Deciding on Water Color of a Swimming Pool

Pool water colors have changed a lot over the past couple decades. Pool owners now have a wide variety of color options from which to choose, ranging from light blue to almost black.

The pool’s finish is a very important aspect to the overall look of a pool, and finishes come in a wide range of options too, many of which I will discuss on my YouTube channel, but for now I want to focus on water color. If you prefer to watch this via video, Please click HERE! 

Choosing the Water Color of a Swimming Pool

There are so many decisions that go into building a beautiful custom gunite pool. From choosing which type of pool best suites you to selecting water tile, the options are endless. Choosing water color is no different, there are a variety of shades from which to select and the decision can be overwhelming. Whether you are building a new pool or refinishing an existing one, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made.

Let’s start by discussing the two primary water colors for a swimming pool, blue and green. The shades of blue or green are determined by many factors. The main determining factor for water color is the background dye in the finish. If you want green water, the finish should be green, brown, tan, or black. For blue water, the finish should be white, blue, or gray.

The examples above are plaster finishes with colored dyes. The first row of finishes will make the water appear light blue since the pigment has shades of white. The bottom row will make the water appear dark blue, since the pigment colors are gray and blue. The two rows in the middle will give varying shades of blue and green. I borrowed these samples from a tile store, they are from Diamond Brite, one of the colored plaster lines offered by select pool builders. Diamond Brite has a variety of colors, ranging from basic colors to a blend of colors. The Watercolor Series listed above is a combination of colors by Diamond Brite that gives more of a custom color for those wanting a wider variety of shades within a color. This is the series I am most interested in, as  I am looking for a blend of colors.

Deciding on the color palette is an important first step to getting the look you want in the pool. Do you want to see blue or green? Do you want a lighter or darker shade? Once you decide which shade you want, then selecting a finish will be easier.

Other Factors that Determine the Color of the Water

There are also other factors that go into determining the color of the water that you don’t have any control over like the weather. Pool water looks considerably different on sunny days than it does on overcast days. Other factors like yards that are heavily shaded by existing structures or trees, will make pool water color appear darker. The colors surrounding the pool can also affect the water color at times, reflecting off the surface of the water.

The depth of the pool can also affect the water color. The deeper the pool, the deeper the color. For example, if you select a white plaster finish, you’ll notice that the blue is darker in color at the deepest end of the pool, while it appears very light at the shallow end and near the steps or ledges. Spas can also appear lighter than the pool as well, even though they have the same finish, because of the depth.

The next factor that can impact the color is water movement. Pools with waterfalls or fountains will appear more vivid due to the light prisms created by the moving water. This won’t totally change the color of the water, rather it adds depth and color variation as the water moves around the pool.

Confused yet? I know I was, so many factors to consider when selecting a colored plaster. Stay tuned to find out what color we chose.

Examples of Colored Plaster in Swimming Pools

Let’s take a look at the water color of some pools I included in a prior post Before Taking “the Plunge” to Build a Swimming Pool, Ask Yourselves these Questions.


via Pinterest

This pool has a white plaster bottom giving the pool water the most natural look that we have come accustomed to seeing, a light blue.


via Pinterest

Pool water that leans green is similar to this aqua colored pool. Notice all the trees and it seems that this pool get a lot of shade, making the water appear darker.


via Pinterest

This is an example of a very dark shade of blue, which can sometimes appear almost black. Moody and beautiful in my eyes, I love dark bottoms.

Lastly, the water itself is the final factor that affects the color. If your pool water has algae or is cloudy, this will change the color of the pool. Cloudy water does not reflect light the way clear water does; therefore you’ll lose its usual vibrancy and depth. Algae growth also causes pool water to become green (and not a pretty green) and high iron levels will show as yellow, both of which can drastically affect the color of your pool depending upon the severity.  It’s important to have proper water treatment and filtration to ensure your pool finish and water color will remain bright and vibrant, just the way you want it.

So many options and choices. In my next post, I’ll talk about pool finishes.

(Update) Final Reveal of our New Pool

The Final Reveal is HERE, click on YouTube link to check out the water color we choose or Read about the full reveal HERE.

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10 thoughts on “Deciding on Water Color of a Swimming Pool

  1. Honestly Denise…’s a good thing I’m not building a pool as I don’t think I could handle that many choices! I admit I like the traditional turquoise blue look as blue is my favorite color. It looks pretty and sparkly, whereas those darker trendier colors look flat and make the water look dirty, but just my opinion.

    1. Hi Joni! The vast amount of choices and decisions I have had to make is mind boggling! I hear you on water color, many people don’t like the darker bottoms but I am hooked! Even with darker bottoms, there are many shades available. At the moment, I still have not made my final selection 😬

      1. Good luck! I don’t envy you the decisions but I envy you the pool and hope it will be finished soon so you can enjoy it this summer!

      2. Thank you Joni, you are so sweet. In talking to my Pool Builder, so many things are dependent on the Pool House structure, so this could take longer than I expected.

  2. One factor to consider is young, inexperienced swimmers and how often they will be at your home. I have heard that it is easier to see a struggling child in a pool with a lighter bottom. If you have parties with a lot of young families, this could be a safety issue worth considering.

  3. Oooh they’re all beautiful! I can’t wait to see what you decide – that’s a challenge for sure! 😉 I hear it’s hot back there – I bet you’re getting a little anxious for that nice cool pool! Take care and Happy Monday!

    1. Happy Monday Barbara. I would love the process to speed up, but the more I learn about it, things need to be done sequentially especially with the pool house for everything to run smoothly. So be it 🤷‍♀️

  4. Just found you and have spent 2 hours on your site! Yay! How do I find ‘the rest of the stories’???? I need to know ….what colors you chose!

    1. Hi Teri! So glad you found me. I haven’t posted a water color yet because our pool isn’t at that point because we are building a pool house in conjunction with the pool. But I will be picking a dark blue to compliment our landscape. Hope that helps!

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