Warmer, sunnier days bring more time spent outdoors and, hopefully, more delicious cookouts! If you’ve considered creating an outdoor kitchen, you may know it’s easy to get bogged down by all of the different options – from appliances and materials to lighting and overall style. But if you follow the essential tips below, you’ll soon have an inviting space made for entertaining and cooking al fresco.
- Plan With a Purpose:Before you start perusing Pinterest and other websites for inspiration, consider how you want this outdoor space to serve YOU. Will it be primarily for small family meals, hosting events, or barbecues? Knowing this ahead of time will help guide your decisions in the long run, making everything easier to create your perfect outdoor kitchen. You’ll also want to consider things like the size of your outdoor space, the weather in your area, and what functionality options you’ll need.
- Choose Durable Materials: Once you have an idea of what you want this space to look like, you’ll want to select durable materials that can withstand various weather conditions. For an outdoor kitchen, you’ll want to opt for materials like stainless steel, stone, and tile because they’re resistant to rust, fading, and moisture damage. Luckily, durable doesn’t mean drab – you can still create a stunning aesthetic with these materials!
- Select Appliances You’ll Utilize:There’s no use having a grill if you’re not actually going to use it. Consider how you want to use your outdoor kitchen and what makes the most sense for you. If you do want a grill as a centerpiece, will it be gas, charcoal, or a combination? Will you need a refrigerator and sink? Consider how much storage you’ll want as well to keep any utensils and supplies organized. Depending on your cooking preferences, you may also want to include a pizza oven, a smoker, or a built-in stovetop!
- Consider Countertop Space: Having sufficient countertop space is essential for food prep, plating, and serving in your outdoor kitchen. Again, you’ll want to consider durable materials like granite or quartz that are easy to clean and maintain in an outdoor environment. The addition of an outdoor bar or an island with seating for extra workspace could be something to consider as well.
- Don’t Forget Lighting and Shade:Outdoor kitchens should be well-lit to ensure both safety and functionality, especially during evening cookouts. Be sure to install adequate lighting, including task lighting for food preparation areas, ambient lighting for the dining space, and any accent lighting. Additionally, you’ll want to provide shade to protect from direct sunlight or rain – this shade can come in the form of pergolas, umbrellas, or retractable awnings.
- Comfortable Seating and Entertainment: While having the proper appliances is key, if your aim is ultimately to entertain and create an inviting space, you’ll want to incorporate seating options that are not only cozy but weather-resistant as well! Add a dining table and chairs for formal meals, and create fun lounge areas with outdoor sofas, chairs, and coffee tables. Don't forget to add in an outdoor sound system or a mounted TV if you’re looking to spend a lot of time in this area!
The key to creating the perfect outdoor kitchen is simple: plan with purpose! From there, everything else will fall into place. From choosing durable materials and selecting essential appliances, to determining proper lighting and shade, you’ll soon have a great space for cooking and entertaining.