Before and After: A Stylish But Unused Dining Room Gets a New Life as a DIY Exercise Space

published Mar 28, 2022
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There’s nothing like staying at home for two years to inspire change in a home. The pandemic was a catalyst for many home projects — like converting closets into offices or creating distinct meditation spaces to unplug after working from home.

It also showed people what rooms they are and aren’t getting use out of — and even before COVID-19, formal dining rooms were losing their popularity in favor of more functional hybrid spaces.

This is all to say that it might seem like a bold choice, but it’s actually not surprising at all to learn that one renter, Justin Miller (@miztermiller), swapped his dining area for an in-home cycling studio.

“I wasn’t using the dining room as it was,” Justin explains. “The table was too small; the benches were too big. I also started working from home and wanted a dedicated place to work out.”

His goal for the new space? A motivating, designated workoutfrom-home spot. “I wanted that section to be its own world, separate from the rest of the apartment,” he says.

To achieve this, he sewed and installed floor-to-ceiling black curtains on three walls of the dining room. “Cutting them to length took longer than actually sewing them,” he recalls.

The rest of the changes in the space are straightforward but super fun: Justin swapped his light fixture for a disco ball, added LED lights to the space in true spin class style, and applied a “Mizter Spin” logo on the wall where some renter-friendly faux green board and batten once was. “The green wall was … never really meant to be a permanent solution,” Justin says. He created his new logo in Photoshop, had a peel-and-stick decal printed, and adhered it to the existing gray wall.

“The huge logo on the wall is ridiculous and over the top, but so am I, so it works,” Justin admits. “I mean the mini fridge for water bottles and towels, the disco ball, the LEDs, it’s all ridiculous! But it all cost less than how much I was spending on two months of spin class, so it was worth it to me.”

Justin estimates his total cost for the project was somewhere between $800 and $1,000, not including the exercise bike itself, and his low-cost project gives him luxe workout class vibes.

“When I go in there to ride the bike, it feels like I am at a fancy West Hollywood spin studio, when I am really just in my home,” he says.

Justin predicts that he will eventually convert the space back to a dining room, which will be easy to do given the renter-friendly curtains and peel-and-stick logo — but for now, this corner of his home makes exercise fun. “It was a good way to get into the habit of working out from home!” he says.

His advice to all the homeowners and renters out there? “I am a big advocate for using your home however suits you best,” he says. “I wasn’t using my dining room, so I changed it into a room I would use. Don’t be afraid to use a room differently than what it is intended for! Life is too short to not have fun and break the rules here and there!”

He says he’s extremely proud of the positive online response to his dining room to spin studio conversion. “I had a lot of people say I had inspired them to make a change to their apartment to make it more conducive to their everyday life,” Justin says. “I think inspiring people to make their lives better is the coolest part.”

Feeling motivated to create a home gym in your space — or at least to work out from home? Check out this bright and colorful home gym setup in Memphis or this bold black and white one in Raleigh for some major exercise and design inspo.