Finding the right environment for your home can be a fun and challenging venture. From the bedrooms, main areas and kitchen, there are a myriad of options and themes to incorporate into your interior design. Kitchens, in particular, are often overlooked as a centerpiece or focal point of a home. For many, it is a functional space only. However, adapting your kitchen can be an unexpected and equally elegant investment.
Outdoor kitchens are growing in popularity in moderate weather regions. Even in temperamental seasons, many homes benefit from an outdoor space to cook, socialize, and dine. Summer barbecues and Spring celebrations are often held out in nature, so why not extend your home into these spaces and enhance your next party or get together?
We’ve collected the design secrets for a stunning outdoor kitchen so you can take the guesswork out of designing and constructing your next project:
Go Organic and Blend in with Nature
For some, an outdoor kitchen should look like it belongs there. There are many materials and design choices that can mimic the outdoors, including adding greenery such as pothos or small cedar plants. Additionally, functional plants like rosemary bushes and planting sage and thyme act as resources for when you’re cooking and entertaining. During the warmer months, these herbs emit a wonderful appetizing scent, adding to the overall feel of your outdoor kitchen.
For a natural look, infuse wood into your pergola and other built shelving. Cedar and pine incorporate seamlessly into any backyard and look organic. For humid climates, cedar is often chosen due to its ability to withstand a higher moisture in the air. Pine is a popular option for drier climates, but ensuring that your wood is treated properly can assist in any environment.
Mind Your Budget
As with any project, outlining your budget for project completion will save you from unexpected issues or sourcing materials. Layout your allowances and where you’re willing to save, as well as splurge, to set a strong foundation for your entire design. In some cases, you can easily bundle items and services together for a savings if you go with one supplier. However, balancing between performance and savings is up to each person. With your budget finalized, you can make choices with less stress and know where you are at all points in the process. If creating outdoor kitchens is your business, having a clearly defined budget will keep everyone on track.
Create an Extension of Your Indoor Kitchen
Struggling to come up with a design or theme for your outdoor kitchen? A simple solution is to extend the existing indoor kitchen. Incorporate colors, materials, and accents from the indoors to make it feel like the space was always meant to be there. If your kitchen has a traditional Southern design with white, stainless steel, and blue accents, choose to paint your shelves and seating white and snag your appliances in the same material that you already have indoors.
This strategy works because no matter how the home or decor changes, the indoor and outdoor spaces will have a synergy that feels comfortable and flows consistently.
Storage Will Save Your Outdoor Kitchen
While you’re busy building and assembling your structural changes, don’t forget to grab your storage items. Solutions as simple as installing cabinetry or open cubby squares under tables and side counters will offer easy organization without taking away space. Some designers will choose to add lockable or sealing storage to keep critters out of the items in the space, and avoid the inevitable leaves, dust, and rain.
Invest in Appliances for Value
Some use their outdoor kitchen for simply eating and socializing, while others wish to cook and entertain outside. Depending on your needs, multiple appliances will not only get the job done but they will add value to the home. Grills, smokers and barbecues are popular options for cooking enthusiasts that allow for larger meals and no limits due to the open air design of an outdoor kitchen. Small fridges and freezers can also be built into the layout for storage or keeping items cool before cooking.
Lighting is Your Friend
One of the most underrated elements of any outdoor space is the lighting that accents it. Whether it’s daytime or late at night, infusing both natural and artificial light sources can bring personality to the forefront. If you’re mainly looking to use it during light hours, adding plenty of vents in pergolas and shades to brighten the area works well. Strategically use shade as a way to direct light and keep vital areas cooler, like seating and dining spots.
Layout, Layout, Layout
You have your design theme solidified, the storage and accent pieces acquired, and storage options completed, but the layout of the space still feels like an obstacle. Ensure that your guests and yourself are in an outdoor kitchen that you love. Before you assemble anything, craft a layout that works for your needs.
L-shaped outdoor kitchens are a great option for a narrow but long building space, while rounded or square shaped layouts work as a universal gathering area. When all appliances that are required are chosen, place them within your layout to see which spots are compatible with the existing electrical and functional needs.