Embrace Your Space
An outdoor kitchen is more than just a place to grill up an alfresco feast. It's also the center of backyard fun, from family barbecues to summer cocktail parties. It's important that your outdoor kitchen accommodate the way you'll actually use the space and easily integrate into your yard. Here are a handful of well-designed outdoor kitchens that are packed with ideas to inspire your own decor.
Zillow Digs home in Sacramento, CA
Mix and Match
Just as you would mix patterns indoors, don't be afraid to combine textures and materials in your outdoor space. The more you incorporate, the more balanced—and lived-in—the space will feel. Here, raw redwood furnishings, stone counters, brick floor, and stainless steel appliances coexist in a space that manages to capture the hearts of both rustic and modern style lovers.
Related: 7 Irresistable Outdoor Living Trends
Front and Center
Indoors, the kitchen serves as the heart of your home. Outdoors, it can be equally central. So, though you may be tempted to site your outdoor kitchen on the periphery, there are both practical and aesthetic benefits in placing it front and center. For instance, a conveniently located alfresco cooking station is easier to keep stocked. Likewise, a house-hugging outdoor kitchen doesn't compromise your natural surroundings, leaving you free to enjoy them equally well from both the house and your outdoor space.
For an outdoor kitchen that's tiki rather than tacky, look no further than this oasis. Natural stone in beachy tones and frond-draped pergolas go a long way toward creating a playful yet sophisticated look. You'll find no bamboo privacy screens in this space, just a living barrier made from tropical foliage.
Zillow Digs home in El Cajon, CA
Warm earth tones and hammered copper accents make this Old World-inspired outdoor kitchen look right at home against the backdrop of a stucco-clad home. To replicate this homey and serene design, pay attention to getting the details right. Opt for natural patio pavers, bronze backsplash tiles, and glazed pottery in rustic hues to complete the Mediterranean aesthetic.
If backyard entertaining comes as second nature, you might consider constructing an outbuilding such as this one, complete with kitchen, dining, and sitting areas. The benefits of an outdoor room are plenty. You'll still be able to enjoy the sun and breeze, but you'll be protected from the elements should foul weather arise, and the space offers a modicum of privacy from neighboring yards. Plus, you can seamlessly integrate indoor comforts like these homeowners did by adding a television, fireplace, pendant lighting, and ample seating for guests.
Related: No Sweat—7 Best BBQ Shortcuts
Zillow Digs home in Cave Creek, AZ
You might think of outdoor kitchens as being most at home on rambling estate grounds. Not so. Here, on a clearly delineated patio of finite size, the cooking area gets all the room it needs while hogging very little of the square footage meant for other pursuits. To integrate your outdoor kitchen in a similarly subtle way, take design cues not only from the materials and motifs used elsewhere in your outdoor living area, but also in the house itself.
Zillow Digs home in Palm Springs, CA
For a more comfortable cooking experience during the sweltering days of summer, a little shade is a welcome respite. Consider a pergola that covers only the kitchenette and leaves the rest of the patio open and sunny. That way, your guests can enjoy the sun while you stay cool and comfortable while prepping the dinner.
Zillow Digs home in Colorado Springs, CO
City dwellers have to sacrifice a lot to live close to the action. Fortunately, an outdoor kitchen doesn't have to be on that list. To make the most of a sturdy, flat roof, turn it into an entertaining destination. By positioning appliances at the border of the rooftop, this homeowner reserves valuable space for lounging. The nearby planter boxes would do just as well for fresh herbs or decorative flowers.
Just because you don't have a lot of space doesn't mean you can't enjoy an outdoor kitchen. This efficient outdoor kitchenette takes up only a small corner, yet has everything you need for alfresco dining. Utilizing small-space appliances or stackable units is key to achieving a comfortable, uncrowded space when you're working in tight quarters.
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