sure you have about 30 square feet of space to work out in,” he says.
Next up: a little beautification and just a bit of strategic camouflage. Here are seven ways to make your exercise equipment and your room decor play nice together.
If you have a dedicated space, mirrors are a classic design trick, one that the pros fall back on repeatedly—and this glassy magic can make the space you work out in feel less squeezed and more airy.
“Much the way you’d see in a ballet studio, adding floor-to-ceiling mirrors—or even an oversized one that leans on the wall—can make a room appear larger,” explains Kymberlyn Lacy, principal designer at International Flair Designs. And of course, a mirror next to your rowing machine is a good prompt to check your form as you pull.
Lay carpet tiles
Carpet tiles in a fun pattern or bright color can help define the space you’re giving over to your equipment.
“You might also consider padding for traction, especially if you’re doing high-intensity workouts,” says Lacy.
Basher notes a rug or rubber flooring can also prevent noise from carrying to the floor below.
Paint an accent wall
Just as strategically placed floor tiles or a throw rug can designate a workout space, an accent wall can also signal your sweat zone.
“You can back your machine into a corner and paint the wall behind it a vibrant shade, or use contrasting paint or wallpaper—and it’ll almost seem like a separate space,” says Basher.
“Or try an inspirational quote near your treadmill as a focal point,” says Lacy.
Draw the eye away from your huffing and puffing, and let it rest on a fabulous print.
“Artwork is another way to create a focal point in the room, and you could match your selection to the exercise theme by picking posters of athletes you admire,” says Basher.
Bring in some green
This idea can work to hide bulky equipment, but a large plant or potted tree is also a smart design trick that’ll soften a room’s hard edges and add a pop of color. And some plant types can even improve the air quality by reducing toxins.
“A large ficus can partially shield your exercise equipment from view—so don’t worry if you can’t cover the item completely,” says Basher.
Lighten the curtains
Dark drapes will block the light and make the space you’re toiling in seem overly grim. Instead, hang sheer panels or remove all of the window dressing so you bring in more light. And by doing this, you’ll make the room appear more spacious and offset the feeling that your elliptical machine is hulking nearby, ready to take over the room.
Divide with a folding screen
A folding screen is another trick that can hide all kinds of flaws, Peloton bike included.
“A decorative screen cordons off your equipment when it’s not in use, and you can use it to hold your towel or jacket so your machine doesn’t become your towel rack,” says Basher.
Another smart bike or rowing machine blocker: a lightweight, free-standing bookcase. Position this item so it divides the space and helps to conceal your workout gear.
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