An outdoor kitchen can be a stylish and comfortable space that makes the out-of-doors a functional part of your home. Designed with all seasons in mind, it can be a comfortable gathering and dining place in spring, summer, fall and winter. And, according to a report by Zillow, an outdoor kitchen can bump up the value of your home by about 24.5 percent.
Here are 10 design tips gleaned from experts.
1: Determine your budget, space and style, then have fun planning. Depending on your budget, your project can be a contractor build with conveniences and features you’d find in an indoor kitchen; or it can be DIY with a gazebo or pergola, a fireplace, string lights, outdoor wicker furniture with cushions and pillows, and an outdoor rug.
2: Locate the outdoor kitchen close to the house. This will provide easy access to electricity and water, and make bringing supplies to and from the house much simpler.
3: Outdoor furniture and rugs help create a gathering space that is comfortable and stylish. Outdoor wicker, for example, is timeless, durable and easy to care for. Add cushions and pillows for more comfort and style.
4: Small space? No matter. Consider installing an awning window or casement window that opens the indoor kitchen to an outside counter with bar seating. Your indoor kitchen is now an outdoor kitchen as well. The addition of a pergola can add to the comfort of guests and provide weather protection for your outdoor furnishings.
5: Use materials that are weather-resistant and can be wiped down easily for quick cleanup. For countertops and other surfaces, stay away from porous stone, like marble, and unsealed wood that can absorb liquids and stains. Hot drinks and hot plates won’t mar countertops made from concrete, engineered quartz and stainless steel.
6: Install an outdoor cabinet for glasses, plates, utensils and grilling accessories. Many outdoor kitchen cabinets are attractive and durable — for example, a stainless-steel frame and UV-resistant, louver-style doors in a wood-grain finish. And most outdoor kitchen cabinets can easily be moved.
7: A bar can be a great place from which to serve refreshments and store glasses, blender and other barware. A bar doesn’t need to have plumbing to be convenient: Add a small refrigerator, an insulated cooler and an outdoor water cooler or on-table drink dispenser (many stores carry shatter-resistant drink dispensers that have an elegant, hammered-glass look).
8: String lights add a magical touch to any outdoor space. Outdoor speakers are durable and weatherproof and are available in a variety of shapes and colors. Electric and propane patio heaters can add comfort during cool nights.
9: Speaking of magical touch, make a rainy day a great time to be outside. Use corrugated tin for gazebo or patio roofing — for visual interest and a beautiful rain-on-a-tin-roof soundscape.
10: Use citronella candles and torches to keep your outside kitchen free of mosquitoes and other pesky flying insects.
One last bit of advice: Enjoy your investment of time and creativity — and the years of memories to come.
Sources include Houzz, HomeDNC and Zillow.