5 Reasons to Build a Pool House

small pool house with bar seating

It not-so-secretly irks you when droves of pool party guests traipse in and out of your home — dripping wet to boot — to grab a bite, find some shade, or use the bathroom. Of the many reasons there are to build a pool house, keeping people out of your main house would be number one on your list. Still not sure if this is a home improvement project you need to take on? Keep reading for even more reasons to build a pool house.

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But First, What Is the Purpose of a Pool House?

A basic pool house is typically a standalone building near your above-ground or in-ground pool that provides a convenient place for you and your guests to change in and out of swimsuits and use the bathroom. It’s also great for storing pool toys, floaties, games, and other accessories, so they don’t clutter the water. 

Beyond that, though, homeowners can build custom pool houses they can trick out to their heart’s desire. Add an outdoor kitchen or outdoor shower to your build, or turn it into a full-on guest house.

Whether you go with a simple or grandiose pool house design, it’s sure to upgrade your outdoor space. 

5 Reasons to Build a Pool House

A wood and stone pool house lit up in the evening
Photo Credit: EricVega / Canva Pro / License

1. You Need an Outdoor Changing Area

Air conditioning the outside and wet footprints on your hardwood? Hard nos. Keep those main house doors shut and your interior puddle-free by giving guests a poolside place to change their clothes.

Include outfit changing rooms with cubbies for storage and a bathroom or two, and install an outdoor shower, so everyone can rinse off before diving into your cool, clean pool water. This can help mitigate the amount of contaminants that enter your swimming pool during heavy use.

2. To Extend Your Outdoor Living Space

What happens at the pool party stays at the pool party — and by that, we mean outside, in the designated pool area. By supplying everything you and your guests need right in your backyard, you’ll eliminate the need for anyone to sneak inside the main house.

Consider including an outdoor kitchen with your pool house that’s stocked with water bottles, other drinks, fruits, veggies, and snacks.

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3. It Can Double as a Guest House

Welcome out-of-town family and friends with their very own space to stay, complete with a bedroom, bathroom, sitting area, and indoor kitchen. Ante up their comfort with select decor that’s beach- or spa-themed, for example.

No guests coming for a while? Pool season closed for the year? Use the guest house yourself as a home office, she shed, or quick escape from your regular, hectic household.

4. For Off-Season Storage

Besides storing pool toys and accessories you regularly use in-season, your pool house can also serve as extra storage for pool equipment you’re not using during the winter months — things like manual skimmers, scrub brushes, chlorine tabs, and pool shock, just to name a few.

Not only will it cut down on unsightly clutter in your pool area, but it will also keep harmful pool chemicals safely out of reach of children and pets.

5. It Can Raise Your Property Value

Function isn’t the only perk of a pool house; style ranks high, too. Showcase your favorite aesthetics by building a new pool house that will also add value to your home. Experts estimate this value to be between 5% and 8%. If that’s a worthwhile increase for your property (after figuring the costs you’ll invest into the project), go for it.

FAQ About Building a Pool House

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

Quick answer: A pool house is fully enclosed (like a smaller version of a main house), and a cabana has a roof and at least one wall (in back); it can also have two side walls.

Both can be used as a changing area, but only a pool house can double as a guest house with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and seating area. A cabana, on the other hand, is mainly used for poolside shade, with comfy, outdoor furniture for optimal relaxation.

Do I need a building permit to build a pool house?

In most states, any type of residential or commercial construction project will require a building permit. Zoning laws can vary depending on where you live, so be sure to read up on yours before finalizing any pool house designs. For example, if you’re going with a super simple structure that has a square footage of 120 or less, you may not need a permit.

How much does a pool house cost?

The cost of building a pool house depends on a variety of factors — square footage, prefab or from-scratch, design, and features. On average, building a pool house can cost anywhere between $100 and $600 per square foot

When to Hire a Professional

Unless you’ve got a background in construction, this is one home improvement project you shouldn’t DIY. Besides the actual pool house build, you’ll also want to hire a local pro to install any necessary plumbing and electricity.

If budget is a concern, you can cut costs a bit by having the pros build your pool house from a prefab design. They come in a variety of styles, building materials, features, and difficulty levels.

Another option is a pergola kit. While not an actual pool house, it is something you can DIY to add ambiance and shade to your pool area — perfect for sheltering outdoor furniture or even a hot tub, both of which you can enjoy with an umbrella drink in hand. 

Pool maintenance and cleaning are tasks you can definitely do on your own, too, but why if you don’t have to? Connect with pool pros near you that can skim your pool, vacuum the walls and flooring, test your water chemistry, shock your pool, and more. 

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Main Photo Credit: RobMattingley / Canva Pro / License

Andréa Butler

Andréa Butler is a writer and editor. And while she hasn't been blessed with DIY skills herself, she is adept at writing and enjoys sharing home improvement tips and pool care guides for the true DIYers out there.