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.
01. Decide how the kitchen space will be used
“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
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
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
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
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.”
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