5 Tips for Designing an Outdoor Kitchen You’ll Love

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An outdoor kitchen is the heart and soul of outdoor living. From summer cookouts to fall tailgates, your backyard is an entertainment space that should feel like a true extension of your living space. Here in New England, these outdoor kitchens are outdoor escapes that turn a yard into a functional and inviting space to entertain and enjoy the outdoors. According to the most recent Outdoor Living Report conducted by Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens in 2023, “56% of homeowners say that their experience staying at a vacation rental home or hotel influences the design choices they make in their outdoor kitchen”. Creating a space that is both beautiful and functional changes the way you experience your yard. Working with a designer will help you create a stylish and functional space that complements your home and caters to your lifestyle. Let’s look at some of the key design considerations to make when planning your outdoor kitchen.

The Space Planning

When it comes to thinking through the functionality of an outdoor kitchen, the layout is key. How much storage space you need depends on how often you plan on using the outdoor kitchen. Are you a master chef who needs plenty of space for food prep, or do you plan to serve up snacks and drinks? If you have the square footage, consider adding an island or peninsula – perfect for incorporating extra seating and fostering a gathering space. Counter seating not only promotes socializing within the kitchen but also provides valuable prep space. One of the key pieces of outdoor kitchens is having plenty of prep space to minimize the amount of trips that you have to make in and out of your main kitchen. The beauty of having counter seating is that it promotes gathering in the kitchen, and offers additional prep space.

Considering a Covered Kitchen

Adding a cover to your outdoor kitchen lets you enjoy it year-round, come rain or shine. In warmer areas where outdoor kitchens become extensions of the living space, incorporating a cover can be the key to seamless integration. A covered kitchen will not only protect it from the elements but will also make it an enjoyable space that can be used throughout the year. It will also define the outdoor kitchen space and make it feel integrated in your backyard space.

Outdoor kitchen with white cabinetry, light gray stone counters, and a bright coastal inspired design.
Photo Credit – Danver Outdoor Kitchen Gallery

Creating Cohesion: Choosing the Counters & Backsplash

The countertop material you select plays a pivotal role in both the aesthetics and functionality of your outdoor kitchen. Similar to choosing countertops for your indoor kitchen, you’ll want to prioritize durability and a look that complements your overall design vision. It’s important to look at the outdoor kitchen as an extension of your kitchen. Having a backsplash behind the sink is a great way to keep the entire kitchen feeling finished and helps create a custom and luxurious feeling. Ultimately, a well-designed outdoor kitchen, complete with a beautiful countertop and backsplash, transforms your backyard into a cohesive and inviting space.

Must-Have Feature: Adding a Sink to Your Outdoor Kitchen

Choosing to have a sink integrated into your outdoor kitchen design will increase the functionality and make your outdoor kitchen an extension of your indoor kitchen. Instead of taking dishes in and out of your home, you can make the cleanup process easier. Many people choose to include plenty of cabinetry within the design so they have plenty of space to store dishware, utensils, and other cooking essentials. If you know you are going to have a sink included then having additional dishware to keep in your outdoor kitchen makes entertaining more convenient. See more of this custom KRB outdoor kitchen project in our Outdoor Kitchens Portfolio.

Beautiful + Functional Lighting

Lighting is an essential design consideration in your outdoor kitchen. The placement of your outdoor kitchen is so key if you want brighter task lighting, recessed lights are typically the best option. If the kitchen is going to be placed on an external wall of your home, hardwiring for recessed lights is typically the best choice. Placing the recessed lights on dimmers is another consideration so that you can fully control the intensity of the lighting, and create ambiance if you wish to. If your outdoor kitchen is located further from your house under a pergola or some sort of open structure, then the lighting options will be more of a restriction. That’s why in the early phases of the outdoor kitchen design, the lighting layout is something you’ll want to consider.

Extending Your Living Space

When you’re designing an outdoor kitchen it’s important to think about where else you’ll be able to sit, eat, and enjoy. Having a living area that includes seating will make your outdoor kitchen more of a gathering space that is both inviting and practical. While entertaining guests will be able to have conversations and enjoy your yard, and having this casual seating close to your kitchen will take your yard to the next level.

Photo Credit – NatureKast Outdoor Kitchen Gallery

Alfresco Entertaining Elevated: Design Your Dream Outdoor Kitchen Layout

The first step in planning your outdoor kitchen is the design. Considering the space, desired functionality, and your entertaining style. Explore our Outdoor Kitchen Gallery and find designs that speak to your aesthetic. Then browse through the cabinetry lines we design our custom outdoor kitchens with, Danver, known for its sleek, stainless steel look, or NatureKast, offering the warm wood look with weatherproof durability. Find a style to perfectly complement your outdoor living space.

– In the Press –

KRB Poolside Oasis Outdoor Kitchen In May Issue of Kitchen & Bath Design News

Our Poolside Oasis outdoor kitchen located in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire was featured in the May issue of Kitchen & Bath Design News. Read the full article and learn more about the design choices behind this beautiful kitchen.

Let’s Plan Your Outdoor Kitchen

We design our outdoor kitchens with fully weatherproof cabinetry lines that will withstand all of the New England weather. Visit Danver or Naturekast to explore their collections and discover the perfect cabinets to complete your dream outdoor space.

Landscape Designers + Professionals

Partner with us to create an outdoor living experience for your clients. Contact us to learn more about designs + purchasing outdoor cabinetry. We’d love to speak with you about a potential partnership. Email us directly at info@krbcompany.com, give us a call , or stop into our showroom to experience our outdoor kitchen displays and speak with us about how we can help you create the ultimate outdoor kitchen!

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Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens, (2023) Outdoor Living Report. The Harris Poll. https://brownjordanoutdoorkitchens.com/outdoor-living-report/

Author:KRB Kitchen & Bath Design Center