Pool Tiles & The Color of Pool Water

Pool Tiles & The Color of Pool Water
by AquaBlu Mosaics

Have a favorite pool water color? Here’s what you do to get it!

The color of your pool water should be relaxing, uplifting, inviting – and of course, fun. It’s no secret that colors impact our moods. The cool colors like blues and greens create a calming atmosphere, which therapists say has a positive impact on our mental health.

But which blue or green is best for you? There are many shades and everyone has a favorite.

In art, different shades are created by mixing primary colors and then using black or white to alter the tinting. The color of water starts off clear. Then along comes something called the Rayleigh Scattering effect and turns it blue. This is because water more easily absorbs longer wavelengths (the hot colors like red, yellow and orange) than shorter ones (the cool colors). Consequently, the wavelengths that are not absorbed (like blue and green) are reflected and captured by our eyes.

The Other Factors

The color of pool water is also influenced by many other factors, such as:

  • Pool depth – The deeper the pool, the bluer the water. However, when the water is no deeper than 20 inches, the water will appear transparent.

  • Time of day/Sunlight – Another crucial factor is sunlight. Pool water changes color throughout the day depending on the amount of sunlight. Full sun refracts more light enhancing the water color, while shaded pool water via trees, structures or clouds makes the water look clearer.

  • Environment – The color and quantity of hardscape and foliage/landscaping around the pool affects water color. For pools surrounded by vegetation the water will take on a green tone. If the pool is surrounded by plants (especially large trees) it will look greener and darker. If the surrounding landscape is desert-like, the water will look clearer.

  • Water condition -- Water color will fluctuate based on the balance of the water. If the water is cloudy or if there is algae present, this will obviously change the color of the pool. Cloudy water will not reflect the light in the same way crystal clear water will and you will lose that depth and vibrance. Water that is green with algae, or yellow because of high concentrations of metals from well water also factor.

Mosaic Pool Tile

Perhaps the greatest influencer of swimming pool water is the color of the pool tile you select – especially in laying out waterline pool tile. For example, there’s a reason hotels and spas are fond of white mosaic pool tile. White gives a sensation of purity, relaxation and harmony. It also tends to make the pool water look sky blue, which is a preferred color for many travelers.

The impact of other colored swimming pool tiles:


As you might expect, blue glass tile will make pool water look blue. But what you might not know is that the shade of blue will also be reflected in water color. Darker blue shades will give you darker blue water.


If you’re in love with muted or earth-tones, consider waterline mosaic pool tile that is cream or taupe-colored. For a darker shade choose brown or darker beige colored tiles.


Like the color of the sea? Gray mosaic pool tiles have become fashionable because the combination of gray and water equals a beautifully harmonious shade of blue -- one that’s esthetically integrated into the environment.


Designers like green mosaic tiles because they can transform pool water into a more natural appearing body of water. The water will still look blue but take on a relaxing tone. Surround the pool with green vegetation and watch the water look greener.


Here’s a little-known fact about red mosaic tile: It will make your swimming pool water look clear and transparent. It isn’t commonly used, but then again if your aim is to build an exciting designer pool, this could be an important design element.

The Glass Tile Bonus

Glass mosaic tile used for waterlines won’t completely change the color of your pool water, but it will give it a jolt. That’s because waterline glass tile captures sunlight and mirrors the water’s movement. Glass pool tile comes in many different colors and textures, so consider tiling your entire pool in glass to really create a stunning and unique aquatic environment in your backyard. Many glass tiles have an iridescent effect that changes based on the angle of light. The ever-changing appearance throughout the day adds additional beauty and visual interest to your whole pool area.

Water movement can impact the color as well. A pool with a fountain or waterfall will look more vibrant because of the light prisms created by the moving water. It doesn’t exactly change the color of the water, but it does add depth and variation to the color.


Need help with figuring out which pool tile color to go with? Or maybe you have other questions? The experts at AquaBlu Mosaics are here to help you! Call us at (800) 971-1442 or fill out our contact form.