7 Big Ideas For Small Pool Houses

Small pool house next to an inground swimming pool

Having a pool house makes sense for a lot of reasons. It offers a convenient place to store pool equipment, a private space to change into and out of swimsuits, and perhaps even a little getaway spot to hang out and enjoy a “staycation” in your backyard. For that matter, a pool house can be a bonafide home away from home, complete with bedroom, bath, and kitchen.

But maybe you don’t have the space or budget for all that. Or perhaps you just have something more cozy in mind. Whatever the case, you can rest assured that even a small pool house can be a worthwhile addition – provided it’s well-designed for its purpose.

The key, as with small swimming pool design, is figuring out what you want, and reconciling it with what you can realistically achieve in a tight space. To help kickstart the process, here are a handful of small pool house ideas that can get you going down the right track.

1. Get your priorities straight

Since you won’t be able to pack everything you want into a smaller pool house, the first thing to do is make a list of the must-haves. Here are some popular pool house features to consider:

  • Changing room
  • Storage
  • Lounge area
  • Shower
  • Full bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Bar
  • Guest bedroom

You can probably cross some of these off your list right away, either because they aren’t important to you or aren’t practical for a small pool house. For most people, the key features are a changing room and some storage space for pool equipment, floats, toys, and so forth. Whatever features you decide on, make sure you have ample room for them – it’s easy to underestimate how much space you need.

2. Consider a cabana or other alternative

Even a small pool house can be a complicated (and costly) project. Before you move forward, consider whether a simpler structure would meet your needs. For example, if you’re mainly looking for a place to stow pool equipment, a shed or other storage option might do the job. Keep in mind that you can always mix and match features if one option doesn’t meet all your needs.

View of a lighted pool house next to an inground swimming pool, with two loungers in the foreground
Not every pool house can be this luxurious.

3. Check into prefabs

Before building something from scratch, it’s worth your while to check out the prefabricated pool houses you can order online. Prefabricated pool houses are shipped directly to your home and assembled in short order by a crew of professionals. The downside is that the options for customization are limited. But if you can find a prefab pool house you like at a reasonable price, this option can really simplify things.

4. Talk to a pro

Before you get too far ahead of yourself, it’s a good idea to talk to someone with expertise in designing and/or building pool houses. This could be your pool builder or a contractor you’re considering for the job. An experienced professional may be able to look at your particular pool environment and offer suggestions on making the most of limited space. They should also have a sense of the building code requirements in your area (more on that below).

5. Save money by doing it yourself

Building a pool house generally isn’t a job for amateurs. But if the project is modest enough (and you’re handy enough), it’s an option that could save you thousands of dollars. To make the project as foolproof as possible, be sure to take advantage of pool house plans, prefab kits, and whatever other shortcuts you can use.

6. Don’t forget about permits!

Even a small pool house likely requires a building permit in your area. As the law varies from place to place, the only way to find out for sure is to contact your city or county building jurisdiction. It’s smart to do this as early as possible, as building code requirements could impact your decisions on the size, placement, and other aspects of your pool house.

7. Brainstorm with pictures

The best way to get ideas for a small pool house is to look at pictures – lots of them. To start, check out our Pinterest board featuring stunning pool houses of all sizes. As you find features you like, be sure to save the pictures for later reference.

As you can see, even a small pool house can require a lot of thought and planning. Because it’s more luxury than necessity, you may want to take your time to find a solution that really “clicks” with your pool area. With everything a pool house has to offer, it’s well worth the wait.