When the pandemic hit, David Quarles IV had no choice but to get creative. The Memphis-based interior and jewelry designer needed a place at home where he could exercise, and more specifically, teach his beloved Zumba classes. “Fitness is a big part of my day-to-day,” he explains. “So when everything shut down, I decided to turn the most underutilized part of my property into a DIY home gym.” The result? A multi-colored, motivational space that uses Golden Hour and Sublime to keep the good vibes going.
David had been using a detached carport as storage space for the past five years. Since Covid meant his usual Sunday dinners with his parents were no longer doable, the trio opted to meet outside once a week to plan a carport-to-gym makeover as a family. “We DIY’d every single thing together,” he says. “Amongst other things, my mom [Trish] installed two of the windows and drywalled, and my dad [David] did carpentry work, added insulation, and installed a whole new drainage system.”
Equal parts elevated and energizing, the look is one that David describes as “luxe locker room.” Curious how you can score a similar space at home without calling a contractor? From soothing ceiling paint ideas to handmade wall murals, he breaks down his top home gym DIY tips ahead.
Use Paint to Pep Things Up
To set the tone, David DIY’d a mural of his monogrammed logo on the wall with nothing but paint and tape. “I used a rich yellow, Golden Hour, because it’s uplifting and brightens with the sunlight,” he explains. “While the contrast of teal blue Sublime creates a striped effect that gives it an elevated varsity vibe—like high-end gym locker room branding.”
Coat the Ceiling in a Serene Hue
After a long workout, nothing feels better than stretching out on the floor and catching your breath, which is precisely why David opted to paint the ceiling of his home gym the same tranquil shade of dark teal blue he used for his wall design. “I picked Sublime because it reminded me of the color of the ocean,” he says. “When I’m laying on the ground, exhausted from a workout, I can look up and it feels like I’m gazing into smooth waters.”
Upgrade Your Gym Equipment with New Upholstery
To update the padded gym equipment without depleting his budget, David reupholstered everything in cognac-colored faux leather he sourced online. “It only cost me $76.82 to reupholster all of the pieces,” he says. “Vegan leather looks just as good as the real deal, but it’s cost-effective and kinder on the environment.”
Be Strategic About Decor
In order to maintain a sound spatial flow throughout the home gym, David employed a handful of eye-catching decor pieces, including a clean-lined mid-century modern flush mount fixture and abstract artwork by local artists.“I needed a ceiling light that would make a statement, but that I wouldn’t hit—and break—while jumping rope,” he says.
Weave in Natural Elements
To ensure the space felt comfortable and welcoming, David took care to incorporate plenty of natural materials, such as dark-stained wood trims, houseplants in hanging planters, and a slatted hardwood console cabinet, into his DIY home gym. “I love the warmth and richness of wood,” he says. “And the plants usher in a cool SoCal vibe that elevates the space.” To see more of the space, along with David’s other projects, follow him on Instagram @david.quarlesiv.