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Location and Spin Studio Decor: Advice From Renowned Fitness Center Designer

Corey Loehr
April 27, 2018
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When you decide to open up your own spin studio, it’s important to pick the right location and decor to make your space stand out. In 2016 there were nearly 1,000 spin studios across the US with more opening up every day. While the rising popularity of spin studios is great for business, it also means that you are going to have a lot of competition. In order to have your studio stand out from the crowd, you need to think about what makes you different. Are you in a prime location? Is your market different in some way? Does your studio have a look and feel to it that can’t be found anywhere else? Finding your studio’s “it” factor early on in the process of opening one will be essential to your business growing exponentially down the road.We spoke with master fitness center interior designer Cuoco Black about what it takes to open up a stunning fitness studio. Read on to find out.

Picking the Right Location for Your Spin Studio

If you’re trying to open up your first spin studio in the Upper West Side in New York City, home to the first SoulCycle studio, competitors vying for the same members may feel impossibly tough. It will be difficult to draw in customers from places where spin has already established a presence. Feelings are hard to quantify, though. One exercise you can do to standardize your assessment of a given location is to use publicly available data on population density per square mile. Taking this information into account will help draw objective conclusions on the total addressable market of a region.Opening up your studio in a small town or suburb away from the hustle and bustle of the big city can give you an opportunity to reach an audience that is often left out of the latest trends. On the flip side, opening your studio in an up-and-coming area of a large city is an optimal choice as well. You want to be able to market to those leaving work, or to those that live nearby.Consider the businesses and companies around your spin studio. Is the location for your spin studio next to a trendy cafe, a juice bar, or a fitness-focused clothing store? Those could all potentially work as a business opportunity. Are you in a location next to a steakhouse, a liquor store, or a high-traffic shopping strip? You’ll want to establish a brand that represents wellness, happiness, and healthy competition. Make sure where you decide to open makes sense for the company you want to run. Your area and the exterior of your space will say a lot about your business to first time and potential customers. Most people do judge a book by its cover. Don’t forget to stay visible. Is your studio easy to see from the road? Are there adequate parking spots to accommodate an entire class, or will customers have to park elsewhere and walk? Does your space have enough room to hold a full class’ worth of bikes? What about room to expand and grow your studio if you want to in the future? These are the type of things you should be pondering before opening a spin studio.

Spin Studio Decor

If you’re already a club owner and are looking to expand, adding to your gym is a great way to add immense value to your club. If you have the room for the right number of spin bikes, ventilate the space properly, and can install TV/music hookups, you could have a spin studio on your hands.The design of your studio can make or break your customers’ experience in the class. To set up your space for success, think about what you want your clients to feel when they walk into one of your classes. For most spin studios, their vibe evokes excitement. Get your guests pumped up, energetic, and like they’re at a party. This is opposed to a more relaxed form of exercise like restorative yoga.According to Black, one of the key factors is recognizing the "better sameness" in the industry, and building from there.Black expanded on the idea that most of your clients will have a preliminary thought behind what they believe a spin studio should look like. Some dimness, with club-like LED lights. According to Black, it's something like a formula. He mentioned the importance of recognizing this but creating a concept that is unique to you and your brand."We ask our clients to pick key interests in their lives. Star Wars fan? Do you love fine art? We look for sources of inspiration of a concept," Black said. "Most of the time what happens is people are inspired by Hollywood film. We like to integrate iconography, colors, lighting, and architectural geometries as an example. That allows you to integrate client's logo colors and graphic design into the space."In order to create this feeling for your clients, you need to consider certain aspects of decor and design when crafting the theatrical stage that is your spin studio. Your goal in designing your spin studio is to make your clients forget that what they’re doing is, well, painful, sweaty, and hard work.

The 80/20 Rule of Spin Studios

One of Black's key focuses for designing world-renowned fitness centers is spending 80% of your budget on 20% of your fitness space. Think of ways you can truly wow your customer. This will probably not include something your customer won't notice you spent a ton of money on – like lockers or toilets.Put your money where you can see it, Black says."I like to make one or two big architectural statements," Black said. "This could be a bright podium that’s illuminated behind the instructor. Invest 80% of the construction into 20% of the space."Decide what would truly wow a customer when walking into your spin studio. Evaluate the cost-effective options, and build something that grabs attention immediately.

It’s All in the Details

How your clients interact with your space is the most important way to build brand loyalty. Below are a few vital details to consider when picking the right decor for your spin studio.

  • Lighting—This is a detail you shouldn’t overlook. Lighting sets the mood and can give your clients an exceptional spin experience. Install a bright, overhead lighting option for cleaning and repairing your equipment, warmer overhead LED lights with a dimmer, and wall lighting that you can control with a remote. Always try to incorporate your brand colors into your lighting, too.
  • TV Screens—Having TV screens in your studio is a great way to offer video rides or performance tracking for your clients. Position the TVs where riders won’t have to crane their necks too far up or down. Having your TVs at eye level, tilted towards the floor helps with ergonomics while biking, and the imminent glare.

Want to encourage some healthy competition? Integrate your spin bikes’ software to the TVs. Then, show how many calories each spinner has burned, how far they’ve traveled, and their explosiveness.

  • Sound System—This is what makes the magic happen. Having a state-of-the-art sound system is the best way to engage your spin classes and create a fun and energetic atmosphere. Some sound system essentials include speakers with individual volume controls, a small subwoofer, and waterproof microphones for your instructors.

According to Black, make sure to test your speakers against additional options."Don’t just hire someone and throw speakers in – you might have reverberation problems."Be sure to check out the possibility of purchasing RGB DMX controls. Have you ever been somewhere were the music synched with the lights, amping up the experience for you and guests? This is worth an investment, according to Black.Additionally, have fun making your own playlists – or subscribe to music services like Spotify or iTunes where you can save automatically created playlists aligned by beat per minute – perfect for workouts.

  • Flooring—This might not be the first thing you think of when picking the right decor for your spin studio, but the flooring of your studio is very important. While most people will automatically be drawn towards concrete or hardwood, keep in mind that floors will quickly become slippery with sweat and hard to walk on in cleats. Thinking of installing carpet? Back away... this can quickly become sopped with sweat and is difficult to clean effectively.

Some of Black's favorite flooring choices for spin studios? Choosing a bright, vibrant, rubberized option. Cool flooring is essential – but remember the slipperiness factor, and make sure it is easy to clean and maintain.

  • Ceilings– Grab a customer's attention quickly with high, elevated ceilings. Industrial-style ceilings can make a small, tight studio feel open and airy. Remove the 2x2 ceiling tiles to create an open-air effect. Black noted an inexpensive yet engaging way to wow customers could be through painting your ceiling and corresponding wall the same color. This color should compliment or match your brand colors.

When picking out the right location and decor for your spin studio, start with an original concept that you love. With the right space and attention to detail, you can create an immersive experience that will leave your members wanting more."It’s not easy. It’s complex. But that’s how you stay distinctive," Black said.Eager for more spin studio tips? Check back next week to learn how to make a brand experience your clients will never forget.If you’re a Spin Studio owner tired of old studio management software that’s constantly raising prices without increasing value, then talk to OneFitStop, where their modern spin studio software platform is constantly evolving to meet the needs of growing studio businesses.

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