Working out at home is incredibly useful, convenient, and works best depending on your lifestyle. But! Not everyone has space for a home gym. This is the main reason most people decide to temporarily convert their living rooms into a gym. Converting your living room (or bedroom) into a gym is only practical if you make the conversion simple and easy. Here are a few simple things we can do to make the conversion from the living room to the workout room simple and easy.
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Biggest barriers to converting your bedroom to a workout room
If you’re like most people, then your living room is not a full-time gym. If you want to workout in the living room, you’re going to have to move furniture around before you can roll out your yoga mat.
Almost anyone can do this on a one time basis. The biggest barrier to getting this done on a CONSISTENT basis is that people don’t make this process SIMPLE and EASY. You might think the biggest barrier is laziness. It’s true. You need some level of willpower to move furniture around to make space, so here are a few things you can do to make this a headache-free process.
- Avoid furniture that is heavy and takes up a lot of space.
- Improve your floorplan that makes it easier to move things around.
- De-clutter and bring workout gear in plain view.
Ask yourself, “What takes up the most space in my living room?”. In the majority of cases, in terms of square footage, tables and couches take up the most room in a living room. If we’re talking about the bedroom, then this is most likely the bed.
Some furniture is space inefficient. Massive comfortable sofas are great to entertain and watch TV on, but they often become an excuse for why you’re not working out. Large couches take up lots of space and can be very heavy – making them hard to move. The same can be said for the table. Coffee tables can be tricky because they often heavy and hold many random items. This makes the conversion to a workout room even more effort-intensive.
Picking furniture that is efficient and light
If you’re strapped for space (and you probably are if you’re reading this article), then one of the best things you can do is invest in efficient and light furniture.
It’s great that small apartments have gotten so much attention recently, because the trend has inspired many manufacturers to create more efficient furniture designs. Here are a few examples…
- Queen or King size bed
- Three person couch or Couch Futton
- Large Coffee table in the middle of the living room
- Office desk
Efficient furniture alternatives
- Murphy bed or traditional Japanese futon – Murphy beds help to save space by folding the bed up into a cabinet. This option is a bit expensive, but a solid option if the bedroom is the room you are converting. A traditional Japanese futon is a cheaper alternative for the bedroom. It is usually placed on the floor or on top of a light cushion and can be folded up. I personally use a traditional Japanese futon and the cost is similar to that of a normal bed setup.
- Cushions with pillows – Buying a few cushions and pillows is cheaper than a couch, and way more flexible in their use. This was the method I chose when figuring out how to avoid buying a large couch. The cushions serve as a mobile couch, while the pillows can be used as backrests or as pillows. The part I like best is that you can configure your seating arrangement in several different ways to accommodate guests. These are also all very light, easy to move, and have a small footprint.
- Foldable table – I got rid of my coffee table when I realized I never used it. But if you think you really need one, then consider a foldable table. Folding tables are great because of their size, light weight, and ability to fold out depending on your needs.
- Floating table that folds up – Many people use laptops as their computer of choice. If you don’t need a large set up with monitors and other equipment, then this could be a great option. The cabinet does allow for some storage, but the idea is that once you no longer need your computer open, you can fold the desk away into the wall. Depending on the height you install the table, you can use it as a standing desk. A small stool can act as a chair.
One of the biggest advantages to this furniture is that you have more freedom to do the things you think are important. Furniture that is flexible pays for itself by transforming based on your needs. Big bulky furniture forces YOU to be flexible to accommodate it.
Imagine folding up your floating desk and table. This process should take no more than 1 minute. Now think about lugging a large desk and table around your living room to “make room”. This can be a logistical annoyance as it might be necessary to move around other pieces of furniture so the table can find its temporary home.
Designating space for an easily convertible workout room
Take a few minutes out to run through how you will convert your room to a workout room. Having a set plan might seem unnecessary, but it does something really important. Having a set plan makes the task of converting your living room into a workout room much SIMPLER AND EASIER. Having a clear picture of where you will place your sofa, your rug, etc. means running through the process is less daunting.
While you make your plan, move the piece of furniture into its temporary home. Does this spot accommodate the workout activities you are planning on doing? If yes, then great. If not, where else can you place the piece of furniture? Sometimes this can be as simple as shoving everything against the walls. Other times you will have to think of creative solutions.
Before you complain about not having enough space to do “X” workout, stop, think, and plan how you can MAKE IT WORK. If you feel as though you have too much stuff, your furniture is too big, or there is too much clutter, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Most people get trapped by all the stuff they own. The next section is probably the most critical when it comes to managing this challenge.
How to tidy up with Marie Kondo: YES tidying up is essential here!
Although this is not a soap box to preach about minimalism, there are many lessons here that can be learned. Minimizing clutter and minimizing the things we own makes converting your living room way less effort intense. If we’re fighting against laziness, then we need to make things so EASY that it becomes a no brainer. Knick knacks scattered around the house makes converting our living room into a gym hard. They become barriers, which feed into our lazy sides and prevent us from even getting the room ready to workout.
As mentioned, nick-knacks are the biggest culprits. Get rid of them or put them in a place where they are out of the way. Not emotionally ready to throw things out you say???
Declutter: Throw out the garbage and put away the knick-knacks
Marie Kondo is a very petite and soft spoken Japanese woman who is the undisputed queen of tidying up. I wasn’t a believer in “tidying up” until I read her book and realized there was a science to keeping your room in order. There are many steps to her method, but the one I’m most interested in is the one where she throws away stuff. I’m not the kind of person who gets emotionally attached to things, but many people are. This leads to an accumulation of things, and if this is you, eliminating what is non-essential is going to make your life much easier.
To summarize, the process involves going through categories of things, holding each item and asking yourself if that item brings you joy. If the answer is yes, then you keep it, but if not, then you thank it for the memories and throw that sucker out. Repeating this process throughout your living room is a great way to make space and throw out garbage.
If you want to keep things like books, see if there is a way you can keep a digital copy instead of having the physical book.
Examples of an easy and difficult room to convert to a gym
Here is an example of a room that will be very difficult to convert to a gym room due to the high effort needed to move all the clutter. Converting this room into a gym room could take an hour!
Below is an example of a room that needs little effort to convert into a gym. The sofa and chair can easily be moved away from the window, and the coffee table can be placed in a corner or near the sofa. This conversion should take no more than 2 minutes. And remember, putting things back would be just as easy in this case!
Bringing workout equipment into plain view
The other end of tidying up is bringing to the forefront the things that are important to you. I’ve seen many different people on blogs and YouTube advise their audience to hide fitness equipment in cute boxes under their beds or in a cabinet. This is a huge mistake if we want to make working out in our makeshift workout room EASY and SIMPLE.
Making it EASY to convert your living room into a workout room is just as important as knowing how to do it.
We want to place workout equipment into the forefront because it makes using the stuff easy. If our yoga mat is rolled up in the back corner of a closet, then odds are you’ll never see that yoga mat again. Things we want to interact with the most need to be most visible in our living room.