I’m so excited to share our $100 basement home gym today!
For the past four weeks, I’ve been busy transforming part of our dark, creepy, unfinished basement into a clean, functional home gym with an industrial flare.
As if that wasn’t difficult enough, I took this project on as part of the $100 Room Challenge. The $100 room challenge is a challenge started by Erin from Lemons, Lavender, and Laundry to make over one room in your home in only one month with a $100 budget. Definitely challenging!
This is my third time taking part in the $100 Room Challenge; last year I made over our main bathroom and our family room and I was so thrilled with what I was able to do in both spaces with my tiny $100 budget.
This time I decided to tackle our basement home gym. My husband has been using one side of our unfinished basement as his home gym for several years now but it hasn’t been the nicest place to work out.
Check out these terrible before pictures.
Cold cement floor covered by random carpet remnants, cinder block walls, loose insulation hanging down from the ceiling, dim lighting, a window covered by a piece of chain link fence (why?), and piles of stuff stored everywhere. Not exactly an inspiring spot to get fit.
Four weeks and $100 dollars later, this space has come a long way!
$100 Basement Home Gym
Now that’s a basement gym!
It is much more masculine and industrial than my usual aesthetic but the industrial vibe is perfect for the unfinished basement space. I mean when you’re working with exposed rafters and block walls, I’m pretty sure industrial style is the only thing that’s going to make sense!
(I did my best with these photos, but they really don’t do this gym justice. You can probably imagine how difficult it is to take good photos of a basement with difficult lighting and support poles everywhere you turn.)
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Decluttering the Basement
This basement makeover started with lots of cleaning and decluttering. I donated piles of stuff to the Goodwill and then moved the things we were keeping to the other side of the basement.
If decluttering and getting rid of stuff is hard for you, I’ve shared a bit more about that process and a trick that really helped me let go of things in this post.
I also removed the pegboard, the chain link fence over the window, and other random things from the walls.
Painting the Basement Walls
Once the junk was cleared out of the way, I scrubbed everything down really well and then I got to work painting the walls.
Our basement has cinder block walls and only a few areas had been painted previously.
Before painting bare cinder block, you need to use a block filler to prevent future moisture problems and also create a paintable surface.
This is a lot more time-consuming than painting regular walls. Cinder blocks are highly textured and have lots of peaks and valleys to cover with the filler.
You can use a paint roller for highly textured surfaces but you’re also going to need a large, stiff paintbrush to get the paint into all of the mortar lines and other grooves. A masonry brush is perfect for this.
Once the filler was dried, I painted the walls with Valspar masonry paint in the color Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams. I think bright white walls can look cold and stark in an unfinished space like this, so I went with a warmer light gray instead.
My favorite part of the walls is the huge GYM mural. I started by drawing the letters onto the wall using sidewalk chalk. That way I could easily see if the letters were all even before painting and it was easy to wipe off the chalk when I needed to adjust a few lines.
Then I filled in the letters using a flat black paint. Chalkboard paint works great for this or you can use a sample of black wall paint.
The Floor and Ceiling
Our unfinished basement has a pretty standard concrete floor and an open ceiling full of joists and ducts and insulation. It would have been great to be able to upgrade them, but that wasn’t in the budget.
I considered getting some mats to cover the floor, but in the end we decided it wasn’t necessary. Instead we just used a few carpet remnants we had on hand to cover some of the concrete.
If you do want to use mats, I’ve heard that you can save money by using horse stall mats rather than mats marketed for gyms.
I also left the ceiling the way it was. I really wanted to paint the ceiling joists to brighten things up, but there is already insulation installed there and I didn’t want to mess with it.
The lighting is one of my favorite changes we made in the space and it was so simple.
Before there was a fluorescent light in one side of the space and a bare bulb hanging down on the other side. We removed the fluorescent fixture completely and hung string lights from the ceiling, criss-crossing the space.
It was a simple change, but it warms up the space so much and helps make it feel cozy even though it’s still open to the rest of the unfinished basement.
The huge chalkboard was another fun DIY project. It was so inexpensive to make and it looks gorgeous. It’s fantastic in this space but it would also look perfect in a playroom, family room, even a farmhouse style dining room.
I hung it using 2″x2″ boards screwed into the ceiling joists.
Along the bottom of the chalkboard frame are two upside down drawer pulls to hold chalk.
My husband has been using this chalkboard daily since the gym was finished to keep track of reps and weights and his workout schedule.
Furniture and Storage
We moved our old TV onto an old typewriter stand in this corner. The size isn’t perfect but it works.
There’s a little basket in the floor that holds the power strip that the TV and lights are plugged into as well as a small space heater we sometimes use.
The typewriter stand and the rustic bench were both things that were already in the basement from previous thrifting adventures.
We also put an old set of school lockers against one wall. I found these lockers a few years ago at a yard sale for only $10 looking rather sad.
You can see all the details on their makeover right here. We’ve had them upstairs for the past few years, but I was ready for a change in there and I knew they would be perfect in our home gym.
Of course, it was also important that this space actually works well as a gym. There’s no point in having a nice looking gym if it doesn’t function for working out!
My husband was the brainpower behind most of the layout. One half has a large open area with lots of space to move around. There’s also a hook on the ceiling in that area for hanging the punching bag.
The other side contains the weight bench and all of the free weights. The lockers hold smaller dumbbells, gloves, jump ropes, kettlebells, and other equipment.
Here are a couple of before and after comparisons.
Talk about a crazy difference!
Okay, so as always, the big question is did we stay on budget?
Well, as I explained last week, we did have to spend $60 on block filler to prepare the cinder block walls to be painted. I’ve decided not to count that in the budget for this makeover. It’s more of a home improvement project that needed to happen regardless and isn’t really specific to the room design. So not counting that, here is the budget breakdown for the space.
Basement Home Gym Budget and Source List
- Paint for walls: Sherwin Williams Repose Gray mixed in Valspar Masonry paint, $26
- Paint roller for highly textured walls: $4
- Paint for GYM letters: already owned, free
- Materials for chalkboard: $21
- Pulls for chalk holders: already owned, free (these are similar)
- String Lights: $28
- Lockers, typewriter stand, bench: already owned, free
- All of the weights and equipment: already owned, free
Woo-hoo, not bad at all!
And in case you missed them, you can see my other $100 room makeovers here:
I’d love for you to pin this post on Pinterest!