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Dark Garage Gym

Dark Garage Gym: How to Improve Garage Gym Lighting (7 Tips)

Most garages are not designed to be well-light areas. They are used to park a car and to store some items in most cases so having a full lighting system is not usually something that is factored in when garages are initially built. 

If you’ve started your own garage gym, chances are you’ve come across one particular issue and that is a dark garage gym…

If, like me, you’ve only got a single overhead fixture with a lonely bulb emitting minimal light, you’ll know that this doesn’t create a very good mood for working out. Some of the best gyms in the world focus on downlighting systems or specific mood lighting to create the best possible workout environment. 

We’d like to think that this can be an easy solution for most garage gym owners so in this article we’ll cover how to improve garage gym lighting. 

How to Improve Garage Gym Lighting

If you look at any inspiration garage gym online or on Instagram, something you’ll find with many of the standout options is lighting. The lighting can turn an ordinary-looking garage gym into a bodybuilding mecca. 

Unfortunately when first building your garage gym, the focus is on equipment and setting the foundations (like with proper garage gym flooring or heating). This means that lighting is an afterthought and not only can this lead to gloomy workouts but it can also be a safety hazard if you have poor visibility and lighting around gym equipment. 

I’ve been in this situation before. While setting up a gym in a storage unit, the light was minimal and I had no access to external sockets. I, therefore, had to come up with a very temporary solution to this lighting situation with some cheap LED spotlights that were battery-powered. 

How to improve garage gym lighting

There are 7 tips you can use to improve garage gym lighting:

  1. Install fluorescent tube lights
  2. Add motion-sensor lighting
  3. Hang LED neon strips along the ceiling
  4. Utilize underlighting around equipment or cabinets
  5. Strategically place lamps or standing lamps
  6. Keep any windows clear to enhance natural light
  7. Use LED lighting

I’ll cover each of these options in more detail below. 

1) Fluorescent Tube Lights

Fluorescent tube lighting is the most straightforward way to brighten your entire garage. 

The long length of these lights makes them very efficient at illuminating large spaces compared to conventional bulbs. This is why you often find them in places such as your local gym, school, or auto shop.

You should install them overhead for the best results. That way, the light fills the room with as little obstruction as possible. 

If you try placing them on a wall, the intensity of these bulbs might quickly hurt your eyes. Plus, it can cast strange, distracting shadows on the wall behind you while you’re working out.

Tube lights require specific fixtures to work. Meaning that if your garage only has conventional bulbs, you might be out of luck unless you’re willing to install new fixtures.

You also want to make sure you have covers on your tube lights, particularly for garage gyms. Otherwise, you could easily break one with a stray jump rope or elastic band.

2) Motion Sensors

Another way to bolster your garage gym’s lighting is through motion sensors.

If you have a garage with no external light, you might struggle to find light switches. And the last thing you want to do is accidentally walk into workout equipment and get hurt.

By using motion sensors, your garage lighting system will immediately brighten when you walk in. That way, you don’t need to fumble around in the dark.

Motion sensors are also an environmentally friendly upgrade to your workout space. Many of them have built-in timeout functions that will shut your lights off after periods of inactivity. 

That way, you don’t need to worry about whether or not you remembered to hit your switch.

3) Neon Lights (Neon Strips)

Lighting doesn’t always have to be just about efficiency. While neon lights certainly aren’t as bright as fluorescents, they’re much more stylish and fun.

Unlike some of your other options, these devices come in various shapes and colors to help spice your garage gym up. You can use them to show team spirit or to display a glowing motivational message.

Not to mention that studies have detected a correlation between mood and light color in animals. 

So the right blend of neon lights might even help you feel more motivated during your workouts. Or prevent you from getting bored by adding more vibrancy to your exercise space.

They won’t usually be enough on their own. However, neon lights can take your garage lighting to the next level when combined with other lighting apparatuses.

4) Under Lighting 

Under lighting is something often overlooked despite how useful it can be.

While most conventional lighting options are wall-mounted or overhead, these lights provide light from below objects. Usually, you’ll find them in the form of LED strips.

One of the benefits of these strips is their versatility. You can mount LED strips almost anywhere to help illuminate your space. This flexible application is especially useful in a garage gym where you might spend much time close to the ground in dim-lighting.

These lights are typically less bright than others. So, you may need to run lots of them or only use them for specific spaces your other lights can’t reach.

Still, the myriad of colors they come in are excellent for adding stunning highlights and accents to your garage.

5) Lamps and Standing Lighting

If you want to illuminate your gym with no hassle, lamps are the way to go.

You can simply run into your home to grab any you have lying around. Or, order some online that fit your garage gym aesthetic.

The great thing about lamps is that many of them are adjustable. So, you can turn and twist them to get the optimal lighting for your space.

However, you should try to keep them as far away from your workout equipment as possible. You could easily hit your lamps by accident while working out otherwise.

6) Keep Windows Clean and Unobstructed

If you have windows in your garage gym, you may not need to spend much to improve your lighting. 

First and foremost, ensure all of your windows are unobstructed. 

Gym equipment and other things you’re storing might be blocking light from outside. If your equipment is heavy, you should have a friend help you to be safe.

Foliage or bushes outside your windows may also obscure sunlight. Some clipping or trimming might be in order in those cases.

Also, consider taking the time to clean your windows as well.

If you haven’t recently, they likely have some dirt and dust on them. Wiping that off can significantly increase how much sunlight reaches your garage gym.

7) Switch to LED Lighting

Chances are you have some incandescent bulbs in your garage, particularly in overhead fixtures.

If that’s the case, switch them out for LED bulbs.

LED bulbs are significantly brighter than incandescent and halogen bulbs. Plus, they last much longer. While incandescent bulbs work for around 1,000 hours, LED bulbs can last up to 50,000 hours. 

So, LEDs can save you time and money when it comes to buying replacements.

And like motion sensors, this will make your garage gym much more environmentally friendly. LED lights only use 80% of the energy most incandescent bulbs do. 

Final Thoughts

The above are some strategies and tips that you can implement to improve the lighting in a dark garage gym. We know this is an issue for many garage gym owners and one that can be easily fixed with both cheap and DIY methods

This is the first article in a leveling up series dedicated to improving the aesthetic and comfort of your garage gym – after this, you’ll want to check out the best garage gym lighting which will give specific recommendations for some of the options listed above.