Interior Design Trends in Climbing Gyms: Walltopia’s Top Picks

Wip Climbing in Courtenay, British Columbia. All photos courtesy of Walltopia
Wip Climbing in British Columbia
Wip Climbing in Courtenay, British Columbia. All photos courtesy of Walltopia

As the climbing industry evolves each year, so do the target clientele of the climbing gyms and the climbing wall design styles. With the highly advanced production technologies of today, it has never been easier to have more colors, patterns or custom prints on walls. It is in your hands to experiment with new ideas and explore unconquered territories. The possibilities are almost endless.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) downtime can be used to dream up and start designing your new facility. Walltopia even offers the option to invest in the design only, without further commitment, and see your gym come to life virtually.

To help you get inspired, Walltopia explored some of the current trends in interior design and their reflection in the climbing industry. Not surprisingly, they witnessed a strong overlap between the big interior trends of today and the styles of beloved climbing gyms that recently opened.

Below are Walltopia’s top 6 interior design trends to consider for your climbing gym project.

1. Natural wood

Natural wood has always been around in interior design, with dips and soars in popularity over the years. People enjoy having it in their homes because it adds a cozy feel to the living area. At the same time, quality wood elements bring elegance and sophistication to the interior.

When it comes to climbing walls, natural wood was the standard more than 15 years ago. The coating techniques of today were underdeveloped and that was all the industry was capable of then. When technology enabled the making of bright, colorful walls with improved texture, the wood look was abandoned, living on only as a nostalgic memory of the past.

However, in recent times the wood look has been making a return and becoming hugely popular in climbing gyms again. Whether used by itself or as a signature element of a multi-color design, it continues to make climbers feel at home.

Hangar 4, A Coruña, Spain
Idrottshuset, Vaxjo, Sweden

Interior design trends in climbing: natural wood at Hangar 4
Hangar 4 in A Coruña, Spain

2. High contrast

In interior design, high contrast is fresh, simple and timeless. It gives an extra-edgy feel to an interior space. And in the opinion of experts, it’s about to make a major comeback.

In climbing gyms, high contrast walls are awe-inspiring canvases, especially when combined with bright-colored holds. It’s a style that keeps looking modern, even ten years after installing a wall.

Central Rock Gym, Randolph, MA, USA
WIP Climbing, Courtenay, BC, CAN

Interior design trends in climbing: high contrast at Central Rock Randolph
Central Rock Gym in Randolph, Massachusetts

3. Bold details

In recent years both interior and fashion designers have enthusiastically played with textures, shapes and colors. It takes excellent design skills to get the balance right when dealing with so many elements.

With climbing walls, bold details always seem to go a long way since they give the opportunity to proudly stand out. In fact, they feature in some of the most impressive and adored gyms around the world.

First Ascent Humboldt Park, Chicago, IL, USA

Interior design trends in climbing: bold details at First Ascent Humboldt Park
First Ascent Humboldt Park in Chicago, Illinois

4. Teal as a signature accent

Teal is everywhere lately, both in fashion and interior design. And it’s not just another whim of the day. Teal is a preferred signature color because it creates a calm, refreshing atmosphere wherever it is used, especially when combined with neutrals and wood.

Teal is currently one of the trendiest colors in climbing gyms, and Walltopia hopes it stays that way for a long time.

HangOn, Lanzarotte, Canary Islands
Touchstone Cliffs of Id, Culver City, CA, USA

Interior design trends in climbing: teal as a signature accent at Touchstone Cliffs of Id
Touchstone Cliffs of Id in Culver City, California

5. Soft colors as the new neutral

For many years interior design focused on neutrals, with just a hint of bright color here and there for a change. But prevalent soft colors are coming back and making a statement. Combining a few pastels in a thoughtful manner can make a design stand out like no other.

In the past there weren’t many gyms that embraced soft colors, but today that number is on the rise. After all, bright colors sure do capture the eye; however, they’re not the only way to win a climber’s heart. Soft colors provide a canvas for routesetters to unleash their creativity and play with the active colors of holds and volumes.

Sharma Climbing, Madrid, Spain
Iris Boulders, Canning Vale, Australia

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6. Designs that tell a story

In interior design, consumers are shifting away from the so-called “fast-furniture”: furniture that is cheap and just comfortable enough to have around. The reason is because it’s so overused that it loses a sense of individuality. People are willing to invest in higher quality furniture that reflects their personality and story.

The same is true for climbing gyms. The ones climbers can’t get enough of don’t have a standard design, and they don’t just follow the same old trends. Their designs are narratives in and of themselves, stories that make climbers feel like they belong.

Sender One Playa Vista, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Indoorwall Leganes, Madrid, Spain

Invest in a Climbing Wall Design

It’s natural to want to postpone big commitments and investments at this time. But you can start with smaller steps, like imagining what your gym could look like.

Walltopia offers the option to invest in the climbing gym design only, without further commitments on the business end. You can visualize your future gym, see it take shape, and go for a virtual walk (now everything’s virtual, right). At a later time, when this period passes and you feel safe enough to dive in, you can take it further by signing a production contract with them, or you can just leave it there if you change your mind.

Follow the link here to fill out Walltopia’s form. They will get back to you with an estimation for the design only. If the budget suits you, Walltopia can start working on making your ideas come to life.


This story was paid for and produced by the sponsor and does not necessarily represent the views of the Climbing Business Journal editorial team.