Pool House Design Ideas

Beth Asaff
Pool house

If you have a pool in your backyard, consider designing a pool house to go along with it. Pool houses are a great place to entertain, change clothing or just store your pool supplies. Get some inspiration for your pool house with these design ideas.

Five Design Ideas

No matter what size your plot or your pool, you can incorporate some of these design ideas into the overall scheme. Remember that pool houses need to be utilitarian - they are meant to be used, and that their overall style and architectural design needs to match the rest of your house to maintain curb appeal.

Indoor-Outdoor Pool House

Incorporating a gazebo or pergola into the front half of your pool house is a great way to make the space do double duty. The shaded seating area in front of the pool house gives your guests a place to relax outside out of the sun, while still retaining the privacy and storage options of the pool house itself.

There are several ways you can execute this design, such as:

  • Extend the roof of the pool house forward over a patio area and either screen it in front or leave it open
  • Build a pergola off the front of the pool house itself
  • Build a patio in front of the pool house and use a retractable awning that stretches over it when desired
  • Build a traditional gazebo on the front that dies straight into the pool house itself

Consider giving the pool house sliding glass doors; with a roof or awning in front this reduces glare while the glass doors maximize the amount of light that enters the pool house. By opening the doors, you also extend the usable area to both indoors and out at the same time.

Because the pool house will have this extension in the front, it's fine for it to be slightly smaller in size overall. Remember to include space indoors for privacy and changing, as the glass doors will leave little privacy in the main area. Consider including a wet bar in the main area as well, as the addition of the patio in front will make this a prime spot.

Tiny House

Tiny pool house

Tiny houses are a popular dwelling for people that enjoy living without a lot of space. They also make excellent pool house designs. By building your pool house as a fully functional tiny house, you automatically give guests a private area to spend the night, as well as make space for storage and privacy.

To make a truly cohesive style, design the tiny house as a much smaller version of your house's exterior design. Use the same siding and roofing materials, and the same type of windows. Indoors, include a small kitchenette, lofted sleeping area, private changing area and a private sitting area for guests to retreat to in case of rain or if they decide to spend the night.

Extension of the Garden

If your pool is centered in elaborate landscaping and includes things like a rock garden or waterfall, consider making your pool house part of the retreat. This can be done in one of a few different ways:

  • Stone pool house
    Build the house like an enclosed gazebo or circular pergola on the outside
  • Build the house of field stones, rocks or other materials found nearby
  • Plant vines and flowering plants around the pool house that will help to blend it in with the rest of its surroundings

Because this type of pool house is typically smaller than average to help conceal it in the garden, its primary functions truly become a place to change and a place to store supplies. Consider adding some benches along the walkway to the door to provide some seating, and keep the interior open with storage shelves along the walls to keep the center clear for people that need to use it.

Pool Cabana

Merrimack Design Architects pool house

Going along with the idea of using the pool house as an indoor/outdoor retreat is the idea of making it into a cabana. Build a small pool house in the center of the plot, extending it backward, rather than out to the sides. On either side, put a small patio with a pergola on top. Use these areas for barbecues, seating and entertainment.

Inside the pool house, let some light in the front section using French or sliding glass doors. Make the first room available an extension of the outdoor area; lots of comfortable seating and possibly a wet bar or refrigerator.

The next room back should be able to be closed off to give guests the privacy they need. If space is available, consider putting in a small loft or other sleeping area to accommodate overnight guests, otherwise, make this a comfortable dressing/changing area with cabinets, seating and mirrors.

Pool House Barn

Pool house barn | Photo courtesy Gardner/Fox

If your home is located on a farm or in a rural area, consider building your pool house to resemble a small barn. Use large, sliding barn doors that can be pushed aside to make a wide open entertaining area just off the pool's patio.

Use this wide open space indoors to include lots of comfortable seating and amenities like refrigerators, microwaves or hot plates. Use the upper "hayloft" area as a private changing or sleeping area, accessible either from a ladder indoors, or through a set of stairs on the outside of the pool house.

Make sure the shape and style of the pool house truly fits in with its surroundings. Use weathered siding, fieldstone, barn windows and doors, hardwood wide plank flooring inside and exposed beams overhead.

Complete Your Pool Area

Pool houses should be comfortable and usable by everyone that comes over for a swim. Make sure your pool house fits in with your warm-weather lifestyle and design a pool area that meets all your needs.

Pool House Design Ideas