Gym lighting design: trends and examples to inspire you

While often overlooked or considered more of an afterthought, lighting is actually a crucial element of any luxury gym design. The right lighting can create a welcoming atmosphere, highlight architectural features, and enhance the visibility and safety of gym equipment and spaces.

What’s more, it allows you to create a dynamic, functional, and visually appealing gym environment that inspires and motivates your clients. Whether you’re integrating natural light, colour-changing LEDs, or smart lighting systems, choosing the right lighting can elevate your gym design to the next level.

Choosing the right lighting for your gym design

Depending on the type of gym space you are designing, you’ll want to select lighting that matches and enhances the general interior design. For example:

Natural Light

One of the most frequently used types of light in gym design is the integration of natural light due to its numerous benefits for people’s psychological and physical wellbeing.

Exposure to natural light has been shown to increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can boost people’s mood and energy levels. It has also been linked to increased productivity and performance and in a gym setting, natural light can help users feel more alert, focused, and motivated, which can lead to better workout performance and results.

Incorporating natural light in gym design can be achieved in various ways. For example, large windows, skylights or glass walls can bring in abundant natural light, providing a bright and refreshing ambience. Designers can also use reflective surfaces, such as mirrors or polished concrete, to maximise the natural light’s effect. The use of natural light can also reduce energy consumption and create a connection to the outdoors.

unnamed (4)

We used floor-to-ceiling windows to ensure an abundance of natural light for a corporate health and wellness facility.

Colour-Changing Lighting

Colour-changing lighting is a trend that has been gaining popularity in recent years, especially when it comes to modern gym lighting design.

Why? Because research has shown that different colours can elicit different emotional responses and physiological effects in people. For example, warm colours like red and orange can increase energy levels and motivation, while cool colours like blue and green can have a calming and relaxing effect. By incorporating different colours, designers can create an environment that is both energising and relaxing, depending on users’ needs.

LED lights that can change colours according to a preset program or user preferences are a great way to use this type of lighting for a more dynamic and immersive experience at your gym. Colour-changing lighting can also be used to highlight different areas or equipment and create a sense of fun and excitement.

colour changing gym design
Colour-changing lights can add visual interest and excitement to gym environments, making them more appealing and engaging for users, like in the above example for The Hut Group. 

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is a type of lighting that creates a general, low-level illumination that fills the entire gym space. It helps create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere, making it ideal for yoga studios or recovery areas, and is a great way to reduce eye strain and fatigue.

Ambient light can also support users’ circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock that regulates sleep and wake cycles. By using warm light during the evening and cooler light during the day, designers can help regulate users’ sleep-wake cycles and improve their overall wellbeing.

Incorporating ambient light in gym design can be achieved in various ways, such as using recessed lighting, pendant lights, or track lighting. Designers can also use lighting control systems, such as dimmers or timers, to adjust or dim the light levels and create different atmospheres throughout the day.

This type of lighting is often used in combination with other lighting types, such as task lighting or accent lighting.

Ambient light can be used to create different moods and atmospheres, such as a calming and relaxing environment for yoga classes, which is exactly what we did for Fidelity Investments International.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is a lighting scheme designed to provide focused illumination to specific areas or equipment such as weight-lifting areas, cardio machines, or stretching areas. This type of lighting is essential for safety and efficiency, as it helps users to see clearly and avoid accidents. Task lighting can also be integrated into machines, such as treadmills or ellipticals, or installed as overhead or directional lights.

Task lighting can also support users’ performance and accuracy during workouts. By illuminating specific areas, such as weight lifting or plyometric areas, users can see their movements more clearly and perform their exercises with greater accuracy. This can lead to better results and a more productive workout.

By illuminating specific areas, task lighting can help direct people’s attention to certain parts of a space, as we did in the above example for GRNDHOUSE

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is used to highlight architectural features or specific elements within the gym space. This type of lighting can help draw the eye to specific areas or equipment, or highlight artwork, statues, or architectural details to help create a sense of luxury and sophistication.

It can also be used to create a focal point in the gym, directing users’ attention to a particular area or feature. For example, designers can use accent lighting to highlight a motivational quote or a fitness challenge board, inspiring users to achieve their fitness goals.

In a similar fashion, accent lighting is often used to showcase a gym’s logo or brand colours. This lighting technique can help reinforce a gym’s brand identity and create a memorable experience for users.

accent lighting gym design
Designers can use accent lighting to highlight a motivational quote similar to what we did above in our CA Ventures student gym design

Smart Lighting

Smart lighting systems are becoming increasingly popular in gym design. These systems allow gym managers or users to control the lighting through a smartphone app or voice command. Smart lighting can be programmed to adjust automatically according to the time of day, occupancy, or user preferences, making it a convenient and energy-efficient solution to help you save on energy bills.

It also allows gym owners to customise and adjust the lighting according to their needs. For example, smart lighting can adjust the lighting levels and colour temperature for yoga classes, creating a more relaxing and calming atmosphere. Similarly, smart lighting can adjust the lighting levels and brightness for high-intensity workouts, creating a more energised environment.

Smart lighting allows gym managers to adjust the lighting levels and create different atmospheres throughout the day like in the above example for First Light cycling studio

zynk Design: luxury gym designers with over two decades of experience

Before customers engage with your gym, they will form an opinion about your brand from its visual representation, such as your brand identity or interior design. Choosing the right lighting depending on the type of space you are looking to create will help set you apart from the competition and leave a lasting positive first impression.

At zynk Design, we’re proud to have been creating brand experiences through creative interior and graphic design for more than two decades.

Take a look at some of our previous gym design work and sign up for our newsletter below to stay on top of gym and spa design trends.