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49 Pool Cabana Ideas

49 Pool Cabana Ideas

A cabana or pool house adds a lot to your backyard pool area. Not only is a cabana a welcome source of shade on hot summer days, it can include a changing room and space to store pool equipment.

Before settling on a pool cabana design, it’s important to consider what functions you expect it to fulfill. If you want a full miniature house with a bathroom and kitchen, you’ll need to look at pool house design plans instead of a basic cabana. 

Whatever your intent for this poolside structure, check out our favorite cool pool cabana ideas. They will guide you in designing the perfect backyard cabana.

1. Deck

A pool cabana can be built directly on top of your existing pool deck. Or, you can plan to build it atop its own separate deck located near the swimming pool.

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Whether you have a wooden, stone, tile, or concrete deck, choose a pool cabana style that complements the existing decking material. Unlike a pool house, a cabana’s three-sided construction will leave the deck material visible so make sure it’s something you love. It’s a bonus if it feels good under bare feet.

2. Enclosed

By definition, a cabana has a roof, three walls, and one open side. However, some cabanas could be called a pool house cabana, with a fourth wall instead of a totally open side.

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These enclosed style cabanas usually have large French doors or retractable doors along the front. This makes a particularly stylish pool cabana that’s open when you need it to be, but looks more like a pool house when the doors are closed.

Even classic three-walled cabanas often have a small enclosed area for privacy while changing clothes. Some also include an enclosed storage room for pool supplies.

3. Hut

A hut-style cabana brings a decidedly tropical flair to your backyard. Instead of three walls and one opening, a cabana hut is often styled more like a pergola, with a thatched roof held up by four posts. If there are walls, they’re often made of bamboo or woven mats.

This kind of tiki hut outdoor space is also a great shelter over an outdoor kitchen or poolside bar. A hut cabana with an outdoor bar can make you and your guests feel like you’re visiting a favorite beach retreat.

4. Large

Because there are no limits on how big a backyard cabana can be, some end up being quite large. If you have a large inground pool and hot tub—and are a frequent pool party host—a large cabana might be exactly what you need. After all, if you have a lot of guests, you’ll need a lot of patio furniture to accommodate everyone, and plenty of covered porch space to provide shade.

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It’s common to build in extra storage into a larger cabana or pool house. You can include open attic space and use it to store all types of backyard toys and garden equipment. 

With a large cabana space, consider screening part of it—especially if you live in an area with lots of mosquitos or stinging insects. A screened outdoor living space will allow you to relax in the shade without being bothered by pests. 

5. Low Cost

It’s possible to have a great poolside cabana even on a tight budget. A simple roofed pavilion or pergola can suffice, whether built by scratch or from a kit.

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One of the cheapest ways to achieve the shade and ambience of a cabana is to purchase a 10’ x 10’ pop up tent. Available for around $100, these temporary structures are easy to put up and take down. Some even come with fabric curtains or sides that give the tent a true pool house cabana vibe.

6. Luxury 

Luxury pool cabana ideas are usually big open spaces with multiple outdoor room features. These custom pool house hybrids might include a firepit with vent, a changing room, bathroom, kitchen, and bar.

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A luxury pool cabana is made from high-end materials, such as teak, mahogany, or other imported exotic hardwoods, and surrounded by lavish landscaping. Often, such impressive structures are adjacent to an infinity pool positioned above a breathtaking view.

7. Modern

Like other forms of modern architecture, a contemporary cabana will be designed with clean lines and minimalist materials. It looks best beside a modern pool design that features a similar type of simplicity.

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Open beams are a stylish pool cabana accent for modern architecture. Make part of the roof solid material and part open beams to add character to your minimalist design.

8. Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture is a must in any outdoor living space. A backyard cabana should include several patio chairs and perhaps a dining set. If it’s a particularly spacious cabana, a hammock is a welcome place to relax poolside.

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If you have a small pool cabana, you may wish to use pop up camping chairs instead of full size outdoor furniture. That way you have extra seating when guests visit, but can enjoy a more open space when it’s just you and your household in the backyard.

Consider buying lounge chairs that have wheels on the back. This will make it easier to move them beside the swimming pool when you want to bask in the sun, and roll them back into the shade again.

9. Outdoor Kitchen Bar

Cooking outdoors is a fun change of pace from cooking inside. Although grills and smokers have long been popular ways of preparing food outside, modern outdoor kitchens are stocked as well as their interior versions.

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It’s important to choose weather resistant appliances specifically designed for outdoor kitchen use. You can find outdoor ranges, ovens, refrigerators, and even dishwashers to create a full kitchen on your backyard pool cabana. 

If you don’t have electricity in your outdoor pool area, a bar would be a more reasonable choice than a kitchen. Chill beverages in a large cooler or galvanized tub filled with ice. Store liquor and barware in cabinets or shelves surrounding the bar. Add a gas or charcoal grill for outdoor cooking.

10. Pavilion

A pool pavilion is essentially just another type of cabana idea, although by definition, a pavilion has four open sides. Like park pavilions, a swimming pool pavilion is used for shelter or entertainment.

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A pavilion can have a hard roof or a more tent-like covering. While a cabana usually has three walls and one open side, a pavilion may have one wall and three open sides. The solid wall is usually along the back of the pavilion and is a great place to mount a big screen TV for watching movies from the swimming pool.

11. Pergola

A pergola is an archway or framework that’s often covered with climbing plants or trailing vines. In place of a solid roof, the greenery is often trained to grow over the open rafters, forming a living roof.

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A pergola can serve some of the same purposes as a pool cabana, but pergolas offer less shade and protection from the elements. However, they are a stylish choice of backyard structure that many people prefer.

A pergola is a particularly pleasant place to relax poolside on warm summer nights. This is especially true when the pergola has a ceiling fan and lights strung over its frame.

12. Prefab

Prefab pool house and cabana kits can be more cost effective than building the structure yourself. They can also be customized to match your home’s exterior, available in everything from modern minimalist to barnlike design.

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You could probably use any prefab storage shed as a small pool house, but it would lack certain features most people want in a pool cabana. Look for a prefab building that has an enclosed storage or clothes-changing area and a porch for lounging in the shade. Some prefab cabanas include a bar, bathroom, or outdoor shower.

You can order prefab buildings online or from a local company. The 10’ x 20’ Sanara pool cabana by Summerwood Products is a great example of a modern, stylish prefab pool house.

13. Rustic

A rustic cabana will be made from natural materials, such as a wood frame with a stone base, topped with a vintage tin roof. If rustic cabana has curtains, canvas, linen, or thin burlap are good fabrics to use.

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Decorate the walls with vintage signs and add wrought iron accents wherever you can. For a fun, whimsical touch, hang simple rope swings from the cabana’s open rafters. Rustic lighting options include metal lanterns and strings of Edison light bulbs.

14. Shed

A pool house shed combines the best features of a storage shed and a pool cabana. In fact, some people with an existing storage shed simply add a large porch to the front and use it as a cabana.

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A shed is also great if you live in a climate with a short summer season. Use it to store your patio furniture, pool toys, and other summer gear during the longer winter months.

Turning a shipping container into a backyard shed or shelter is a popular trend. It looks good in a backyard behind a modern, farmhouse, or cottage style home and can be customized to include all the cabana features you need.

15. Small

Even a small pool house is better than no pool house at all. Where else can you lounge in the shade beside the pool, or store all your pool equipment? Additionally, a pool house or cabana adds value to your home because it turns a basic backyard pool into a multi-purpose outdoor living zone.

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If you have a tight budget, it’s a good idea to keep your cabana small—but build one that includes the features you need. Of course, you might need a small cabana due to space restraints. If so, choose a narrow design that provides the most shade possible.

Read also: 41 Small Pool Ideas