An outdoor kitchen is considered by many to be the height of outdoor entertainment. Whether you want to create a simple outdoor cooking space that includes a grill, a table and a few chairs or you are interested in building a more elaborate kitchen with a variety of appliances, designated dining area, storage and ambiance, adding an outdoor kitchen is a great way to extend your living space and maximize the time you spend outside enjoying the sunshine.
There are several things you should consider when planning for your new kitchen. Think about how you plan to use the space and where exactly you want to put it, as well as what materials will work best for your specific needs and how to decorate it.
Follow these seven tips for creating the ultimate outdoor cooking space.
1. Plan Your Design
The first step in creating an outdoor cooking space is coming up with a design. Take measurements of your patio and determine how much of that space will be designated to your kitchen and how much of it will be used for seating and entertaining. Then, use this information to come up with a plan for your layout.
2. Maximize Your Space
Outdoor cooking areas are an extension of your home. Make the most of this space by thinking about ways you can utilize it no matter what time of year it is. In the summer, a shaded kitchen will make cooking and entertaining more comfortable and enjoyable for you and your guests.
Plant some trees for natural shade or add a pergola to help shield your space from sunlight. To enjoy your outdoor kitchen in the cooler months when the temperature starts to drop, consider adding an outdoor fireplace or fire pit to keep the space warm and cozy.
3. Choose Appliances and Other Essentials
Grills are a fundamental appliance in any outdoor cooking space, but there are a variety of other options to consider depending on your needs:
Most people start with a grill and include additional appliances around that. There are many different types of grills available, so make sure to do your research. You can also include a smoker, outdoor oven or fryer.
If you have the room for it, a small refrigerator is another useful appliance to add to your outdoor kitchen. It allows you to store food and beverages close-by so your guests don’t have to constantly walk in and out of your house for something to drink.
Cabinets are another crucial element of indoor and outdoor kitchens.
More often than not, sinks are overlooked in outdoor kitchen design. Adding a sink to your outdoor cooking space will allow you to clean your dishes without having to run them inside.
Keep in mind that when shopping for appliances, you need to look for those that are specifically designed for outdoor use.
4. Select Your Materials
An outdoor kitchen functions the same as an indoor kitchen, but because it is exposed to rain, wind, sunlight and extreme temperatures, it needs to be made out of materials that are designed to withstand the elements. Stainless steel is a popular option for countertops, appliances, and sinks because it is easy to clean and will hold up well in a variety of conditions.
5. Decide Decor and Lighting
Just how you would decorate the inside of your home, you should decorate your outdoor kitchen, too. Put the finishing touch on your space by adding decorations and lighting designed for the outdoors. Outdoor lighting will help extend the amount of time you spend outside.
Keep your outdoor kitchen safe by illuminating your walkways and stairs. Install task lighting over surfaces where you prepare and cook your food and use mood lighting to add a touch of ambiance to your space. If you really want to impress your guests, consider adding a chandelier over your outdoor dining area. Some people consider chandeliers too extravagant, but they are useful in creating an elegantly intimate setting while still managing to provide an ample amount of light.
6. Shop Outdoor Furniture and Seating
No outdoor kitchen would be complete without a place for you and your guests to sit and enjoy your meals. Choose a dining table big enough to fit several people and stackable chairs that will help save space when your outdoor kitchen is not being used. Remember that this furniture will be outside, so select durable pieces and fabrics that are resistant to moisture and fading from the sun.
7. Be smart and safe
Most professionals would not advise you to build your outdoor cooking space under a covered structure because of the amount of smoke grills can produce, but if covering your kitchen is in your building plans, then make sure the area is well-ventilated and that there is plenty of space between the grill and the ceiling to avoid the risk of accidental fires.
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Designing an outdoor cooking space is a large and time-consuming project that can take months of planning and construction, but once it is finally built, you’ll be ready to start entertaining! Whether you are planning a big celebration, hosting a party or simply inviting your family and closest friends over for a home-cooked meal outdoors, you will be able to celebrate your new kitchen by putting it to good use.
Image credit: Pixabay
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