Designing the perfect pool house

After the warm Easter weekend, we’re starting to look forward to the summer with long sunny days and balmy evenings spent outside. When the temperatures start to climb, few things are better than a relaxing dip in an outdoor swimming pool. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and investing in a pool house, you’ll find that it can be tricky to get the right balance between style and functionality. Here’s our guide to designing the perfect pool house…

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 house changing rooms, showers, and pump rooms. Ultimately, your pool house should be a luxurious hideaway designed with style and taste in mind, but it still needs to work as a functional and practical space. A pool house is certainly an investment so it makes sense to choose a durable design that caters for all of your needs.

Not too hot, not too cold…

Unlike other buildings, a pool house can get very warm and humid very quickly. The benchmark is a smartly designed pool house that invites you to relax and unwind after a session in the cooling water. That’s not going to be the case if you start to feel uncomfortable and muggy the second you walk through the door.

Pool house with three sets of bi-folding doors open all the walls

As a contrast, they can become very chilly and damp in the winter too. All the moisture can have a damaging effect on the structure, meaning that the pool house will start to look shabby and need repairing after a few years. For these reasons, air handling and temperature control is the number one consideration when designing a pool house to ensure a comfortable environment and eliminate condensation.

Considering humidity issues at every stage of the design will ensure that the building will maintain a quality finish for years to come. Glazing with silicone, and using the correct paint is essential to stop the building degrading over time. All the décor inside the pool house should be suitable for withstanding moisture and higher temperatures, from the flooring to the furniture.

Aesthetic attributes

Pool house designs often replicate the style of a garden room or orangery, with lots of glazing and sets of French doors or bi-folding doors. The design should optimise the feeling of being outside with lots of glazed walls. In the summer months, opening all the doors of a luxury pool house allows the space to extend into the garden and make the most of the surrounding natural views.

A well-designed pool house will echo the architectural style of the main house, helping it to blend in with the other surrounding buildings as if it has always been there, rather than looking like it doesn’t belong. The architectural relationship between a pool house and its surrounding environment is integral to achieving a luxury look so all of the buildings should follow the same style.

Positioning is key

A well-designed pool house positioned in a practical location will offer easy access from the main house while still offering privacy from neighbours. Keep garden paths well lit if you prefer an evening swim, and consider how uncomfortable they might be if you’re walking across them in flip-flops or slippers.

If you like the idea of escaping into a secluded part of your garden for a quiet swim, then perhaps position the pool house further away from the family home. If you have children, you might want to make sure the pool and pool house are right next to the family home so you can keep an eye on them as they play.

The orientation of your pool house will have an impact on how you use your space. Position your poolside so that it captures all of the sunlight at the right time of day you are most likely to use it, or if you’d prefer a cool spot for relaxing in then create sheltered seating areas with plenty of shade.

Specify the right glazing

With all that glazing, you can run the risk of your pool house overheating in the sun. This is just another reason why careful planning is necessary, considering the orientation of your pool house in relation to where the sunshine is likely to hit. Opt for a building with a semi-glazed roof as opposed to a fully glazed roof, as it makes it easier to maintain the proper climate-controlled environment inside.

Pool houses will often incorporate solar reflective glass lanterns and gables in order to illuminate the water and other specified areas, allowing views of the sky without excessive glare or solar heat gain. They also create a feeling of space, and a greater connection with the outdoors whilst swimming.

Styling the interiors

Achieve a harmonious, contemporary style inside your pool house with a bright and airy interior, with no hanging obstructions and plenty of minimal lines for a spa feel. You can bring some colour and pattern with waterproof chair cushions and seat pads if you want to inject a little more detail to the scheme.

Natural stone flooring is a wonderful material to use in pool houses. It’s a tough and durable material that transforms in colour when wet, sometimes taking on dramatically deep shades. All stone flooring slabs will have good slip resistance and should be perfectly suited for walking on in bare feet, but you can opt for rougher textures if you want a particularly high non-slip finish.  

Reduce the need to keep going back and forth to the house by making sure that your pool house is well equipped with everything that you might need.  A fully equipped kitchen with a fridge packed full of bottled water, wine, fruit, and salads can keep you happily fed and watered all day without needing to head back to the house. Keep some nice dinnerware and crystal champagne glasses to hand for when guests appear unexpectedly.