How to Light a Garage Gym: The Complete Guide

September 11, 2020

How to Light a Garage Gym: The Complete Guide

Turning your garage into a home gym can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your adult life. By turning a large utilitarian space like a garage into a home gym, you’re making a choice that can positively impact your life and the lives of those in your household. 

To light a garage gym, you’ll need to measure your space, determine how much light you want, create a layout plan, purchase your lights, and install the new fixtures. Alternatively, you can now purchase lighting systems that only require you to screw them into an existing bulb socket.

Lighting your home gym doesn’t have to be painful – it can be quite easy if you’re prepared with patience and information. For more information on lighting your garage gym and the lighting systems we mentioned, read on.



Determine the Dimensions and Layout of Your Garage

Identify the Square Footage/Meterage of Your Garage Gym

The first step to installing new lights in your at-home garage gym is to measure every dimension possible. Gathering dimensions is crucial, so you know how many lights to install. If you have a huge garage and are thinking of only buying one or two light bulbs, you won’t have enough light to work out safely during the darker hours of the day.

Conversely, if you have a small garage and have already over-enthusiastically bought ten bright LED lights, you’ll be pleased to know that you can return a few – you won’t need all of them. By measuring how much space you’re working with in your garage gym, you can easily determine how many lights you need to buy. This will help you save money and time.

Finding the proportions of your garage gym is crucial because the lighting is essential for your workout. Many scientists and psychologists believe that brighter light makes your workout more powerful. This is likely because bright lights mimic the sun's energizing power, giving us that extra boost we need when we’re working out in the middle of winter or early in the morning.

Choose How Bright You Want Your Gym

Let’s talk light science for a second. There are a few different ways that light can be measured

The first way that light can be measured is in lumens. Wikipedia defines one lumen as approximately one-twelfth of the brightness of a single candle (i.e., one candle is 12 lumens). The amount of light in a given space can also be measured in lux; one lux is equivalent to one lumen per square meter (3.3 square feet).

With this information, you can easily figure out how many lights you need in your garage gym. According to LED’s Master, there is a standard for how brightly lit sports centers like basketball courts are. This standard varies from 322-536 lux for school gyms to 800-1000 lux for professional courts. Your home gym should be somewhere within this range.

This will take a bit of math, but it’s relatively easy to figure out. 

Say you want to illuminate your 24ft x 24ft (576 square foot, or 53.5 square meters) garage at 400 lux. Your math equation will end up looking like this (usingxfor the lux you want,yfor the lumens you’ll need out of your lights, andz being the square meterage of your garage):x =y/z.

If we use this equation on a 576 square foot (53.5 square meters) garage, we will need around 21,400 lumens to achieve 400 lux worth of brightness. For any home gym, that is an insane amount of light, and completely unnecessary. 

To put it into perspective and do the math (which we’ll do for you), you’d need around 27 standard light bulbs to illuminate your gym the way you want it, which just isn’t feasible.  As a reference, the FTC says that standard 60-watt light bulbs emit around 800 lumens.  Luckily, you have tons of options on the market for extra-bright light fixtures for your home gym. 



 




Create a Layout Plan for Lighting Your Gym

Although we’ve just determined how many lumens of light we’ll need for your garage gym, we won’t be using that information just yet. Before you pick out the lights that you want, you’ll have to arrange your garage gym just the way you want it.

Choose Your Arrangement – Even or Spot-Lit

According to Tim Steward from GymCrafter.com, you have two options for lighting your gym – you can install your lights around the existing equipment or install lights evenly across your garage.

Tim suggests arranging your gym with the latter option because it creates even lighting.  Plus, it allows you to move equipment in the future and still have good lighting. To install your lights properly, you will have to make a map of your gym at even intervals. 

If you’re installing overhead lighting with manufacturer suggestions, check out this helpful recessed lighting spacing calculator. This will help you determine how far apart you should space the fixtures.

If you’re using the even-interval method for light installation and installing overhead lights, you will also have to temporarily rearrange your gym to make room for you to install the lights. This will take some heavy lifting if you have larger machines, so be careful and take your time. Spacing lights at even intervals with wall or floor units is much easier and won’t involve much calculating.

If you don’t want to move your equipment around, you can simply install the lights around the equipment. Tim feels that this is the easier option, although it doesn’t offer the same sweeping, even light source that an equal installation will. 

All you’ll have to do for this method is to install the lights around your most important pieces of equipment. If you don’t mind a dimmer gym, this method will also help you save money.

Hunt for Outlets/Sockets

When you’re organizing your home gym to prepare for lighting, you need to be acutely aware of the location of both your outlets and where you might be able to screw in a light bulb. If you’re hoping to avoid installing long wraparound light fixtures, this information is essential.


For most of us, our garages will only have one or two bulb sockets to install lights into. This will be helpful for much of the light source but won’t supply everything you need to properly illuminate your home gym. Note where you may be able to plug in wall-mount or standup light units. 

Garage Wall and Ceiling Finish

This is actually an important part of lighting.  If you have nicely finished walls and ceiling in a bright color, preferably white for lighting purposes, then you will need less lighting!  Some people are tempted to paint a dark color to make it look more interesting, but dark colors absorb light effectively making the room much darker, while light colors reflect it making the room much brighter.  

The same is true for unfinished garage walls and ceilings.  If you have an unfinished garage, or an unpainted garage, you may consider the cost of paint as an alternative to more lighting.  It can offset the costs anyway.  



Pick and Purchase Your New Lights

Now that you’ve figured out the amount of lumens of light you’ll need for optimal illumination in your garage gym as well as the approximate location of your new lights, it’s time to pick your light fixtures. Because most people can relate to the amount of light produced by a single light bulb, as a reference, we’ll be using the lumens produced by a single 60 watt light bulb (800 lumens) to gauge the brightness of your spot.

In fact, many garages are only equipped with one or two standard light bulbs, so most people can use that as a starting point to evaluate their current lighting.  This will be our starting marker.  One bulb producing 800 lumens in a standard 2 car garage (24ft x 24ft garage).  From this starting marker we will add lighting to create an optimally-bright garage gym.

Overhead Lights

Overhead lights are some of the first options you should consider when installing lights in your garage gym. If your garage is truly tiny, you may only need one super strong overhead light to illuminate your garage gym, but the likelihood is that you’ll have to install multiple fixtures. The overhead light should always be your go-to for beginning installation of light fixtures in your home gym.

One of the best ways to work with overhead light fixtures is to install one ultra-bright unit that screws into the existing socket

The easiest option for overhead lighting that simply screws into your existing light socket is the incredibly effective and efficient STKR Trilight Motion Activated Ceiling Light. 

 

 

These are extremely easy to install. It truly is as simple as installing a light bulb.  All it takes is a simple screw into the light bulb socket of your choice, and you've already got your hands on 4000 lumens of brightness.  

Just one of these easy to install light fixtures will give you 5x the light produced by a standard 60-watt light bulb.  That is a huge increase in overall lighting.  Plus this light comes standard with an adjustable motion sensor, so it will automatically turn on and off as you enter and exit your garage home gym.  

If you happen to have two light fixtures in your garage then we suggest you opt for more light and install two TRiLIGHTS.  These lights have been so successful it has brought a lot of cheap copies into the market.  Be cautious when buying and be sure to get the original.  The copies are not UL certified and therefore possibly unsafe in your home, unethical in the business practices, and untruthful with their lumen and performance specifications.  Remember, in lighting you get what you pay for.  Cheap copy alternatives are not always the best solution.

Moving on we will explore an even brighter lighting solution that requires no electrical wiring and easy installation.  One of the brightest and most efficient overhead light fixtures available on the market is the STKR Multi-Point Illumination (MPI) System. This system is unique because it’s not just a single bulb that screws into a socket – it’s a five-light unit centered around one majorly bright light.

The MPI system is simple to install. The main cell of the unit just gets screwed into your existing bulb socket and gives off a super bright light. Along with the central light, four other lights connect directly to the central unit and have an internal system that tightens the cables creating a nice clean look in your home gym.

 

 

These four secondary lights provide an even wider spectrum of illumination over your garage gym space, offering a massive 7500 lumens of brightness. The major benefit of this system is spreading the light to 5 different spots in your home garage gym.  More points of light means more overall light spread and less shadows.

Wall-Mounted Lights

If you don’t have any overhead bulb sockets into which you can install new units, or if you’ve already installed overhead lights and are just not bright enough, your next move should be installing wall-mounted lights. Though these may feel like a bizarre option compared to overhead lights, they are a great option for garages that aren’t well equipped for extensive lighting.

An effective and easy option for mounting lights on your wall is to use long wraparound LED lights. These are a unique option because they provide a broad spectrum of light horizontally instead of vertically illuminating your space. While this isn’t optimal for all spaces in the home, wall-mounted lights are fine for a garage gym.

Wall-mounted lights can be frustrating and difficult to install if you’re limiting yourself to small incandescent bulbs. There’s no easy way to attach little light bulbs to your wall without preexisting wall-mount sockets, which are extremely rare. Because of these complications, you should work with wraparound LED lights instead.

Another awesome way to get light into your garage gym is to wall-mount a few ultra-bright shop lights. Shop lights are a great option for gyms because they’re movable - you can position them anywhere around the room as long as you have a hook to hang them on.

 

 

For LED lights that are safe to mount on your wall, check out our TriLIGHT ShopLightWhat’s cool about these moveable yet mountable lights is that, while they give off 3000 lumens of light (3.8x brighter than a typical 60watt bulb), at only 24 watts, they consume way less energy than your standard 60-watt light bulb that you might install in your bedroom or kitchen, and project a ton of useable light.

Some people like to open their garage door and workout in the driveway.  The Trilight Shoplight is also great to be able to plug it in and move it outdoors.  If positioned in a high location (basically overhead), it will light your entire driveway making those outdoor evening workouts well lit!

Mobile Lights

The final option lighting your garage gym is probably the easiest and is great for someone who is just trying to brighten up their gym without any hassle. Mobile lights are great for people who work out in their garage and don’t want to put a lot of effort into illuminating their space. They can be placed anywhere in your garage and have the advantage of being relatively portable.

Though you’d need quite a few of these to light up your entire gym, the STKR Mobile Task Light offers 1200 lumens of bright LED light that you can move anywhere. These are nice if you want to be able to brighten up different parts of your gym and get light into those difficult-to-brighten corners where you may have hidden your equipment.

 

 

You can hang, hook, or place the Mobile task light on anything.  In fact, you can even mount it on a tripod to get the light off the ground and illuminating more space.  Another option with the Mobile Task Light is to place it or hang it directly to your gym equipment. These can be strategically perched in safe places around your home gym to give you the bright boost you need to power through leg day.

The downside of any mobile light is burning through batteries.  Luckily the Mobile Task Light by STKR is rechargeable.  If recharged after use, it will be a good option for portable gym lighting.  It can also be plugged in via USB for longer run times.  Newer models even feature USB-C plugs, allowing for faster charging and longer run times when plugged in.  




Install Your New Light Fixtures Onto the Ceiling, Walls, or Floor of Your Gym

Though it may seem overwhelming at first, you don’t have to be a certified contractor or electrician to install new lights into your garage gym.  Leave the hard wiring to a licensed contractor, but find good lighting options that don’t require you to splice into your home wiring system.  

Once you’ve calculated how many lumens of brightness you want for your gym, figured out where the outlets and sockets are in your garage, rearranged the equipment to your liking, and purchased your new lights, it’s time to install them.

Installing Overhead Lights

The first lights you should install are your overhead lights. With the examples we’ve provided from STKR, your work is exceptionally simple. The Trilight is as easy to install as screwing it into your garage's overhead socket(s). Just a simple twist is all it takes.

As for the MPI, the steps are still simple. All you have to do is screw the main light into the socket, then mount the remaining four secondary lights around it by screwing them into a ceiling stud or drywall. This should be a very easy process, especially since STKR provides all the supplies you need for installation, aside from the drill.

Installing Wall-Mounted Lights

Though slightly more complicated than installing the overhead lights mentioned, the process of mounting LED wraparound lights on the wall(s) of your garage gym is a one-person project that shouldn’t take more than an hour or two if you have the right equipment and some patience.

What you’ll need for installing LED wraparound lights will vary, but you should most definitely have a power drill, some long screws, and a level handy. Double-check with the manufacturer and store you’re buying your wraparound lights from to make sure they’re safe to mount on the wall and follow the package instructions.

Keep in mind that wall mounted lights really only work as a quick solution if you already have outlets near the area you want to install the strip.

Installing Mobile Lights

“Installing” mobile lights in your gym isn’t much of a process, but rather a small task. The biggest issue you’ll face is likely keeping them charged, or making sure that you have enough cordage to be able to plug the lamp in. Make sure you have enough length out of the cord and purchase a garage-safe extension cord.

If you’re using our Mobile Task Light, you’ll appreciate the easy Dual-Lithium Ion Battery technology and USB-charging capability.

You should also double-check that your standup lights aren’t too close to your equipment. Not only is it a safety concern, but this will be an issue because the light may shine in your eyes. You will likely want to angle your standup lights slightly upward or downward to avoid blinding yourself. 



 




Wrapping Up the Installation Process

There are quite a few steps to installing new lights in your home gym. When you’re looking to install new lighting you first have to determine how much space you have and locate any necessary outlets or bulb sockets

After measuring the space, you should determine how bright you want your space – use your existing garage lighting as a starting metric.  If you already have a single or double light bulb setup, you can quickly and easily upgrade from 800-1600 lumens to over 15,000 lumens without doing any hard wiring and only using the existing light sockets!

Laying out your garage gym equipment in a basic drawing, and preparing your walls and ceiling with a bright color first can really help you to determine the amount of light you should bring into your gym.

Keeping your ideal lumen level in mind, you should then search for lights. Prioritize strong overhead lights, and then move on to finding wall-mount and mobile lights for your space, with standup lights and lamps being your more budget friendly option. Using the STKR garage ceiling light fixtures you can easily and quickly transform the lighting in your home garage gym without hiring an electrician



Conclusion

Once you’ve installed your shiny new lights up, down, and sideways, get your workout on. Enjoy the benefits of a brightly-lit garage gym, soaking up the light, and boosting your energy.


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