The kitchen has been unofficially designated as the most important room in our homes—it’s where we begin and end our days, entertain friends, gather with family, and prep meals. And increasingly, homeowners are looking to duplicate those kitchen-y vibes in their outdoor spaces.
Outdoor kitchens are a fun and convenient way to expand your living space and experience all the benefits of your indoor kitchen in the open air. Adding an outdoor kitchen also increases the value of your home. According to Zillow, homes with outdoor kitchens sell for nearly 30 percent more than expected.
Think you want to add an outdoor kitchen to your home? Here are some factors to consider:
Outdoor kitchens can be a major investment of your time and money, so before taking the leap, make sure you feel confident that your dream space will be used often. Design options for outdoor kitchens are nearly endless, making it key for you to set a budget early in the process. Basic outdoor kitchens can include a grill and a store-bought outdoor bar/counter combo, while more elaborate spaces include all the bells and whistles and are fully functional.
Think realistically about how you’ll actually use your outdoor kitchen. First, consider the maximum number of people you could be cooking for so that your outdoor kitchen can accommodate the prep, cooking, and feeding of your guests. Then consider logistics. Will you really be preparing that entire Mediterranean-inspired feast outside, from prep to plating? Or will you prep food indoors and bring it outside to cook? If you envision doing lots of mixing and chopping alfresco, you may want a sink nearby to make cleanup a cinch.
If it’s in your indoor kitchen, chances are you can have it in your outdoor kitchen too. From kegerators to griddles, you’ll need to assess which cooking appliances you want, and which may end up gathering dust. Are you partial to the taste of charcoal-grilled meats or do you prefer the ease of a propane grill? Maybe you’ve always dreamed of an outdoor brick oven or a smoker. These appliances are impressive additions to outdoor kitchens, but they also take up valuable real estate that you’ll need to consider in the planning process.
Placement of your outdoor kitchen is an important factor. You want it to be accessible in all aspects—easy to get to and easy to use. Often that means placing the outdoor kitchen near the exit used more frequently from the back of the house for ease of cleanup, like the kitchen or family room. Sometimes, the outdoor kitchen belongs in another area of your landscape, such as near a pool or separate lounge area, to entice people to mingle and add to your outdoor ambience. Make sure the location within your yard is the right one for cooking. A windy area won’t make for good grilling, nor will somewhere too hot or too cold.
Size, layout, and style
The size of your outdoor kitchen ties into how you’ll use it. Will just one person be manning the food prep, cooking, and serving? Or will you need a space that can accommodate more than one cook in the kitchen? Think about how you use your indoor kitchen and whether any of those same design principles should apply to your outdoor space. The style of your outdoor kitchen should reflect your personal style and integrate seamlessly with your landscape.
Just like in your home’s interior, getting the lighting right in your outdoor space is essential, especially in your outdoor kitchen. You’ll want your food prep areas and grill well lit for utility and safety, while adding softer, more ambient lighting in your dining and gathering areas.
Ready to explore concepts for your outdoor kitchen? Our team at Outdoor Spaces designs and builds beautiful outdoor kitchens to fit a variety of needs and budgets. Call us for a consultation.