Beautiful outdoor kitchen

Stylish Ideas for Designing Your Dream Outdoor Kitchen

Here’s an idea I can get behind: Enjoying freshly cooked family meals with guests from the comfort of a fully-loaded outdoor kitchen.

Now, I’m not talking about the humble charcoal grill. It’s 2020, and one of the biggest outdoor living trends of the year focuses on bringing the comfort of the “indoors” out. 

Being at home the past few months has given rise to the desire to prioritize the quality of life at home. Part of this shift is due to health safety, working remotely, less commuting, and more time with loved ones.

The outdoor kitchen and bar allow families to dwell in nature without sacrificing the comfort of a cozy “room” feel. 

Interested? In this post, I’ll give you a few tips on how to design an outdoor kitchen and dining area without breaking the bank!

Start with a floor plan

Tiled patio floor

With any indoor design, you begin with a solid floor plan, right? Take the same approach with your outdoor living area.

Consider the type of flooring you’ll use

Colorful tiles that give off a bohemian, “Moroccan” decor vibe is all the rage this year and gives you an easy way to splash in a bit of color if your furniture is neutral.

Wooden decks are also popular to create a more in-touch-with-earth type of feel. You can easily lay down a large woven mat with plush floor cushions (think vibrant fabrics) to sip tea while lounging.

All about focal points

How do you want visitors to feel when they step into your backyard? Like they can “live” out there for hours, perhaps? The outdoor kitchen and dining area needs to be a space where people can veg out and feel totally at ease.

Amp up the fun with a low-sitting table for games or set up a gas-powered fire pit. Transform an empty wall into a home movie theater with a projector. 

Decide where you want to install walkways, group seating, and serving stations. Try to factor in the areas of your backyard that receive the most coverage from the elements, and how to incorporate pest control.

How to make a stylish patio daybed

Beautiful pool daybed

Another trendy offshoot from the outdoor kitchen is the outdoor daybed. Nothing melts away stress like an oversized, plush bed you can sprawl on top of in between pool dips.

Sure, there are plenty of luxurious daybeds available, but you don’t have to let a price tag hold you back. 

You can make your own patio daybed out of pallets for a fun DIY project that is also budget-friendly. Take it one step further and make it fly by hanging it from the ceiling like a giant cozy swing!

Choose your outdoor kitchen appliances

What sets the outdoor kitchen apart from indoor, is the weather. You need to consider temperatures and how it will impact cooking, food presentation/preservation, and comfort.

Establish the best way to install kitchen appliances where they’ll be least affected by the weather or come into conflict with other appliances. For example, it wouldn’t be a good idea to place a refrigerator next to a grill.

A popular plan is the “L Shape” layout, with enough space for appliances and a food prep area. 

Also, you don’t need to have all of the same appliances as your indoor kitchen. Here are the top essentials.

  • Built-in refrigerator
  • Built-in kegerator
  • Ice Maker
  • Outdoor heater (for cold winters)
  • Firepit
  • Grill
  • Smoker
  • Misters/fans (for hot summers)

The finishing touches

Romantic outdoor sitting area

It’s time to let your creative expression flow,  but make sure to go with hardy materials that are weather resistant. 

Choose cushion cover fabrics that are mold-resistant and easy to clean (the same for patio furniture). If you have wood pieces, layer on a coat of sealant for added protection.

Remember: A little bit goes a long way with the outdoor decor! 

Get the most out of your fire pit by using fire glass to create an alluring centerpiece for daytime display. Fire glass covers the mechanical parts of a gas-powered pit, for instant aesthetic appeal.

Landscape carefully, incorporating plants that are low maintenance, aromatic, and pest repellant. 

Some ideas include citronella, a window box of herbs to be used for cooking, jasmine vines (creates shade and smells heavenly!), or wall planters to spruce up empty wall space.

String up fairy lights to set the mood. They don’t cost much and are easy to hang up over an outdoor dining table or sitting area.

Here are more savvy outdoor kitchen ideas…

  • Use pebble tile flooring to cover a small swath of floor or wall.
  • Build a river stone garden pathway over high trafficked areas.
  • Take the tile trend to a new level by designing your own pebble mosaic.
  • Use pallets to build your outdoor tables and couch.
  • Pick unique pottery for your planters instead of plastic. Cover the topsoil layer with fire glass or river stones for a cleaner aesthetic.

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