For homeowners with ample backyard space and a steady supply of friends and family who want to come by and hang out, building an outdoor kitchen is a no-brainer.
“The outdoor kitchen is synonymous with what an outdoor living space embodies: cooking, entertaining, and enjoying each other’s company,” says Joe Raboine, director of residential hardscapes with Belgard, an outdoor design company.
In years past, backyard kitchens lacked a certain refinement in both design and function. However, today’s spaces are quite stylish—some even rival their indoor counterparts.
“We’ve seen a trend toward more sophisticated, tailored designs as homeowners seek outdoor kitchens that mirror and expand the functionality of their indoor kitchen,” says Mitch Slater, CEO and founder of Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens and Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens.
For example, in the past, contractors would build a kitchen out of bricks and mortar, leaving gaps between shelves and components. But things are changing.
“The outdoor kitchen movement is expanding due to better-quality manufacturers entering the arena,” says Duane Draughon, owner and lead designer at VizX Design Studios, in Lisle, IL. “Every square inch of space can be used for the kitchen area.”
Curious to see which outdoor kitchen features are in high demand right now? Take a look at the following trends.
Let’s be honest: Usually when you think about an outdoor kitchen, you imagine a gigantic grill or barbecue station in your backyard, and not much more. But today’s homeowners are moving beyond these expected elements.
“Appliances have become increasingly advanced, moving beyond traditional barbecues and grills to specialty appliances like Argentinian grills, Kegerators, and wine refrigerators,” Slater says. Side burners, dishwashers, and pizza ovens are also popular.
One of the joys of cooking at home is using herbs and produce grown in your own backyard. Herb gardens, raised beds, and container gardens allow homeowners to grow their own herbs, vegetables, and fruits. So why not put that garden within reach of your outdoor kitchen?
“Especially for those interested in cooking with locally produced food, an outdoor kitchen so close to your garden makes sense,” says Raboine.
Imagine reaching out and grabbing a handful of fresh cilantro for the guacamole you’re about to whip up.
Homeowners like to think of an outdoor kitchen as an extension of the home, and one design element that can help you achieve this look is a backsplash. In particular, a backsplash can help your outdoor kitchen mirror your style inside.
“Backsplashes increase the visual appeal of your outdoor kitchen and make it much easier to clean preparation and serving areas,”says Lee Davies, manager of the Outdoor Chef in Australia.
“European-inspired styles offer it all: highly functional solutions for different appliances, and a sleek look,” says Slater.
Dark, moody colors
According to the Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens report, moody, highly saturated colors are hotter than ever. Slater notes that deep hues like boysenberry, dark blue, and olive are worth experimenting with on cabinets, backsplashes, or accessories.
“Black is also being used as a neutral in appliances, cabinetry, countertops, and accents,” Slater says.
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