By Stefanie Waldek published
Installing a pool and searching for smart pool house ideas to go with it? Clever move. It's the best way to take your backyard pool to the next level.
Pool houses are surprisingly versatile structures than can be customized to suit any needs. In some cases, a pool house might be nothing more than a simple shed to store your pool supplies. In others, it’s a full-blown guest house with electricity and plumbing that will perfectly complement your backyard pool ideas. And, of course, there are plenty of options in between, such as a space that includes an outdoor kitchen and dining area for entertaining.
If you’re contemplating building a pool house on your property, here are our top pool house ideas to get your creative juices flowing — plus some answers to some of the biggest questions you might have about the structures.
1. Go big with a two-story structure
If you’re tight on space (but not on budget), consider building up to provide yourself with additional square footage, both indoors and out. This two-story pool house in California provides all the comforts of a guest house—plus a roof deck for sunning or evening entertaining.
Don't forget, there's more inspiration for your outdoor space in our backyard ideas feature too.
2. Create an outdoor room
In larger backyards where the pool might be some distance from the main house, you might want to consider including a kitchen and/or bar area in your pool house ideas. It means you and your guests won't have to keep heading back into the main house every time you want to grab a drink or something to eat.
This stunning pool house creates a fun, social space entirely suited to an outdoor, pool environment. There's a large bar island with seating for up to eight, plus built-in appliances such as a drinks fridge, a dishwasher and fridge freezer means its fully equipped for outdoor entertaining. There's also plenty of floor-to-ceiling cupboards to store items such as the cushions for the pool furniture.
Check out our outdoor bar ideas for more inspiration.
3. Dazzle with a modern house
For those with bold design tastes, strikingly modern pool house ideas, like this one in New York, is the way to go. Utilize horizontal lines to keep the silhouette contemporary, then play with textures (like the organic-looking privacy screens) to add more visual intrigue.
In this pool house, the main structure holds a wet bar for entertaining, while the sleek overhanging roof structure ensures there's plenty of shade from the sun (and any rain showers) when needed.
Head over to our modern garden ideas for more ways to give your outdoor space a contemporary touch.
4. Make it part of the landscaping
If you don't want your pool house ideas to dominate the space, look at ways of blending it into the landscape. In this project, the width of the pool house matches that of the inground outdoor pool, ensuring that the beautiful surroundings remain the main feature of the garden.
Adding timber structures either side of the pool house help to ground it in its surroundings, as well as creating a visual link with the classic sun loungers next to the pool. Like this idea for your space? Why not add a few of the best climbing plants to grow up the structure and create beautiful color and scent in the space too?
5. Build a storage space
Not all pool house ideas need to be over-the-top—they can also be purely functional as a storage space. 'This is a great place to store everything you need for your pool, from kids' toys, floaties, pool cleaning supplies, and much more, say the team at Best in Backyards. 'Because pool cleaning chemicals can be hazardous, it is nice to have them away from your house in a storage area that your kids and pets won't have easy access to.'
Find more ways to keep your backyard clear of clutter with our garden storage ideas.
6. Go rustic with a farmhouse style pool
Whether or not you actually live on a farm, a farmhouse-style pool house creates a bucolic setting in your backyard.
This structure has barn-like vibes with its silhouette, plus design details like floral patterns, shiplap-esque walls, and square shed windows. We also love the fireplace inside—what better place to warm up on a cool summer evening?
Pretty designs like this would also work well with traditional cottage garden ideas for a pretty, romantic vibe.
7. Rinse off with an outdoor shower
If you’re opting to splurge on plumbing, be sure to add a powder room inside your pool house. You don’t want anyone dripping all over your main house as they run inside to take care of business!
But consider adding an outdoor shower, too, like in this California pool house. That way your guests can quickly rinse off before and after a dip in the pool. Your main house will definitely thank you for it.
8. Use retractable glass for an indoor/outdoor space
If the name of your game is a good party, use retractable glass walls to open up your kitchen and bar space to the pool deck. These kinds of indoor-outdoor spaces work equally well in warm climates as well as four-season climates—when winter rolls around, simply leave the walls closed to keep the heat inside!
Head over to our outdoor kitchen ideas for more ways to create your dream party space.
9. Keep it classic with coastal chic flair
Wicker furniture, shutters, and striped upholstery—this loungey pool house is the definition of coastal cool thanks to its stylish garden furniture ideas. And what pairs better with a pool area than beachy vibes?
Pro tip: keep the cost of your pool house down by making it more pavilion-style and skipping extras like plumbing and electricity. You’ll still have an incredible lounge area, just at a more affordable price.
10. Combine it with an outdoor oven
For relaxed alfresco cooking, it's hard to beat the appeal of a woodfired oven, so why not combine one with your pool house ideas?
We love how this simple timber-clad structure makes the built-in oven the focal point of the space, while the dark blue backdrop suits the aquatic setting. Adding one or two of the best outdoor bean bags to the setting keeps the vibe super casual. Freshly cooked pizzas by the pool anyone?
Not got the room for a large built-in oven like this? Head over to our guide to the best pizza oven to find one to suit your space.
11. Design a spa-like retreat
Add some daybeds into a cozy pool house and you’ve got the perfect place for an afternoon snooze, an ideal reading nook, or even a spot for an afternoon cocktail—you get the idea.
In this Floridian pool house, the antique fireplace inside the structure becomes the focal point for the entire pool area. It's a brilliant way to introduce outdoor heating ideas to the space, ensuring you'll always have somewhere warm to relax after a dip in the pool.
12. Opt for alfresco dining
If you’re big into fabulous lunch or dinner parties, a pool house with a dining room is a must. Ideally, you’d have a full kitchen in the space, but if you need to find some places to cut cost, you can stick to some simple bar ideas and a fridge.
You can also consider putting one of the best gas grills in nearby if you don’t want to trek all the way into your main house to use the kitchen.
13. Go for the full guest house
If the sky is the limit for your budget, and you have the space for it, an all-out guesthouse is the way to go. 'Pool houses are also great places for guests to change, grab towels, and place their things,' say the team at Best in Backyards. 'If you are planning to have guests over often to enjoy your pool with you, a pool house makes your life so much easier.' Add a bedroom if you plan on having frequent overnight guests who might want their own space.
What are the benefits of having a pool house?
In a nutshell, pool house ideas are great for having extra space. But it’s up to you to determine what kind of space you need. 'Having a dedicated area for people to change attire allows for the larger outdoor space to be enjoyed more flexibly without the hassle of pragmatic coordination efforts—just arrive and have fun,' says Grant Saller of Four Brothers Design+Build.
'With a dedicated structure comes the potential for anchored utilities, storage, and so many other combinations of amenities. Last but not least, the structure will help create an outdoor room beyond its own walls, a visual termination, or a surprising oasis.'
What should you put in a pool house?
Whatever your heart desires! If you’re opting for an entertainment area that will be perfect for garden party ideas, think about what type of gatherings you’ll have. 'Some examples include game tables—pool, table tennis, etc—plus a lounge area as well,' says Chris Brandon of Brandon Architects. 'You can expand into a secondary living room with sofas, chairs, and a large TV, or even a bar space or kitchenette.'
'There's no limit to the supporting roles a pool house can play next to the enjoyment of the pool itself, so beyond basic needs for organization, incorporating a two-piece bath with a shower or rinse-station somewhere nearby is preferable,' says Grant Saller of Four Brothers Design+Build. 'Sheltered furnishings, appliances to support a kitchenette or BBQ event, audio/video, fireplace, and even putting greens have come through the requests we've had in client discussions.'
Want to go even bigger with your pool house ideas? You could design a full guest house with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room. Then on the opposite end of the spectrum, you could simply create storage for towels, pool toys, or other pool supplies.
How much should you budget for your pool house ideas?
This is the million-dollar question—but you definitely don’t need to spend a million dollars on your pool house ideas. 'Ten to 20 percent of your overall pool budget usually works,' says Chris Brandon. Typically, that will get you a more simplistic structure for storage or basic entertaining.
According to SPATA, for a basic timber construction built alongside an outdoor pool that can be used to house the pool plant room equipment and a simple changing room etc, you should budget from £2,000 to £7,000+ ($1,500 to $5,000).
If you’re going for the big-ticket item of a multi-bedroom guest house with all the bells and whistles, you’re going to need considerably more money. 'A starting budget of $250,000 is appropriate for a big structure with electrical and plumbing,' says Grant Saller of Four Brothers Design+Build.
It might seem like a major investment—and it is—but it might all pay off in the end. 'A pool house will increase the property value of your home. This can help you when you go to sell your house,' says the Best in Backyards team.
Want more inspiration for your plot? Check out our landscaping ideas for more ways to add value to your space.
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