There are a couple of different pieces of changing room furniture that should be common to every gym, leisure centre and sports facility – the bench and the locker. In this article we’re going to present a practical guide to choosing the right lockers and benches for your changing room, and explain the differences in some of the features and materials that are frequently used.
Changing room benches
The bench is where people will sit, place their belongings and get changed into and out of their exercise kit. The benches for your changing rooms need to be strong, stable and easy to clean, with some degree of comfort. Popular materials used for bench seats are metal, laminate and timber, all of which have good strength properties and, if looked after (ie. varnished/painted/ sealed in the case of timber) should be long-lasting.
All three of these materials can be cleaned down very easily, providing a hygienic seating solution. If you are looking to achieve a particular aesthetic, then timber is a stylish choice and can be found in different shades depending on the wood stain used, and laminate is usually manufactured from a dense plastic or resin so there is a larger range of colours available.
The size of your bench will largely depend on the size of your changing room. You want to maximise the seating area, as the more people that can comfortably get changed at a time the busier your facility can get. You also need to leave enough floor space for people to get changed though, and to walk around or stretch as necessary.
Height-wise, make sure that the bench is comfortably usable for the average user of your gym – so if you are installing your benches in a primary school changing room, you’ll want lower benches than you would in a squash facility, for example. Most changing room benches are designed with space underneath them, perfect for temporary storage of bags, footwear or sports equipment, and the higher your bench the more room you will have underneath.
Depth is determined by whether you want single- or double-sided benches. Single-sided options are ideal for wall-adjacent installations, whereas double-sided ones can be used to create changing islands in larger spaces.
Width will show you how many people can use the bench at once – you need to leave enough room for people to have plenty of bench space to themselves. People who are getting changed prefer space around them, so factor this in when you are measuring up.
You can make your changing room benches even more useful by selecting models with added features like under-seat shelves, coat hooks and bag or shoe racks. This will make your changing room a better experience for those using it, and will also serve a health and safety purpose – if people are hanging up their clothes or stashing their bags or equipment carefully, then those items are not causing slip and trip hazards.
Your lockers need to be a reliable, secure storage option where gym users can feel comfortable storing their belongings. Nowadays, it’s not just a change of clothes that people need to store – most people carry expensive smartphones with them as well as jewellery, watches and car keys, all of which need to be locked away safely.
Lockers are typically either all-metal or metal-framed with wooden doors; both options should be strong and durable enough for the purpose if assembled and installed correctly. Make sure you have enough locker compartments for all your customers/students and that they are easy to keep clean. Locker doors should have hidden hinges and sit flush with the surround so that potential thieves cannot lever the door open easily.
If you want to add an extra feature for the people using your facility, consider charging lockers. These will let people charge their phones and other devices while they work out – a nice bonus benefit for them.
Lockers can be found in a large variety of colours and sizes – you should easily be able to find a combination that suits your space. Larger, wardrobe-style lockers are great for people who want to hang up their suits or winter coats, but obviously take up a lot more space than the smaller compartments. Consider a combination of sizes if possible, and choose a colour or finish that best suits the style of your business/facility.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk