Oceanside pools aren’t just for posh resorts. Find a style you’d love coming home to―whether it’s a luxurious infinity version or a petite lap pool that opens right up to your family room―and take the plunge.
Photo: Brian Vanden Brink; Styling: Jennifer Kain Defoe
Why We Love It: The oceanfront setting means swimmers in this Cape Elizabeth, Maine, pool don’t have to pick between enjoying an ocean view and floating in the pool.
Before You Dive In: Think about where everyone, guests included, will spend most of their time, and try to bring those spaces together. Here, guests relaxing on the porch and those swimming in the pool can chat and enjoy quality time together without sacrificing their preferred perches.
Photo: Laurie Black; Styling: Sunday Hendrickson
Why We Love It: A tinted plaster at the bottom of the pool makes it the same color as the water of the bay beyond, connecting the adjacent bodies of water.
Before You Dive In: A waterfront pool should complement, not detract from, the larger body of water it sits next to. Think of ways to visually link the two to help them coexist in aesthetic harmony.
Photo: Lisa Romerein; Styling: Liz Strong
Why We Love It: A concrete sofa serves as a colorful barrier, marking the end of the pool area. It also doubles as a practical lounging spot.
Before You Dive In: Consider unexpected ways to both make your pool feel like a separate space and provide plenty of seating. The best solutions do both!
Photographer: Dominique Vorillon
Why We Love It: Crystal-blue water and Popsicle-color walls―enough said. The vibrant setting is simple, sophisticated, and fun.
Before You Dive In: Research local water restrictions. Update your oasis with a water-saving pump and well-suited filter, and use a pool cover to limit evaporation.
Photo: Miki Duisterhof
Why We Love It: The symmetry of the gazebo, planters, and palm trees lends a stately, glamorous feeling to this Vero Beach, Florida, pool.
Before You Dive In: Keep your lifestyle in mind when choosing the shape of your pool. For instance, a long, rectangular pool is ideal for swimming laps, while a pool with a sizeable shallow area is fun for kids.
Photo: Emily Gilbert
Why We Love It: Eschewing the typical decking or pavement, this pool is surrounded by a verdant green lawn. The grass and bordering hedge make the backyard feel like a private oasis.
Before You Dive In: The many available materials for poolside patios require different levels of maintenance. Decide how much time you’re willing to commit to upkeep as you plan.
Photo: David Tsay; Styling: Liz Strong
Why We Love It: A barely there pool deck allows the beauty of the blue water (in the pool and the sea beyond) and the surrounding greenery to take center stage.
Before You Dive In: Landscaping (or the lack thereof) plays a major role in establishing the wow-factor of a pool deck. Strike a balance between leaving room to roam and allowing natural décor to bloom.
Photo: Gaelle Le Boulicaut; Stylist: Jeremy Callaghan
Why We Love It: This Caribbean pool is a study in chic minimalism. The water’s rimless appearance and the streamlined chaises—which are raised and lowered via hydraulic lifts—give the space a sleek, modern look. Simple décor and a clean color palette allow the surrounding natural beauty to take center stage.
Before You Dive In: Keep your home’s aesthetic in mind to ensure that the pool will fit in well with existing elements or plans.
Photo: David A. Land; Styling: Lindsey Ellis Beatty and Rachael Burrow
Why We Love It: The pool at Coastal Living’s 2016 Hamptons Showhouse has its own spacious pool house, perfect for enjoying outdoor living as much as possible.
Before You Dive In: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to setting up poolside hangouts. The more playful, the better!
Photo: David A. Land; Styling: Liz Strong
Why We Love It: The simple, rectangular pool doesn’t need any frills, as it anchors a U-shaped Sea Island, Georgia, home. The pool deck is clearly visible from all sides, making it perfect for young swimmers.
Before You Dive In: Depending on who uses the pool most often (think small kids), having clear sightlines to the water is imperative. Don’t sacrifice safety for a few attractive decorative elements.
Photo: David Tsay; Styling: Liz Strong
Why We Love It: A mosaic tile pattern creates a funky swirl design on the bottom of the Manhattan Beach, California, pool, where glass-covered skylights cast sunshine into a beach-level grotto.
Before You Dive In: A pool can become a stylish statement with the addition of colored tiles. Colorful surroundings, like the greenery and beach view here, also add visual interest.
Photo: David Tsay; Stylist: Erin Swift
Why We Love It: One end of this Southern California pool extends into the open yard, while the other reaches under the home’s roof to within a few feet of an indoor sitting area. This configuration creates opportunities to enjoy the water in in sun and shade.
Before You Dive In: Poolside access to seating can make your pool a comfy escape. Relief from the sun’s rays could be as simple as adding umbrellas near chairs or as elaborate as building an arbor.
Photo: William Waldron
Why We Love It: The deep orange throw pillows complement the bright aqua of this Florida pool. Vintage chairs that feature curvy shapes echo the pool’s outline and give the space a chic vibe.
Before You Dive In: Choosing pillows and cushions intended for outdoor use will help keep furnishings fresh longer. Certain fabrics and fills are more fade- and mildew-resistant that others, so be sure to check products’ durability when decorating outdoor spaces.
Photo: Tria Giovan
Why We Love It: The large, shallow top step of this pool provides plenty of space for two in-water chaise lounges. These prime spots are the best of both worlds, with dry, comfortable cushions for relaxing as well as instant access to the cool water. A water feature creates soothing ambient sounds for a spa-like atmosphere.
Before You Dive In: Products such as energy-efficient pool pumps and pool covers can help keep utility costs down for your swimming spot.
Photo: Tria Giovan; Stylist: Heather Chadduck
Why We Love It: This St. Barts pool fits in perfectly with the home’s blue-and-green color scheme, thanks to its vibrant turquoise hue. The overall effect feels right at home on the tropical Caribbean island.
Before You Dive In: Consider how the color of the tiles or other materials that line your pool will blend in with the existing landscaping and exteriors. Smart design choices will keep your pool from looking like a tacked-on afterthought.
Photo: Catriona Tudor Erler
Why We Love It: San Diego’s skyline contrasts wonderfully with this simple pool design and thoughtful landscaping.
Before You Dive In: If you want to extend the use of your pool into the evening hours, consider installing outdoor lighting or underwater lights. Fire pits and tiki torches lend a romantic touch, while string lights can evoke a fun atmosphere.
Photographer: Jean Allsopp
Why We Love It: What a view! There’s only one reason to leave this hillside spot high above the waters of Baie de St. Jean in St. Barth’s: to grab your camera.
Before You Dive In: Find inspiration in your surroundings. Here, rusty hues echo the tile roofs below and complement the deep blue skies and aqua surf. Outfit your pool deck with seating that will weather the elements and promise hours of R&R.
Photo: Marc Royce; Stylist: Linda Hirst
Why We Love It: This Florida Keys hot tub has something for everyone, allowing guests to relax in either the wet or dry half of the sitting area, all while enjoying the central fire pit.
Before You Dive In: Taking your area’s climate into account is important when planning outdoor living spaces. Features like hot tubs or fire pits can extend the life of your outdoor hangout into the cooler months.
Photo: Jeff McNamara
Why We Love It: A bordering wall of dry-stacked Pennsylvania fieldstone brings rustic charm and visual interest to this pool area. The deep turquoise hue of the water plays nicely against the home’s cedar-shake shingle siding, the bronze-toned umbrellas, and the surrounding garden.
Before You Dive In: This property also features an outdoor shower, a great addition to a coastal pool area. A quick rinse pre-swim helps keep sand and dirt at bay for pristine water.
Photographer: Tria Giovan
Why We Love It: Steps away from the beach, the pool area―complete with hot tub―is the center of this home’s outdoor living space. A stylish addition to above-ground pools, decking built right up to the pool’s edge creates a private boardwalk. A large dining table and pots planted with native grasses dress up the deck.
Before You Dive In: Evaluate your location. This pool is built above ground because the shoreline of Fire Island, New York, constantly shifts.
Why We Love It: The line between outside and inside is decidedly blurred at this home in the British Virgin Islands. With easy access to the kitchen and gathering areas, guests enjoying a quick dip need not feel separated from the hub of the home.
Before You Dive In: If your home doesn’t have an open flow between pool and kitchen, consider adding a small outdoor kitchen for easy access to snacks and drinks. Less time shuffling back and forth means more time relaxing!
Photographer: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Why We Love It: This unique tidal saltwater pool in Cape Neddick, Maine, embraces natural features for a seamless connection to the sea.
Before You Dive In: Popular in the early 20th century but now prohibited in many municipalities, tidal saltwater pools require diligent maintenance. If constructing one is out of the question, you can achieve the look by incorporating natural stone and native landscaping into an infinity pool.
Photographer: Alec Hemer
Why We Love It: This Connecticut pool sits so close to the sea’s edge that you can cast a rod from one of the lounge chairs. It sports two poolside structures with ornamental roofs reminiscent of graceful, white sails.
Before You Dive In: Oceanside pools can get pretty windy, so construct a low wall that will block breezes without blocking the view. A pool house (or two) will keep towels, sunscreen, and other essentials on hand, while concealing pumps, heaters, and other equipment.
Photographer: Jean Allsopp
Why We Love It: These homeowners had to get creative when adding a pool to their small backyard, so they joined it to the house’s foundation. Folding doors in the family room slide back to reveal the water’s edge.
Before You Dive In: Want a pool but don’t think you have the room? Take cues from this scene―the narrow lap pool visually lengthens the backyard, and the hedge wall adds greenery without wasting valuable space. Remember, check property lines and building codes, which often define the pool’s shape, design, and placement.
Photographer: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Why We Love It: This small pool on the island of Mustique in the Grenadines gives renters a quiet spot to catch some rays, with the bonus of shade under the sturdy pergola. Dense tropical landscaping surrounds the retreat and offers a steady supply of oranges and figs.
Before You Dive In: Remember that lush landscaping may mean time spent scooping leaves out of your pool. Carefully consider where you site your plantings.
Photo: Lisa Romerein; Stylist: Heather Chadduck; Producer: Molly Pastor
Why We Love It: At this home on Mexico’s Mayan coast, the main pool wraps around the house in an “L” shape, creating one larger pool with oceanfront views and a long, narrow lap pool that runs alongside the home. From the deck, steps lead down to an additional hand-dug pool filled by the ocean with seawater.
Before You Dive In: There are different options available when it comes to keeping your pool sanitary, but whichever method you choose, make sure to follow any recommended maintenance actions to ensure the water stays safe for swimmers.
Photographer: Shelley Metcalf
Why We Love It: A wavy shape nods to the nearby surf, and the infinity edge gives waders a seamless view out to sea―you can’t get much closer to beachfront than this!
Before You Dive In: Consider an irregular shape with curves that evoke the ocean’s edge. Proper siting and choice of materials connects your oasis to its surroundings and ensures you’ll love it for years to come. Mimic the shore with watery blue tiles and stones in sandy hues.