More than a Mirror and Some Weights

The home gym. When you hear that phrase, do you automatically picture some ghastly floor-to-ceiling mirrors, ugly black rubber flooring and some free weights? Maybe a yoga mat thrown in for good measure, perhaps? Or do you see a treadmill with some clothes hung on it, shoved in the corner of a bedroom? Whatever your vision, it probably doesn’t look fun or aesthetically pleasing. This, my dear readers, is unacceptable to me.

I don’t care what the purpose of any room in your home is, it still shouldn’t be ugly. Especially not something like a home gym. I have a good reason for feeling this way: if you are anything like me, you don’t necessarily want to work out. If you need to lug equipment around to get started, after a few days, you’re going to stop. If the room is functional but dreary and not motivating, you’re not going to want to be in it. You’ll find excuses not to go in there, and then all those attempts at getting healthier will be a waste as your equipment gathers dust.

First, paint the walls a color that is different than the rest of the house, so that your brain registers that this is a special place. I typically advise clients to choose what I call a “power color.” Look through the offerings online or at a paint store. Think of words like strong, happy, fit, and healthy; see if you catch onto a color that matches those words. Make it a color that you associate with your goals. Next, put things on the wall. Not necessarily related to fitness, although I have plenty of male clients that go with a sports theme and have team memorabilia on the walls. It can be anything that you want to look at while you’re in there. A family portrait, beautiful artwork, motivational words, or pictures of athletes. Something that triggers an “I can do this!” mentality whenever you see it. Use the walls, too. Make them functional. Put up hooks and/or shelves to put all those little things you need within both your reach and your eyesight. A home gym is not the place to be investing in lots of out-of-sight-out-of-mind storage techniques. The easier it is to grab and get on with it, the more likely you’re actually going to use it.

Now that I’ve given you some wall ideas, let’s talk about flooring. I recommend wood or tile floors. They are easy to clean, which is important when you get all sweaty and gross. You can also buy those rubber flooring squares or throw rugs with sticky material on the bottom to keep any equipment from sliding around. If you use carpet, it can be harder to do certain exercises (especially if you are into things like yoga or aerobics), and leaving heavy gym equipment on it for extended periods of time can actually damage the carpet. Plus, there’s always rug burn, which is something else to avoid.

Surround yourself with things that motivate you and make you happy. Make any equipment you have readily available, accessible, and easy to use. Choose easy-to-care-for flooring. Following these simple guidelines will help you reach your fitness goals in no time!

Why I Hate Pinterest

Yes, I’ve said it. I hate Pinterest. If you have been living under a rock for the past few years and don’t know what Pinterest is, it is a virtual dream board for its users. They scour the internet “pinning” things that they like. In theory, it is a great system for someone like me to keep track of interesting textiles, furniture, or design features that I see online for various projects.

However, in reality, it is a do-it-yourself horror story in the making. There are all kinds of crafty ways to refurbish, repurpose, or make décor. I will be the first to tell you, as someone who has been in this field for a decade, that there are some things you just should not try to do yourself. Reupholstering a chair may look easy, and those before and after shots you see on Pinterest may look great. But if you don’t know anything about chair assembly or fabrics, this may not be a great task for you to tackle on your own. There are too many variables to deal with when you’re inexperienced. First, you don’t know the skill level of the other person. It may take them 15 minutes because they worked in a furniture restoration store for 30 years; that doesn’t mean it will be quick for you. They may have attempted it 50 times before and this is the one time it worked out for them. The chair they are using might be a different design or made of different material than yours, which matters significantly when you start disassembling the chair or try to adhere the new fabric to it. You also cannot tell what kind of fabric they are using. It could be specially made, it could be a thick textile, it could be anything,really. It is possible the fabric you buy is too thin and your staples won’t hold, or you put in too much batting and then don’t have the proper amount of material to properly cover the bottom even if you diligently measured and cut the fabric properly.

There are so many reasons why your project may not come out like the one you see online, and instead of feeling like the person misrepresented the task or that they may have professional training, you start to take it personally. Many of my clients—smart, capable, successful women—are reduced to tears because they cannot measure up to these Pinterest queens. That bothers me so much. If you have a few spare moments, search for “Pinterest fails” and you’ll see what I am talking about. While I admire people’s attempts at saving money or their ingenuity in trying something new, I am a professional. I have taken courses and studied the proper techniques. I have cultivated relationships with other professionals who can do these jobs to your specifications for a fair price. It is part of my job to make things easier and more beautiful for my clients.

Let’s leave Pinterest out of it, OK?