When you mention pool furniture, many people think of the tables, chairs, sofas, and umbrellas that go around the pool, not in it. The reality is that there is an entire category of in-pool furniture designed for a baja shelf or tanning shelf literally in the pool, in the water.
In this blog, I’ll break down a couple of furniture options specifically designed for in-pool use, as well as a few accessories perfect for being used in proximity to your pool.
What is a tanning ledge or baja shelf in a pool?
The small, shallow flat area associated with some inground pools is commonly called a Baja shelf, sun shelf, or tanning shelf. A Baja shelf is basically an area of the pool that is 6 to 12 inches deep and serves as the entryway as opposed to stairs or a ladder. Many people lounge here, partially submerged in the water. Children can play here in safer, more shallow water; dogs love it too.
If you’re thinking of building a pool, these can be built-in or adjacent to the pool. The adjoining type is best slightly raised, so water flows into the pool to provide a cool waterfall effect.
If you already have a pool, today I want to cover a couple of furniture options you can consider.
Can you use patio furniture in the pool?
It’s not a good idea to use patio furniture inside your pool because it can easily get waterlogged or damaged over time, particularly wooden patio furniture.
The difference in in-pool furniture vs patio furniture
Dedicated pool furniture made of PVC won’t become waterlogged, rot, or rust over time unlike a typical wooden Adirondack chair. Although some wood species like teak hold up to water pretty well, repeated exposure to water, chlorine, or salt can ruin these pieces.
Metal will also be attacked by chemicals in the pool and will eventually rust over time. Even those plastic lounge chairs will float when you don’t want them to, and can easily be blown over.
Plastic chairs and loungers can technically be used on a Baja shelf, but there are better (and more aesthetically pleasing options) out there.
8 in-pool furniture and accessories to consider
There are a couple of different categories of in-pool furniture to choose from. Some items rest on a tanning ledge and can be purchased at a premium, while others are designed to float and are really more of a novelty than premium furniture.
Ledge Lounger is the company to know about when it comes to in-pool chairs. They are pioneers in this category of furniture, and most of these items in this list (like bar stools and tables) are manufactured by them.
1. In-pool chaise lounge
The easiest and most comfortable thing you want to use on your tanning ledge is a chaise lounge. You can find various different models.
Most of these you can find in their Amazon store like the chairs pictured above. I found these in the Ledge Lounger Amazon section here.
Ledge Lounger also carries these in a variety of colors and models as you can see on their website.
Check out this post where I cover 7 of the best in-pool chairs for a tanning ledge. Here I break down what I like about each chair on the market today, plus which one to choose based on your tanning shelf and preferences.
2. In-pool umbrella
Since these chairs are really the most common type of furniture in this category, you may also want to pick up an offset umbrella to shade everything like this one.
Some pools I’ve seen actually have an umbrella mount submerged in water on the tanning ledge (as you can see in the image above) that will fit most umbrellas.
I would probably opt for a weatherproof umbrella material and a composite or artificial pole if you plan to anchor these or leave them exposed to water for an extended period of time. Again, Ledge Lounger has you covered here.
3. In-pool bar stools
Another idea for in-pool furniture is barstools. These pieces sit on the bottom of the pool in deeper water and are perfect if you want to use the side of the pool as essentially a bar.
You can get different types of barstools, either a simple pedestal like the image above I found here, or a more comfortable model with a molded seat and a comfortable niche for your feet.
Ledge Lounger has a few in this category. Of course, if you plan to have an island in your pool with a swim-up bar, these are usually made of concrete and installed when the pool is poured.
4. Tanning ledge tables
Along with the bar stools, another option is to purchase a side table that you can place in the middle of a couple of chaise lounges, like the in image above.
I found a set like the one pictured above here on Amazon, but you can also find some larger standalone tables at some specialty pool shops. These are more difficult to find online based on what I’ve experienced.
Floating tables for your pool
If you’re looking for something a little more fun and temporary that you can use to play cards on (make sure they’re waterproof cards), they do make floating card tables like this one.
You can also find plenty of floating options with a spot for your smartphone and speakers as well as your drinks. Some even hold champagne bottles…but don’t get too crazy!
5. In-pool water slide for your Baja ledge
A fun accessory for the ledge if you have kids is a water slide (click here for an example). This can be positioned entirely on the tanning shelf, making it easy for children to slide into the shallow water of the shelf.
Quick note: One thing to remember with cheap plastic furniture not designed for pool use, is that sunlight can fade and degrade it with time. It’s best to store it out of the sun when it’s not in use.
6. Floating pool chairs
Aside from the more expensive furniture specifically designed for the Baja ledge, if you’re just looking for a more affordable chair you can float around on in your shelf, the Poolmaster floating chaise lounge isn’t a bad option for around $100 on Amazon.
Another model lets you stretch out with a canopy for your head/upper body and is even more affordable. You can pick it up here for around $50 the last time I checked.
Accessories to place around your Baja shelf
7. Fire pits or fire bowls
Fire pits and pools do actually go together…well, sort of. If you are undergoing new pool construction, one option is to select a design that incorporates fire pits on the corners or edges. Many inground pools are built with overhangs specifically designed to house fire pits or bowls. Some with ledges for seating.
This is something to consider if it’s not too late in the process since you will want your pool builder to run gas lines to these fire pits or advise you as to the best option for fueling these.
Propane and wood-burning fire pits do not require gas lines (as natural gas pits do), so this is something to consider as well. I personally like fire bowls as you see pictured above, which I found on Amazon for around $100.
8. Fire columns
If your pool has already been constructed, one cool option you can actually purchase here on Amazon is a fire column. These you can place on the corners of your pool surround for less than $300 apiece.
These types of fire columns are an excellent option if you already have a standard inground pool, due to the fact that it can blend into your landscaping (or pool exterior) depending on the type that you purchase.
As you can see, you have many options for accessories and furniture to let you relax and have fun in your pool, with or without a tanning ledge.
If staying cool is a priority and you don’t really want to worry about storing or moving temporary floats or pool chairs, adding some in-pool furniture is a great choice.
For more luxury pool furniture and accessory ideas, check out my post here, where I cover 12 of the best luxury furniture sets, chairs, and accessories on the market.
This post was updated on July 22, 2022.