10 beautiful pool house ideas to complete your dream back yard

From cozy outdoor living rooms to self-contained guest houses, our pool house ideas are sure to inspire you to add this luxurious addition to your pool

Pool house with dining table and decking
(Image credit: Unique Homestays)

Dreaming of gorgeous, sun-soaked pool house ideas? Aren't we all. Whether you are thinking of install one, updating your existing one, or just want to peruse some gorgeous space with gorgeous interiors, our pool house designs are sure to provide all the inspiration you need.

As luxurious as they may seem, pool houses are a really practical addition to an outside space, at the very least they provide some stylish storage for your floats and pool towels, and at the very most they can be a fully equipped guest house, adding extra bedrooms and extra value to your home. And ofcourse there's plenty of designs in between from indoor/outdoor living rooms, complete with firepits to home bars that will upgrade any party. 

'Not only do they look luxurious, but pool houses are the ideal solution to guarantee swimming all year round. Whether you enjoy your pool as a fun way to exercise, as a serene home-spa, or a place for the kids to play during the school holidays, pool houses allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds; the full stimulation to the senses that an outdoor swimming pool affords, combined with the comfort and year-round reliability of an enclosed space. A pool house or enclosure will allow you to comfortably enjoy your pool and landscape at any time of year, making for an endless swim season.' says Emma Worboys, Designer at Westbury Garden Rooms.

So if you are looking for beautiful ideas and practical information on adding a pool house we have you covered...

1. Create a seamless flow between indoor and out

No matter what style your pool house, whether it's super modern or has a more rustic style, you want that effortless flow between inside and out. You want the pool to feel like an extension of the pool house and opting for plenty of glazing will do just that. 

Retractable glass doors that either fold or slide to create an expanse of open space will blur the lines between the inside space and the poolside making it easy to go between the two – ideal if you like to use the space for entertaining. 

'With such a large portion of glazing, pool houses are prone to over-heating in the warmer months. By considering the orientation of your pool house in relation to the direction of the sun and choosing a building with a semi-glazed roof (rather than fully glazed), will make it easier to maintain the proper climate-controlled environment inside.' continues Emma.

2. Extend a pool house with a covered patio

al fresco dining area patio

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

The pool house of this luxurious holiday home in Portugal is double in size as a covered terrace spans the length, again blurring the boundaries between indoor and out and providing space that are still shady and cool but open for easy pool access. 

beautiful holiday home

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

The spacious terrace has room for a dining space, a laid-back living room and a games area. Inside there is a kitchen and bar so there is no need to go back to the main house.

al fresco dining area

(Image credit: Fernando Guerra)

This space may be huge, but even if you are working with less square footage there are still plenty of pool house ideas to get inspired by. The rustic style for one, works perfectly to create the relaxed vibe you want with a pool house. Lots of textures – rattan, wood, seagrass – create a very on-trend look that would be simple to replicate in any space.  And having lighting installed on the terrace really ups that outdoor living feel as well as adding that that beachy, boho aesthetic. 

3. Give a pool house a rustic feel with panelling

Pool house with swinging chair and view over the pool

(Image credit: Architect: Randell Design Group as architects | Photographer: Adelina Iliev)

This light and airy pool house designed by Randell Design Group has been turned into a guest house, complete with a compact kitchen, a bedroom, bathroom and a sauna. The bleach wooden paneling and the lofty vaulted ceilings give the space a open, airy feel, and works beautifully paired with the modern rustic interiors. 

Pool house with wooden panneling

(Image credit: Architect: Randell Design Group as architects | Photographer: Adelina Iliev)

Even the extractor fan in the kitchen has been clad in the same wood so as not to interrupt the aesthetic. The dark wood of the kitchen provides a nice contrast to all the pale hues but the natural texture still fits with the laid-back vibe. 

And again there is that flow between the indoor space and the poolside, with the bi-fold doors and the flooring that mimics that of the pool deck

4. Choose a serene color scheme 

Pool house with bi fold doors to open up the sides and blue and white decor

(Image credit: Joe Fletcher)

This pool house design in this expansive California home makes a strong case for sticking with the classic blue and white color scheme. It might be an obvious just but this combination is a classic for a reason, and paired with some soft greys, pale woods and lots of lovely natural light it sets the perfect, serene, calming mood for a pool house. 

Pool house with bi fold doors to open up the sides and blue and white decor

This already spacious pool house (there's a kitchen and bedroom too) is expanded with the adjoining pergola, which provides the perfect shady spot for alfresco dining.

5. Make a pool house a space for guests

Traditional, cottage style pool house

(Image credit: Unique Homestays)

If you have the space, be inspired by this pool house idea and double up a pool house as a guest house. This pool house is a self-contained space, with two bedrooms, a bathroom and an open plan kitchen and living room. 

Traditional, cottage style pool house

(Image credit: Unique Homestays)

Inside, there's a really cozy warming space with timber-clad walls and plenty of rustic country touches. Even when not being used to host guests, having this kind of complete setup is ideal for prepping food and drinks without having to be constantly going to and from the main house. 

Traditional, cottage style pool house

(Image credit: Unique Homestays)

This cottage-style pool house, with its shiplap, paneled walls and cascading rambling plants blends into the landscape. When planning your pool house, do think about how it will sit with its surroundings and the main house. An uber-modern pool house can create a stylish contrast with a period property, or you might want to be more sympathetic to the original building and design something that looks like it's always stood there, as can be seen with this pool house.

'A well-designed pool house will echo the architectural style of the main house, helping it to harmonize in with the other surrounding buildings, rather than looking like it does not belong. The architectural relationship between a pool house and its surrounding environment is integral to achieving a luxury appearance.' says  Emma Worboys, Designer at Westbury Garden Rooms.

6. Choose a stylish beach theme 

Pool house with white interior and surf board decor

(Image credit: Michelle Gerson Interiors)

The pool house of this Hampton's beach house is a lesson in laid-back beach house style. Zero 'Life's better at the beach' signs, no jars of dried beach creatures, just a simple fresh color palette and a subtle nod to the sea. 

Interior of Modern Zen pool house

(Image credit: Michelle Gerson Interiors)

Surfboards adorn the shiplap paneled walls and the blue and white scheme gives the rooms a fresh, holiday feel, just what you want in a pool house. 

7. Choose pool house with a small footprint 

Pool house with sliding doors onto patio

(Image credit: Unique Homestays)

Not all pool houses need to be equipped with fully functioning kitchens and sleep spaces. If you haven't got lots of room to play with or just want a small space to provide some shade and store poolside refreshments then a small pool house may be all you need.

And small doesn't mean you have to compromise on style. Check out this chic modern pool house, designed to contrast the period style of the main building. By opting for sliding glass doors, the space inside feels much larger and more open too. 

8. Be playful with your pool house design 

Pool house with dining table and decking

(Image credit: Unique Homestays)

Decorative arched windows and doors reclaimed vintage Morrocan furniture and an elephant... not all pool houses need be about glass walls or shiplap cladding. If you are designing a pool house from scratch, have fun with the look and think about shapes and styles that are going to invoke a vacation feel. 

You want your pool house to feel like a retreat so be inspired by your trips and bring those exotic vibes to your pool house, opt for a Meditterean feel with white stone walls, verandas and climbing plants, or go for a classic coastal New England feel with column and French doors. 

9. Incorporate a kitchen into a pool house design 


(Image credit: Bess Friday)

Even if you don't plan to use your pool house as a space for guests, having a kitchen, no matter how small will make it a really functional space. You can prep and cook meals without having to leave the pool area, plus you can store drinks so everything is really easy to access. If the pool house is far away from your main house, consider adding a dining table or a kitchen island with seating so you can come straight from the poolside.

10. Make it a snug

(Image credit: Vandiver L Chaplin)

As well as providing great access to the pool, pool houses can make for the perfect informal living space away from the main house. Ideal if you have teenagers or want to create a living room with a more snug, relaxed feel.

(Image credit: Vandiver L Chaplin)

Be inspired by this pool house idea and add deep comfy seating, plenty of cozy textures and make the space a snug family room. If you have the space double it as a games room too. 

What does every pool house need?

What to include in a pool house will depend on the size and your budget. A pool house could just be a place to store chemicals and inflatables, and in that case all you would need would be some storage and potentially electricity if you want the space to function perfectly.

But if you want to use your pool house more as a space to relax, dry off, have guests over to enjoy, then you'll want to include a seating area, with sofas and armchairs, maybe a coffee table to perch drinks. Treat it like a living room, you want it to feel cozy and inviting, so you could also add in a fire for cooler evenings and air conditioning for the warmer months. 

You also can consider adding a shower room so you can swill off after being in the pool and a toilet for convenience. And of course, a kitchen is always handy if you have the space, even just a fridge and a prep area would mean you could store drinks. 

What can a pool house be used for?

'A bespoke pool house will have one of two functions, either to house the pool itself to make it suitable for year-round use, or to sit beside the pool to contain changing rooms, showers, and pump rooms. Ultimately, your pool house should be a luxurious hideaway designed with style and taste in mind.' says xxx

'A pool house is certainly an investment so it makes sense to choose a durable design that caters for all of your needs.' advises Emma.

What's the difference between a pool house and a pool cabana?

The main difference between a pool house and a cabana is that a cabana tends to only have three walls (or less). It's a more open structure that's designed to provide shade and shelter but doesn't include all the amenities you would find in a pool house. Think outdoor living room rather than a small house in your backyard. 

Hebe Hatton

Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.