An outdoor kitchen area is a great way to expand your living area to the outdoors while allowing you to enjoy cooking and entertaining with family and friends. Here are a few ideas to help get your dreams going.


Where you decide to build your outdoor kitchen depends on many things. The area should be near the main living area or an outdoor pool or cabana where you and your guests like to gather. Something close to the indoor kitchen is better when moving food or beverages back and forth. If you choose to build the outdoor kitchen close to your living or kitchen area, the floor plan should be placed where it doesn’t block the view from inside.  It should add inviting features to your home’s design. 


The amount and size of the appliances and amenities will determine the space and size needed for the outdoor kitchen. Also, consider how all the appliances will fit together and how much space will be needed for prep surfaces and storage while cooking and serving. Countertops normally work best at an overall height of 36″ similar to your indoor kitchen. High bar areas should be at around 42″. Multi-level counter areas work great for cooking and entertaining. Recessed and shorter countertops can provide space for specialty cookers and different types of smokers to keep them at a practical height for cooking and grilling. Exterior finishes can include standard granite or quartz countertops or even poured in place decorative concrete countertops. Cabinet and storage areas usually do best with a masonry finish like flagstone, brick, or stucco to match the residence.


Most outdoor kitchens include a grill, sink, small refrigerator, and trash area. Of course, there are many other options to choose from such as smokers, beer taps, warming drawers, and flat skillet areas for frying. Stainless steel appliances work best outdoors. Undercounter storage often includes matching stainless steel doors and drawers.


The options are many for building a custom overhead roof structure over your outdoor kitchen. Gable or hip roof styles are often built to match the design of the roof of the residence.  This can mean physically tieing into the existing roofline, connecting directly into the side of the home, or a freestanding roof or cabana design is also a popular option. The interior ceiling areas can include options such as paneling, stucco, or stained 1×6 pine tongue and groove. 


Your outdoor kitchen area should be designed with proper lighting needs which often serve as attractive accents. Overhead recessed lighting, sconces at nearby columns, and decorative pendant lighting over the bar area are just a few great options. Outdoor fans can also provide a nice way to move the air during hot summer days or while cooking. Entertainment options such as a TV or surround sound is often a welcome addition to any outdoor kitchen area. Family and guests can enjoy music or sporting events as part of their outdoor experience.


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