When choosing a pool shape for your inground pool, you should weigh factors such as your backyard’s dimensions, your family’s lifestyle, and your personal preferences. In this guide, we walk you through these considerations to help you identify which inground pool shapes are best for you. Discover the wide range of shapes, sizes, and styles – from classic, stately rectangles to flowy freeform curves.
Custom shapes and freeform designs are a large part of vinyl and gunite inground pool appeal. However, after decades of innovation, fiberglass pool manufacturers now offer a wider variety of unique shapes, sizes, and built-in features. Vinyl liner swimming pools are generally the cheapest inground pool option in most shapes, but unique freeform pool shapes can add significantly to installation costs. Custom shapes and complex designs can also add to a gunite pool's price tag. While fiberglass pools aren't highly customizable, the benefit is that pricing doesn't vary widely for pool shapes.
While it shouldn't be a surprise that rectangle designs are widespread choices for fiberglass pools, you may be blown away by the variability and uniqueness still possible across rectangle fiberglass pool shell options. More than just straight lines and corners for a simple shape, there is an assortment of sizes, varying depths, and built-in features that you’re sure to find in a rectangle fiberglass pool.
If the rigid structure of a rectangle shape doesn't fit your particular tastes or the existing landscape of your yard, a curvy and flowing freeform shape may better suit your needs. The freeform curves of many Thursday Pools' designs help them feel just as custom as unique one-off gunite or vinyl designs. Some homeowners select a freeform and flowing silhouette for the natural, organic "feel" they give off. Others prefer how the curves contrast with straight lines of the nearby home, fencing, or other structures.
Circular pools and spas are perfect for social butterflies and entertainers. Smaller, more intimate, round designs with built-in bench seating keep guests facing one another and enjoying the group's company.
Kidney-shaped inground pools resemble a natural pond or lagoon, bringing a touch of nature into your backyard. For some, an asymmetrical kidney shape with soft lines is more interesting, attractive, or visually appealing than a traditional rectangle pool.
Is your backyard big and expansive with space to spare or so small you're worried no shape or size pool will be able to fit? Your landscape doesn't have to limit you. Discover which shapes and styles of inground pools will work best with your home's available yard space.
Colonial, Tudor, or Mid-century Modern? Maybe Victorian, Greek revival, Farmhouse, or Modern? No matter your home's architecture, there are pool shapes and designs that complement your home's style and atmosphere.
Do you plan to swim laps for a good workout every morning? Will you host only smaller, intimate gatherings or block parties for the whole gang? Whether you’d like room for a whole-family game of pool volleyball or want a place just for you and a partner to relax in a personal paradise, your pool design helps establish your yard's vibe with shapes available to suit any lifestyle.
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Whether you are considering your family’s preferences or your backyard layout and design, it’s essential to consider the possibilities for the various shapes and sizes available with vinyl, gunite, and fiberglass pools.
Vinyl liner pools are initially framed from a series of interconnected steel, aluminum, or plastic panels. Before being set in place by pouring concrete around them, these panels can be arranged in almost any configuration—from classic rectangles to round pools, L-shaped inground pools, or completely custom unique pool shapes.
While vinyl liner pools can be configured to almost any shape, custom freeform designs can significantly increase upfront installation costs. More-complex shapes could also increase liner replacement costs.
Concrete gunite pools come with the longest installation time of the three types, particularly if your design includes custom features or a unique, freeform shape. Gunite is easily the most customizable of the three pool types—while they may be more labor-intensive and costly, there’s no limit to the shape and size possibilities because concrete pools are custom-poured on a backyard-by-backyard basis.
While a gunite pool design can come in practically any shape a homeowner can imagine, custom freeforms generally cost more than a standard or traditional rectangular pool. Depending on how personalized or complicated the shape of your unique design is, the complexities could incur significantly more cost to the project’s bottom line.
Fiberglass pools have long been desirable for those valuing long-lasting durability. As manufacturers such as Thursday Pools have invested and innovated with what’s possible with fiberglass, the amount of available shapes and sizes has boomed in recent years. Certain shipping limitations often restrict a fiberglass pool size to 16 feet in width, as fiberglass pool installation requires that the shell remains as a single unit. However, the breadth of shapes, sizes, and features to choose from far exceeds the expectations of most new pool shoppers.
The skyrocketing popularity of fiberglass pools is partly due to the beauty, aesthetics, resilience, and available shapes of fiberglass pool shells. Creative innovations in engineering and luxury-style add-on features are distinct advantages of fiberglass. Fiberglass pools can accommodate tanning ledges, beach entries, built-in bench seating, and even attached wading pools, spas, or wet decks. Niche add-ons combine with wide-ranging fiberglass shell shapes and designs to make a pool that feels completely custom—but typically at a lower cost than a similarly styled custom pool of another inground pool type. Moreover, features like tanning ledges or sloped entries in fiberglass pools are often manufactured with a non-slip texture surface to make for safer entry and exit.
While the size of your inground fiberglass pool design will remain a significant factor in determining the project’s final costs, pricing for fiberglass pools is relatively consistent (approximately $2,000 per linear foot) regardless of the selected pool shape
It may take just one look to see why rectangular pool designs have become the most popular shape for pool buyers. Rectangle-shaped pools feature clean, sharp lines that easily lend themselves to traditionally elegant or minimalistic, modern outdoor settings. The rectangular shape maximizes the usable swimming area within the pool, providing ample room for swimming, playing, and relaxing. This is especially beneficial for individuals or families who enjoy swimming laps or engaging in water-based activities.
A small rectangular pool can be tucked into a backyard corner, along a fence line, or on one level of a multi-level patio to preserve available outdoor living space. Some of Thursday Pools’ smaller designs—sometimes called spools, plunge pools, or cocktail pools—are square and rectangular, including a wading pool measuring just 9 feet by 9 feet and 18 inches deep. For a proper rectangle shape, the Thursday Pools Sea Turtle design checks in at under 20 feet long and 9.5 inches, wide with a 4-foot, 6-inch, depth throughout. Thursday Pools’ best-selling design, the Aspen, is available in both small and large sizes. The Goliath, another popular model by Thursday Pools, has smaller sizes coming soon. See our small rectangular pool designs and their specifications.
If you are concerned with the visual impact and balance of the pool within your overall backyard design, a mid-size pool may be right for you. A large pool may dominate a smaller yard, while a small pool might seem disproportionately small in a larger space. Check out some of our medium-sized pool designs and their specifications.
At the end of the large size spectrum, a rectangular shape lends itself to fiberglass pool shell sizes as large as 16 feet wide and 41 feet long. That’s big enough for the whole family, including pets, children, and friends from throughout the neighborhood. Some rectangle fiberglass pool designs, such as the Aspen, Monolith, and Grace Beach Entry, incorporate luxurious tanning ledges or shallow splash zones and wading areas for younger or novice swimmers. The larger sizes of the Goliath maximizes open swim space by strategically positioning stairs and benches in corners. See our large rectangular pool designs and their specifications.
A ROMAN TWIST ON THE CLASSIC RECTANGLE POOL
Roman or Grecian-shaped fiberglass pools such as the Cathedral draw inspiration from ancient Roman and Greek architectural styles. Roman-style pool shapes can add a touch of cultural and historical significance to your outdoor space.
This pool shape’s straight sides, geometric symmetry, and elegant curves on semicircular ends exude a sense of timeless beauty and sophistication.
The curved corners and soft edges invoke an elegant feeling and aesthetic and add a classical touch to a pool’s design. Roman or Grecian-shaped swimming pools also often incorporate wide, shallow steps at one end, similar to those found in ancient Roman baths. See our Roman-shaped pools and their specifications.
Rectangle pools are popular, but they aren’t for everyone. Many homeowners and prospective pool buyers are drawn to the natural, organic, and free-flowing lines of freeform pool shapes.
Although fiberglass pool shells are wholly constructed at a manufacturing facility before being shipped to the installation site, freeform designs lend themselves to appearing much more custom or contoured to the unique specifics of your yard.
All of the same premium features from traditional rectangle fiberglass pools are also available in freeform designs. Wraparound steps, bench seating, tanning ledges, a beach entry option, and plenty of room for swimming and playing—nothing is off limits despite the switch from rigidly rectangular to weaving, freeform lines.
Thursday Pools’ Sun Day and Wellspring designs combine to offer five different freeform sizes at various depths, with the largest Wellspring option eclipsing 40 feet in length. The Sandal Beach Entry pairs the naturalistic look of a freeform outline with the tropical-vacation feeling of walking down a gradual incline with no stairs into the water. Check out our freeform shaped pool designs and their specifications.
Round, circular inground swimming pools and spas are often smaller in size than their rectangular or freeform counterparts.
Thursday Pools offers a pair of circular-shaped spas. The Round Spa and Grand Spa designs may each feature spillover fountains that can flow into an accompanying larger pool, while the Grand Spa is also available as a standalone plunge pool or wading pool at almost 3 feet deep. At approximately 8′6″ x 8′16″ to 11′6″ x 11′10″ feet in diameter, Thursday Pools’ round spa offerings are large enough to comfortably fit seven people in an intimate, cozy setting.
When it comes to small fiberglass pools that aren’t spas, Thursday Pools’ Pearl keeps its relatively compact design (25 feet by 15 feet) within a rounded footprint. The clamshell-style, scalloped silhouette of the pool shell itself is visually striking, while also allowing enough room for a pair of loungers in its 1-foot-deep wading area. The Pearl is any socialite’s dream, with bench seating that wraps around the entirety of the main pool area, which includes an excellent soaking depth of 3 feet, 9 inches.
Small, inground kidney-shaped pools first became popular during the Mid-Century Modern architectural movement of the 1950s and ‘60s. Designed to resemble a small natural lagoon or manmade pond, the gentle curves and softer lines of kidney designs combine elements of both rectangular and freeform pools.
While not exactly “kidney-shaped” (but close), the Titus design features friendly and inviting soft curves that can add some shape and dimension to a squared or boxy backyard setting. With easy-entry steps and built-in benches, Titus is exactly the type of pool that builds a big, playful atmosphere in a small to medium-sized footprint.
Homeowners with a smaller backyard may not have to relinquish the dream of luxury inground pool ownership.
Round designs are excellent compact options with efficient use of space and can create cozy, intimate swimming pool settings.
Squared spas and wading pools are also space-efficient selections. While these types of plunge pools and spillover spas can be elegant additions to most other fiberglass pools, they can make for beautiful patio pieces and small-yard accents on their own.
Even with ample square footage, narrower yards can feel constricting and homeowners often assume no pool will comfortably fit within their yard’s narrow confines.
The same small-yard spas and plunge pools in round or square shapes may also fit nicely into a narrow backyard space. Smaller “full-size” rounded, freeform, or kidney-style designs, such as Thursday Pools’ Titus or Pearl designs, are often viable options at 12 and 15 feet wide, respectively.
A smaller rectangle pool can also be an ideal solution for narrow yards. Placement in a corner or along one side of the yard helps maximize the available length while minimizing the width required. The Sea Turtle checks in at less than 10 feet wide, perfect for most shallow or narrow outdoor spaces, and is swim jet system-ready if you crave the feeling of swimming in more open water.
When yard space is at a premium, your options for pool shapes in Thursday Pools’ largest sizes are extensive.
Wide rectangles are a classic choice for big yards, offering plenty of open space for swimming laps, water games, whole-party socializing, ample built-in seating, and room for lounging in shallower depths.
A rectangle pool’s straight lines and clean design create a sleek look in any yard. When set within and against the backdrop of an expansive yard, freeform pools are a popular choice for their ability to mimic natural shapes and follow the contours of the landscaping or outdoor living spaces.
A Roman pool shape is another way to make a statement as a stunning addition to a large yard. The elegant and symmetrical design evokes a sense of grandeur and sophistication as an excellent anchor to a large yard’s entertainment space.
Clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic are ideal options for complementing a home’s Mid-Century Modern architecture style. Consider a classic rectangle pool shape, as its symmetrical design should mirror many of the straight lines and simplicity often found in mid-century modern exteriors.
When selecting materials and finishes, consider options like exposed aggregate, natural stone, or smooth concrete surfaces to complement the mid-century modern style. Pay attention to landscaping elements, such as minimalist plantings and strategic lighting, to enhance the overall aesthetic.
To best complement a modern home’s architecture, a backyard pool should exude sleekness and minimalism. Always a timeless choice, rectangles and squares work well with the modernists principles of contemporary architecture. The straight lines and balanced design create a sense of order and simplicity that complements the streamlined look of contemporary designs.
Circles or squares with clean, simple lines match nicely with modern home designs, as well. Either as a split-level addition to a larger pool, or as its own standalone patio element, various geometric shapes such as a square or round spa pool blend nicely with modern design principles.
Freeform pools with organic curves can also work with certain modern architecture. The gentle, flowing lines add a contrasting sense of slight movement and softness for a fluid look that invites just a touch of nature’s wonder and serenity into your modern oasis.
Consider incorporating materials such as glass tiles and minimalist landscaping to enhance the overall contemporary feel. Lighting features, waterfalls, and integrated seating areas can further enhance the modern ambiance and create an inviting outdoor space.
Colonial architecture evokes a sense of tradition and stately elegance. Accompanying pools should enhance that traditional charm through symmetrical and geometric designs that orderly anchor themselves as the focal point of your home’s outdoor space.
You can’t go wrong with rectangle or square pools that seamlessly harmonize against the straight lines and balanced proportions common in colonial exteriors. Roman or Grecian-shaped pools bring even more elegance, adding circular elements for shapes that echo colonial architecture’s neoclassical influences and provide subtle organic contrast to the home and pool’s structured lines.
When selecting materials and finishes, consider options that complement the Colonial style, such as brick, stone, or tile with a classic color palette. Pay attention to landscaping elements, such as symmetrical plantings, trimmed hedges, and traditional garden accents, to enhance the overall aesthetic.
With a common emphasis on natural elements, freeform pools and craftsman architecture pair nicely for an organic design that embraces nature’s irregularities. A freeform or kidney-style inground pool mimics a natural pond’s flowing lines, and added water features such as a spillover spa or bubbling fountains invoke feelings of visiting a flowing stream or babbling brook.
Thinking beyond the fiberglass pool shell itself, surrounding landscape design decisions can help enhance the synergy between the pool’s shape and your home’s exterior style. Consider natural stone or bluestone for finishes and pool coping with an earthy, organic, or textured appearance that blends with the ambiance of craftsman-style homes.
The elegance and “old world charm” of a Tudor-style home’s architecture can extend into its outdoor living space. Symmetrical rectangle and square pool shapes complement Tudor homes’ geometric lines and can be the balancing focal point of a yard’s formal garden or inner courtyard environment.
Tudor homes have historical, medieval-inspired details and elegance. A design with multiple levels, incorporating a spillover spa or a sunken living area, harmonizes nicely with Tudor architecture’s lines and arches.
When selecting materials and finishes, consider options that complement the Tudor style, such as natural stone, brick, or tile with earthy tones. Pay attention to landscaping elements, such as traditional English garden features, including box hedges, roses, and ornamental plants, to enhance the overall aesthetic.
If your goal is to create a pool area that feels like a natural extension of your farmhouse-style home, aim for a pool shape and design that fits with the relaxed, rustic, and unpretentious nature of the architecture. Incorporating natural materials throughout your outdoor living space surrounding the pool can help evoke a true sense of serene country living.
Consider a freeform pool with an irregular shape and curves. When selecting materials and finishes, consider natural stone, brick, or weathered wood to enhance the farmhouse appeal. Incorporating landscaping elements such as lush vegetation, flowering plants, and rustic accents can further enhance the farmhouse-style pool area. You can create your own charming rural farmhouse pond paradise by including a spillover spa, fountain, or other natural landscaping water features.
Your Victorian-style home requires a pool design that reflects the elegance, intricacy, and historical charm of the architecture. Rectangle pools accomplish this with classic, simple symmetry, while softened or rounded edges can create a balance between structured lines and an organic feel.
Curvilinear elements and decorative detailing such as scalloped edges or a Roman shape reflect popular motifs of Victorian architecture. Featuring geometric lines and symmetrical proportions, these ornate shapes evoke a historical sense of elegance, opulence, and romanticism.
Consider incorporating materials such as mosaic tiles, intricate patterns, decorative borders, and traditional stone or brickwork around the pool to enhance the Victorian aesthetic. Additionally, complementing the landscaping with lush greenery, blooming flowers, and ornamental features can further enhance the overall ambiance.
Modern and eclectic Art Deco architecture is characterized by bold geometric forms and streamlined design. For your pool to best reflect the style, consider a rectangular design with rounded corners for a balanced and visually appealing look.
Freeform pools can also work well. These shapes can introduce a contrasting element to the straight lines of the home’s architecture and add a touch of elegance and softness.
Consider incorporating materials such as white or light-colored tiles, geometric mosaic patterns, or sleek and reflective surfaces to enhance the Art Deco style. Pay attention to the surrounding landscaping and decking to ensure they complement the pool shape and overall design.
Every night is game night and there’s always a friendly competition underway. Your family isn’t one to sit around watching TV all weekend. You want to get outdoors and stay active, believing the family that plays together stays together.
A rectangle shape is going to maximize your pool’s swimming space and potential for whole-family fun. Rectangle pool designs with flat-bottom depths are perfectly paired with a volleyball net or pool-friendly basketball hoop, while every Thursday Pools includes built-in bench seating whenever anyone needs a break from the action.
You want to be just steps away from feeling like you’re at an all-inclusive luxury resort or stepping into the crystal-clear water at your own private beach retreat.
Both freeform shaped pools and rectangle pools are popular among luxury resort-style pools. Whether they feature a beach entry, tanning ledge, wrap-around benches or sun shelf, these areas allow for relaxation, sunbathing, and shallow-water lounging, giving the pool a more luxurious and leisurely feel.
The Ultimate Party Hosts
You have a big family and fun-loving friends who love spending weekends at your house. Whether it’s a birthday party, family reunion, or holiday, you love enjoying the outdoors in a social setting.
A large rectangle pool offers wide-open swim lanes, while a curvy freeform lets groups socialize throughout the pool on wraparound benches and deep-end swim-outs. A Roman shape complete with spillover spa or sunken living area helps make for a welcoming and inviting swimming experience for the entire guest list.