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5 Things You Shouldn’t Ignore When Planning An Outdoor Kitchen

When it comes to interior design, we’ve witnessed some big shifts in the past years. The outside is spilling into the inside, so it’s no wonder that another big trend is outdoor kitchens. In a 2022 report by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), 61% of respondents said that outdoor kitchens will be a prominent design feature in the next three years, especially among millennials. If you’re also in favor of this, here are 5 things you shouldn’t ignore when planning an outdoor kitchen.

SEE ALSO: 45+ White Kitchen Ideas That Prove The Trend Is Here To Stay

01. Decide how the kitchen space will be used

Plan how the outdoor kitchen will be used before ordering materials, recommends designer Catherine Staples. Photo: Aspen and Ivy

“Will you be preparing meals for your household or for frequent large gatherings? Knowing how you will use the outdoor kitchen will help you adequately space plan and choose appliances and storage options that are an appropriate size,” says Catherine Staples, principal designer at Aspen and Ivy, an interior design studio, based in Barrie, Ontario, who recently completed a stunning, nature-inspired kitchen in Loretto, Ontario.

02. Mirror your home’s existing materials

Find harmony among your outdoor kitchen, backyard hardscape, and house exterior. Photo: hikesterson

Staples shared a rule of thumb that will improve your design and narrow your options: “Design with your home’s existing materials, both indoor and outdoor, in mind so that your new structure will fit in seamlessly.” Repeating materials, be it brick, stucco, stone, or siding, can create a correspondence between the new space and its surroundings.


03. Weatherproof your outdoor kitchen

Don’t let the scorching sun ruin your outdoor kitchen fun. Photo: Leila Ashtari

While some materials, like brick and stone, are naturally suited to the outdoor, others, like wood, might require an extra step of preparation. Weatherproofing not only extends your outdoor kitchen’s lifespan, it also expands your design possibilities and enables you to think outside the box when it comes to materials.

04. Use lighting with intention

Thanks to a glamorous chandelier, the Lisa Gilmore–designed outdoor kitchen can pass for a fancy dining room. Photo: Amy Lamb

Lisa Gilmore, an interior designer based in Saint Petersburg, Florida, named by AD as a Leading Interior Designer in her region, knows that a well-lit kitchen is not only crucial for creating a functional cooking and entertaining space—it’s also an opportunity to infuse the space with your style. “People often think they have to do a boring outdoor light—broaden your horizons,” Gilmore says. “I promise it’s a great conversation starter.”

05. Plan storage for furniture and decor

Use the covered patio portion of the outdoor kitchen to store outdoor furniture that’s not in use. Photo: Martina Birnbaum

Storage is a principal concern for any kitchen, but for outdoor kitchens, storage of furniture and decor items is an additional consideration. “While construction is already underway, consider adding storage options for any furnishings or decor that will need to be put away when not in use,” Staples says. “Even the most durable outdoor furnishings and accessories can’t handle constant exposure [especially in a harsh climate] and will last longer if stored properly.”

READ MORE: 14 1960s Kitchen Ideas We Still Love Today

Now that you’ve read and loved our article on 5 Things You Shouldn’t Ignore When Planning An Outdoor Kitchen, feel free to pin all the images to your favorite Pinterest board or share them on social media. Don’t forget that you can visit our Pinterest Boards and find out the most outstanding bar stools and furniture ideas!

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