Our Tips for Modern Pool House Design and Outdoor Entertaining

Interior Design

With the summer months quickly approaching, everyone will be headed out to the pool in no time. Whether you plan to entertain friends, host family or create your own retreat, a pool house is a fantastic addition to any home. It provides guests with space for an overnight stay, and allows you to lounge by the pool in style. From adding a kitchenette to keeping the interior clean with an outdoor wash area, here are our top tips for modern pool house design.


Our Top 10 Tips for Modern Pool House Design

#1 Consider Your Needs

Modern pool house design includes ensures all needs are met

Before starting the design process, think about how you want to use your pool house. Do you plan to entertain guests or house kids returning from college? Would you rent out your pool house as an apartment or use it as an escape from the main dwelling? Imagining how you could and would use the space helps you and your designer create a pool house that actually meets those needs.


#2 Blend With the Main House Unless Historic

Blend With the Main House Unless Historic

Work with a designer to mesh the design of your pool house with the style of your main house. Homeowners often prefer that the pool house feel like an extension rather than something that was added later. Ensure the pool house is integrated enough to blend with the main house, but private enough to make guests feel at ease.

However, we recommend that homeowners collaborate with a local expert when remodeling a historic house. In some cases, your city’s Historic Planning Commission might require later additions to be stylistically distinct.

If so, read through our do’s and don’t’s of historic home remodeling before designing your pool house. Reach out to an architectural historian or design firm for further guidance.


#3 Include A Kitchenette to Maximize Your Pool House’s Functionality

Include A Kitchenette to Maximize Your Pool House design Functionality

To make your pool house more functional, consider adding a small kitchenette area. When entertaining guests who are lounging by the pool, this will allow you to prepare drinks and snacks. Encourage guests to gather, or use the space exclusively for catering setup.

Unsure how you will use your pool house in the future? If hoping to eventually convert your pool house into an ADU, this will help ensure your space is compliant with residential building codes.


#4 Add a Private Patio

Include A private patio to make your modern pool house design perfect

Another modern pool house design element that allows you to flex in the future is a private patio. When entertaining guests, an enclosed outdoor lounge area can provide the perfect spot for relaxation after an eventful afternoon.

Should you choose to convert your cabana into a full-fledged guest house, a patio creates privacy for weekenders or long-term renters. Even if you have no plans to host or lease, a private patio can provide you and your partner with a romantic retreat.


#5 Keep the Interior Clean with an Outdoor Wash Area

Keep the Interior Clean with an Outdoor Wash Area

Whether a heated shower or a simple faucet, an outdoor wash area is both practical and luxurious. Not only does it keep people from tracking water inside.

When enclosed, an outdoor shower provides a tranquil moment amid all that high-energy fun in the sun. With the right design, an outdoor wash area can also create a beautiful architectural moment that ties the entire space together.


#6 Opt for Performance Fabrics

Opt for performance fabrics and ensure that tones and textures carry from main house to pool house design

When designing a pool house, performance fabrics are key. No matter how well guests dry their suits and shake off sandy shoes, your pool house furniture will be put to the test.

Quoting Catherine Kwong in an article for House Beautiful, Hadley Mendelsohn makes the case for performance fabrics. When designing modern indoor-outdoor spaces, Kwong recommends balancing “‘the client’s minimalist aesthetic with how a beach house is actually used.'” Kwong notes that a pool house should “‘not [be] a place where people are worried about tracking in sand.'”

Instead of seeming stuffy, a pool house should encourage guests to relax. At the same time, it should communicate your unique sense of style. Far from the kitschy patterns and waxed finishes of yesteryear, today’s performance fabrics speak to modern sensibilities. Simultaneously, they resist staining, tearing and so much more.

In the pool house of our Braeswood Place project, we opted for performance fabrics that capture textures and tones prevalent throughout the main house. Rather than delicate silks and unctuous leathers, we selected attractive performance fabrics that will stand the test of time. The main house is shown above on the left, while the pool house is above on the right. You can see how tones and textures carry from one space to the next.

The living room boasts gorgeous fabrics from Pindler and Pindler, Geronimo, and Wolf Gordon. With fun elements, pops of color, durable furnishings and performance fabric, this pool house design is perfect for kids and guests.


#7 Select Materials and Colors that Speak to Your Home’s Surroundings

When designing nature-inspired interiors, we always recommend selecting materials and colors that speak to your home’s surroundings. One easy way to capitalize on natural light and gorgeous views of nature is to add a glass door or floor-to-ceiling windows.

A glass door or expansive window filters natural light into the room while creating a seamless connection between indoors and outdoors. It brings beautiful views of your backyard into the living space.

Similarly, select colors inspired by your home’s environment. This can help integrate the pool house with its surroundings. Not only does this tie the house to your home. It can also make the space feel organic and grounded.


#8 Create a Multi-Purpose Space That Flexes for Different Functions

Design your pool house in a way that allows it to meet a variety of needs. After all, you might entertain friends and family one weekend. You might host a charity event the next!

We already established that a kitchen and primary suite elevate any standard pool house from cabana to apartment. To create a multi-purpose space that conforms to different functions, add a living area too.

Equip your pool house living area with a dining table that doubles as a game table. Commission custom millwork that disguises a TV until guest settle down for the evening.


#9 Build a Fireplace

add a fireplace as we did in our colonial drive project

To ensure the outdoor space surrounding your pool house can be used long after Labor Day, build a fireplace. With limewash brickwork, the fireplace in Hedwig Village‘s loggia ties its outdoor space to the main home’s interior.

At Colonial Drive, we opted for a more enclosed outdoor space (pictured above). This area creates a second living room for the main house. Furnish your pool house’s outdoor space with comfortable seating to create a cozy atmosphere.


#10 Integrate Playful Art Installations to Infuse Your Personality

Integrate Playful Art Installations to Infuse Your Personality

Last but not least, add playful art installations and install quirky tile to infuse the pool house with your personality. We encourage you to be a bit more adventurous in this space beyond the main house.

Designing a modern pool house requires careful planning and attention to detail. However, it is also a space in which you and your design team can take risks. By incorporating our tips, you can create a functional yet beautiful living space in which to relax and entertain all year round.