Outdoor pools get a lot of love—and for good reason. They’re eye-catching, fun, and perfect for warm-weather hangouts. But, indoor pools deserve just as much attention and admiration.
For starters, indoor pools are often just as pretty as outdoor pools. And since you can use them year-round—no matter what the weather is doing, indoor pools tend to be more versatile investments than the average outdoor pool.
Of course, your visions of indoor pools may be limited by the simplest ones you’ve seen. But the truth is, indoor pools are available in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and styles. There are plant-lined indoor pools that feel like tropical getaways, luxurious pools fit for a spa, and purely practical pools that are perfect for exercise. In between these extremes, you’ll find all kinds of other indoor pool ideas—some modern, some rustic, and some decidedly opulent.
So no matter what your home looks like, there’s sure to be an indoor pool design that suits it. (And even if you don’t have the space to build an indoor pool, you can at least find a stunning indoor pool worth vicariously escaping to for a few moments.)
Take a Risk on a Dark Palette
Many of us think of pools as bright, fun-filled spaces. But when you’re designing an indoor pool, you can make the ambiance feel as cozy as you want it to, so consider setting the scene with a surprisingly dark palette. Choose a dark lining for your pool, cover walls with dark tiles, and line your ceiling with cozy wood paneling.
Fill Your Space With Cozy Seating
When you emerge from your pool, you need something comfy to sit on. And since you’re furnishing an indoor space, you don’t have to stick to the weather-resistant pieces you’d usually find next to a pool. So surround your pool with extra-cozy chairs, couches, and pillows—just make sure they’re water-friendly enough to withstand a wet bathing suit.
Give Yourself a Beautiful View
Make your indoor pool feel a little more like an outdoor pool by giving yourself a lovely view. Line one of the walls in your pool room with floor-to-ceiling windows, and enjoy a beautiful glimpse of the outdoors every time you take a swim.
Line Your Pool With Pretty Tiles
When it comes to lining your pool, you have a lot of options. You can keep it simple with a fiberglass lining, add texture with a cement lining, or line your pool with tons of pretty tiles. This eye-catching approach is sure to leave you with a stunning pool, and you can decide whether you want to stick to one tile color or mix and match a few different shades.
Invest in a Poolside Fireplace
Want to make your space feel next-level luxurious? Pair your indoor pool with a fireplace. The combination is about as cozy as it gets, and with some thoughtfully placed stonework, you can cohesively bridge the gap between your oh-so refreshing pool and your snuggle-worthy fireplace.
Make a Statement With a Knife Edge Pool
In most pools, the water level sits several inches below the pool’s edges, and that’s because you don’t want the water spilling out the moment someone jumps in. But some clever designers have figured out how to pull off knife-edge pools—pools filled with water that sits at surface level. This makes the floor look like one continuous surface, creating an effect that’s both sleek and statement-making.
Make the Most of the Space You Have
A large open room may be ideal for an indoor pool, but it’s certainly not the only place you can build one. If all you have to spare is a long, narrow hallway, you’re not out of luck. You could easily transform it into an exercise-friendly lap pool, or at the very least, you can treat yourself to a (somewhat short) lazy river.
Fill Your Space With Plants
Your pool may not be outdoors, but by surrounding it with lush greenery, you can leave it feeling like a tropical getaway. Consider topping your tables with flowers and filling your corners with potted plants.
Remember that if you want to go all-in, you can always build a raised bed fit for housing a poolside garden.
Line Your Ceiling With Faux Stars
Give yourself the option of swimming under the stars by painting your ceiling black and lining it with twinkle lights. And if you want your statement ceiling to feel extra-celestial, consider arranging those lights in little clusters and curves. The stars in the night sky aren’t evenly distributed, so embrace a little organic disorder as you outfit your starlit ceiling.
Try Out an Unusual Pool Shape
Pools are typically either circular or rectangular. But you can add fluidity to your space by springing for a less obvious shape. Start with a classic shape, like a rectangle. Then carve out room for steps, seats, and other built-in accents. These nooks should lend your space a suggested flow, giving people natural places to enter and exit your pool.
Hang Some Statement Lighting
Lighting brings any space together—and your pool house is no exception. So dress up your indoor pool with a few statement-making fixtures. Hang a chandelier over your pool, or line your pool deck with pendant lights. These pretty details will double as practical must-haves when it gets dark outside and light stops streaming through your windows.
Craft a Poolside Dining Nook
Indoor pools are great for swimming. But if yours is particularly pretty, you may want to spend time around it—even when you’re dry. So turn your indoor pool into the ultimate getaway by building in space for other rejuvenating activities, like reading, entertaining, or simply enjoying a nice meal.
Could you outfit your pool room with a sprawling bar, or tuck a dining nook into the corner? By using your space for more than just swimming, you can make your indoor pool room even more special and versatile.
Warm Up Your Space With Wood Accents
Wood paneling is a favorite among saunas and spas, so it should make a natural addition to any indoor pool. Consider lining your walls and ceilings with the material. Or keep it simple with a few wood accents—like wood-framed windows, exposed structural beams, or wooden furniture.
Line Your Walls With Sliding Glass Doors
Turn your indoor pool into an indoor/outdoor pool by lining one wall with sliding glass doors. When the weather is nice, you can open the doors to let in some fresh air. And since the sliding glass doors will double as windows, you can enjoy a lovely view, even when you've left the doors shut.
Add Ambiance With Candles
If you want your indoor pool to feel ultra-cozy and luxurious, consider lining it with candles. Snag a few pillar candles and house them in glass cloches. Or stock up on votive candles and surround your pool with them.
Build a Fountain That Flows Into Your Pool
When designing an indoor pool, you have a few dimensions to play with. You can explore different widths and lengths by adjusting your pool’s shape. Or you can explore different heights by layering in architectural elements, like steps and fountains.
Though steps tend to be pretty formulaic, fountains can vary immensely—ranging from rock-lined waterfalls to contemporary fixtures. And by tucking one in between your wall and your pool, you can make your entire space feel more continuous.
Adorn Your Walls With Pretty Mosaics
Most people wouldn’t recommend hanging art in a pool room. (Humidity and art do not get along.) But since tiles tend to withstand moisture better than the average painting, mosaics offer a stunning way to work around this limitation.
By lining your walls with striking mosaics, you can surround your indoor pool with water-friendly art, and you can invest in masterpieces that you probably wouldn’t put in any other room of your home.
Light the Inside of Your Pool
Recessed lighting is a popular and sleek way to illuminate a space. But when you’re decorating a pool room, your recessed lighting options don’t stop at your ceiling. For a particularly statement-making look, you can build recessed lighting directly into your pool.
Fill your pool with classic recessed lights, line the edges of your pool with cove lighting, or experiment with a combination of the two. When it gets dark out, this detail will be both useful and head-turning. And if your pool lining is dark, it should look great during any time of day.
Build Fluidity Into Your Space
Your indoor pool may feel like a getaway, but you don’t have to design it any differently than the rest of your home. By making the most of sliding doors, windows, and open entrances, you can build fluidity into your space, letting your pool room flow into your living room, and so on.
To keep your home feeling cohesive, be sure to use similar accents in adjacent spaces. Keep key pieces—like lighting fixtures, furniture, and decor—consistent from room to room.
Invest in Cozy Finishing Touches
Your indoor pool may be the star of your space. But it’s little details—like plush towels and cozy accents—that bring any room together. So consider finishing off your pool house with some poolside must-haves, like a set of luxurious robes, a fridge full of bottled water, or a heated towel rack. Think of the things you always crave when you’re finished swimming, and make sure to keep those on hand.