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Outdoor Kitchen Design Ideas That You Might Want To Consider

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David Larsen
I’m a husband, dad, food blogger, photographer, writer, social media boss, entrepreneur.

One of the main takeaways from 2020 is that having outdoor space is a wonderful privilege; the more you can maximize that, the better. Outdoor barbecues and get-togethers are excellent for meeting up with friends and family while maintaining the necessary social distance.

In scenarios like this, an outdoor kitchen can be a life-saver. It could go hand in hand with a patio, or be a stand-alone feature. Basically, an outdoor kitchen is a dedicated section outside the home where one can cook, prepare meals, and entertain just as they would inside, but with the addition of enjoying some fresh air.

It could also be designed in such a way that expands on your living room, adding a section akin to a balcony – but without the additional height. If you’re thinking of adding an outdoor kitchen, then the following designs may be worth considering. 

A Modern Approach 

modern outdoor kitchen

A sleek, modern design doesn’t have to feel cold or remote. The all-white blank canvas, minimalistic approach is nice and all, but it’s not the ultimate show-stopper of modern designs for outdoor kitchens. One direction that is both contemporary in feel while maintaining that signature cozy, homey vibe is wood paneling.

Your kitchen island can feature wood paneling with a large grill built into it – or whichever feature you think is worth incorporating to help upgrade your cooking experience. Coupled with some neutral stone countertops, this design can be both streamlined and congenial.


There are outdoor counterparts to pretty much any and all indoor kitchen devices you can think of. So, when looking to design your outdoor kitchen, think of the features you really need out there, and then you can build the aesthetic around that. This is ideal if you have a prefabricated and custom design made by people who specialize in creating outdoor kitchens and grill areas.

There are plenty of features that can be shipped to your door, but for many, a grill is considered to be the center of an outdoor kitchen design. After all, the thing you’ll most likely be doing in an outdoor kitchen is grilling, and it needs to be designed by you and a designer to get the perfect setup and positioning as well. However, there are many choices to make in that arena. You could consider a pellet grill. Or, if preparing pizza is your thing, then pizza ovens can make for an exciting alternative. 

Also, consider whether you need additional storage cabinets for food and tools; or a cooler to help store drinks and food outside. Also, think of how fancy you want to be? Maybe in the aftermath of the pandemic, you’ve gotten super into entertaining and want to do something especially nice for your guests. In that case, consider getting a side burner to help you make mahi-mahi or a lovely lobster boil.

If you’re a fan of pub food and want to make surf and turf, you’ll need more than one grill – one for seafood and the other for steaks, for example. So be sure to think of installing that. Another major question to ask yourself is how big of a crowd you want to entertain. If you’re looking to entertain large groups of people, rather than intimate gatherings, you may need to ensure that your outdoor kitchen is equipped to take on all that cooking.

So, if you would like more than one of these features, then you will have to design your kitchen especially well to accommodate the different things you have in mind. In addition, before buying different appliances, you need to make sure that they are rated for outdoor use since the humidity and temperatures vary widely from indoor appliances.

Add a Roof

A hybrid outdoor kitchen plus patio is lovely, but design-wise, you may not have the necessary protection to entertain your guests or cook properly when the weather takes a turn. Gazebo styles have become incredibly popular as of late, and that’s because they offer both utility and great looks. A roof adds protection and some much-needed shade for those really hot summer days. It also helps to extend your kitchen’s grilling time since it can help keep things going, even if it’s raining. It’s really a helpful idea since you never have to consider canceling an outdoor event again because the weather has taken a turn and you’re worried about your guests getting soaked. 

A roof makes the outdoor kitchen even more dynamic and allows you to get full use out of your grill. Actually, if you add a roof, you might as well consider adding a fan to help you feel less hampered on extremely hot days or even a portable electric heater for the winter. You as the cook will be able to work comfortably in the outdoor kitchen, and your guests will definitely enjoy their time.

Consider Bar Seats

One design element to consider is adding bar seats. An outdoor kitchen shouldn’t be terribly formal, and the atmosphere should feel convivial and conducive to conversation. As a design idea, bar seats help to do just that. Sure, the guests can talk amongst themselves, but then you will end up feeling alone at the grill, sadly flipping burgers in silence. You might as well be cooking indoors if that’s the case. So, try imagining a wide countertop that gives you extra space to prep and cook, with bar stools on the other side for people to join you. Your friends will be able to enjoy the wonderful aromas from the grill and all your hard work, while also being able to chat with the talented chef. 


outdoor kitchen lighting

Finally, perhaps the last – and arguably most important – design element you should consider is the lighting. Sure, you may be planning mostly daytime grilling adventures, but for long summer nights, you will need some lights. You can consider adding subtle lights under the seating area, and around the countertops, or other, more strategic areas to add a soft, cozy, and romantic glow. The lighting should help underscore the natural beauty of your outdoor space, rather than obscure it.

Getting some of the landscaping work done for the patio and outdoor kitchen can be a bit overwhelming, especially given the number of options available to you. However, it’s also a lot of fun to think about; at least it’s an endeavor that will not only enhance family time but will also work to increase your home’s value on the market.

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