4 Tips for Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

As soon as the cool weather clears, barbecue season will be underway in most parts of the world. It may sound odd to “barbecue in style” but it’s definitely possible with an outdoor kitchen. An outdoor kitchen is an elegant and upscale addition to any home, turning a backyard into a leisurely lounge area for entertaining and hanging out.

For individuals or families that like to host big shindigs, an outdoor kitchen is the answer. It will boost your home value, contribute an excellent summer gathering spot, and make hosting parties just that much easier.

Outdoor kitchens have been in vogue for a while in upscale homes, but they’re still making their way into regular residences. What most homeowners don’t know is that it can cost as little as $3000 to design and install an outdoor kitchen in your home – you just have to know where to start.

Plan the Layout

Plan the Layout
Decide where you want your kitchen to go. If your home has a deck, that’s likely where you’ll want it set up. Determine also how you will want the outdoor kitchen laid out. Homes with larger decks and patios can usually make room for wrap-around countertops, which are always a luxurious touch.

However, a single marquee-style outdoor kitchen can also be tastefully done and implemented in a smaller yard.

If your home has an overhang that covers the back deck, you’ll want to keep your outdoor kitchen under this. While weatherproof outdoor cabinetry is available, it can be a pain to clean an exposed outdoor kitchen. Furthermore, it will complicate food prep.

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Homes that don’t have an overhang can purchase a canopy and raise it over their outdoor kitchen, designating it its own little spot in the backyard.

Choose Your Appliances

Choose Your Appliances
Appliances will depend on the amount of space you have to accommodate your outdoor kitchen. A stainless steel refrigerator would be a sleek, convenient, and weatherproof touch if you have a little more room.

No matter how much room you have though, a grill & the electric smoker is a must-have. Outdoor grill cabinets are great space-savers for smaller outdoor kitchens. The grill is built into the surface of the cabinetry and they come with their own storage. The electric smoker can fit at any corner of your outdoor kitchen and can be safe just with a cover on it.

If you’re looking for a more ornate add-on to your outdoor kitchen, consider a Big Green Egg tabletop grill. These kamado-style cookers are unique in appearance and a great conversation starter, though they can take up a bit of room.

Pick Your Cabinetry

Pick Your Cabinetry
This is the heart of your outdoor kitchen project. The cabinetry you choose will determine the aesthetic and the functionality of your outdoor kitchen. Bright white cabinetry exudes elegance and chic style, while darker, mahogany-colored cabinetry will achieve a more rustic look.

If you have abundant room for an outdoor kitchen, invest in different kinds of cabinetry. Outdoor wall cabinets are great for storage and can have a glass enclosure if you have special china or dishware you want to display. In addition to cabinets with a built-in grill, there are also cabinets with a built-in sink base, allowing your outdoor kitchen to have all the same amenities as your indoor one.

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It’s important to choose the right material for your outdoor cabinetry, however. PVC cabinetry is cheap, but flimsy. Steer toward outdoor cabinets built with High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). This is the most durable and sturdy material for outdoor cabinets. It is weather-resistant, easy to clean, and doesn’t fade.

Find the Right Lighting

Find the Right Lighting
The lighting you choose for your outdoor kitchen will depend on its overall style. If your kitchen has a more rustic feel, comprised of lighter wood cabinetry, you can opt for some antique-looking light fixtures. Torch lights or industrial hanging pendant lights with complement that overall décor.

If your outdoor kitchen follows a more modern style, with granite countertops and stark white or sleek black cabinetry, some minimalistic recessed lighting will be the way to go. An attractive ceiling fan with built-in lighting is also a plus for any outdoor kitchen, and will keep the area cool during warm summers.

An outdoor kitchen is a place for recreation and relaxation, so it’s important to ensure it’s both stylish and functional. Gone are the days of a simple stand-alone grill and an old rusty table. Outdoor kitchens symbolize luxury and leisure without the exorbitant price tag.