Home Cinemas versus Home Gyms


When it comes to choosing a luxury room to add to our homes, it seems we dream the most about owning either a home cinema or a fully equipped gym. If you had to choose, which would it be?

For most, keeping fit is just as important as entertaining themselves or their friends with a film night. So how do you decide?

It's no help that the physical intentions of each room contradict one another. One facilitates movement of your body and producing endorphins, and the other total relaxation and eating your heart out. Both can be equally beneficial for well-being! Like everything in our lives, it is about finding balance, so making the right choice will be personal to you. As a designer, I would advise asking yourself simple questions, such as which room would you receive the most pleasure from and the most use of. Here are some are some design aspects and facts to inspire your decision.

I would own a cinema room ...


Contrary to popular belief, not all cinema rooms are dark, dramatic, and located in bolt hole basements or visualised as vintage cinema rooms of the past. Most are modern, luxurious and sleek, and stand alone as a dedicated room. Some are combined with other functional spaces, such as adjoining family/dining areas, as seen here from one of Cyber homes’, an Home Entertainment and AV specialist, case studies. A good piece of advice to achieving the best design is to work with an interior designer and home entertainment specialist. Be sure to think about the following ideas before a consultation.

  • Home cinema rooms add glitz and glamour to your home. Consider the advantage of having an authentic cinema room over a cinema screen in a makeshift situation. Don't pass by the opportunity to go all out for that fully cinematic experience if you can.
  • Cinema rooms are specialist installations and are highly technical, so make good use of the advice from a specialist.
  • Do you want to update a space, or make a brand new space which enables you to plan from concept to fit?
  • Choose furniture that is comfy and cool. It doesn’t have to be real cinema seating if that’s not your style. A good, upholstered sofa arrangement is very appropriate, one of which you can express your style more meaningfully.
  • Stay true to your style and don't be swayed too much by exact technical high-tech suggestions, unless you want to go for the maximum effect of the home cinema experience.
  • Plan your space well. Make sure you have considered enough seating for all visitors, with ample space to move around the room and good leg space for seating.
  • Controlled lighting is extremely important; you may need a system that has separate circuits for mood and general task lighting. This will create drama and atmosphere.
  • Consider hard-wearing materials for seating, floors and walls, and plenty of soft surfaces for sound to be absorbed and bounced around the room.


When choosing your home cinema’s style and function, think about how much you want to replicate a commercial cinema; one that includes all the high tech and acoustic requirements, good lighting and professional interior design assistance, rather than making do with just a screen in your lounge. I asked Chris Morley, lead designer of Cyberhomes, what the best elements required for a home cinema room are - both technical and aesthetic - and what this might cost.

Chris replied, “The cinema rooms we design today are more versatile than ever. By exploring the client's main desire and purpose for the room, whether this is a grand cinematic experience with the latest movies, enjoying a Live Sporting event on a big dropdown projector screen or simply playing the latest video games and watching Sky TV, we can tailor the room to suit their performance criteria and budget.

Of course, for the real nocompromise movie buffs, a full technical room design based on industry guidelines with the latest cinema technologies and room acoustics, can provide a performance that not only matches your local cinema but can outperform it! Adding a personalised aesthetic which allows for the best audiovisual performance, mood lighting, climate control and easy to use controls, gives you a full kinaesthetic and immersive experience offering the ultimate escapism”.

For a successful cinema experience, much relies on good acoustic soundproofing, furniture, space planning, correct seating heights, and the size of the screen. Fundamentally, a room must exceed a certain size to fulfil all this.

I would own a gym...

Driving to a gym, waiting for the equipment to become available, booking classes - the whole process can take up a considerable amount of time. Imagine popping out of your kitchen into a purpose-made home gym, or down into the basement where a whole new meaning of ‘your time’ becomes reality. Not only will you own a personal interior designed space, you will also save hours of driving to and from the gym, giving you time to move your body, whenever you need.


You can be more adventurous with design depending on your favourite workout, but generally, you need to be practical with the more physical pursuits. Think about things like:

  • Wellbeing. For example, yoga rooms need a balance of colours and earthy materials. Biophilia creates an atmosphere. Relaxing sounds with water, and soft lighting will relax and ground you.
  • Heating is important to practise any exercise, so be sure you can adjust the temperature.
  • Sound and vibrant colours will boost energy for vigorous activities, like running and boxing.
  • Decide what function of activity is taken within the gym. For example, will there be classes, running/treadmill, cycling or yoga, karate, boxing or stretching? Each will require its relevant equipment, space and mood.
  • Correct flooring. Be sure to choose the correct flooring, for example – wooden or rubber. The choice will be specific to you and, but also get opinions from gym specialists. All requirements need weighing up before deciding style, materials and function.
  • Ensure enough headroom and space for each activity. If you do not have much space, expert planning is paramount.
  • Good sound system and mood lighting. Important to well being and mood.
  • Storage. Make sure there is enough space to hide equipment and mats.
  • Added luxuries you might want to include are: Sauna, steam room, massage facillities. Now we are talking!


In my experience, I would say that a gym is a less complex project than the design and build of a cinema room, but this depends on what you need from it. Certainly, there will be fewer technical provisions required, such as large screens and control systems that are mandatory to the success of a cinematic experience. But gyms need atmospheric presence too, and a different aesthetic.

Where did the desire to own a home gym or cinema come from?

Cinema rooms and gyms have been number one on our wish lists for a good few years, but the desire has been accelerated by the pandemic. For a while, no one could enjoy the pleasures they once knew, so they adapted or added space to do this in their own home. As for gyms, some of us took to participate in-home classes and placed Peleton strategically in the bay windows of our West London homes. Some of us stretched to the addition of the fully equipped home gym or extraordinary cinema room. I know which one I would choose ... Can anyone guess?

Written by Tracey Andrews, Tracey Andrews Interiors

To read more of Tracey's work and to see the rest of our Q2/22 Magazine, click the link below to view the articles online: https://issuu.com/briklondon/docs/brik_magazine_-_2022_-_q2