Just as the kitchen has always been the heart of the home, the outdoor kitchen is quickly becoming the heart of the backyard outdoor living space. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), more than 75 percent of all U.S. households currently include an outdoor grill or smoker. However, that’s only part of the story. More and more homeowners are converting patio grilling areas into fully functioning outdoor kitchens that become the central gathering place for family and guests. Check out some of the latest trends.
Bar-style seating has become very popular in outdoor kitchen design for the same reason it’s popular in indoor kitchen design…it creates a communal atmosphere where family members and guests can all interact during the prep and cooking process. It also provides additional dining space, and with the addition of a television, becomes the perfect spot for outdoor tailgating.
Multiple Cooking Surfaces
Today’s outdoor grill master isn’t happy with just a standard grill. Modern outdoor kitchen design quite often includes multiple cooking surfaces — including gas burners, gas or charcoal grills, ceramic smokers, and wood-burning or gas ovens. (See related blog for tips on choosing a type of grill.)
Everything Including the Kitchen Sink
A growing trend in outdoor kitchen design is to include all the “creature comforts” of an indoor kitchen. Nearly every indoor kitchen appliance now has an outdoor-rated version — including ice makers, refrigerators, dishwashers, keg coolers and more. With a fully-functioning outdoor kitchen, there’s no need to constantly run indoors for supplies…everything you need is at your fingertips. Add a stereo system, wi-fi access and a TV, and you can truly live in your outdoor living space.
Stainless Steel Cabinets
Stainless steel doors and drawers are popular because they are resistant to rot, weather and insects. Stainless also adds a striking look to coordinate with grills and appliances. Over time, some stains will appear on the surface, but can easily be removed with a stainless steel cleaner, making them look as good as new.
Outdoor built-in seating has been trending for years in outdoor living rooms, especially around fire features. Now, this trend is making its way into outdoor kitchens. A seat wall helps define the space, adds a striking aesthetic, and allows you to provide ample seating for large gatherings to supplement seating provided by barstools and dining tables.
Outdoor Kitchen Pizza Ovens
Forget calling for delivery when you can enjoy a homemade pizza with an amazing flame-grilled flavor. Whether we’re talking about economical gas-powered tabletop ovens, or gorgeous built-in wood-fired brick ovens, outdoor ovens are definitely trending. The great thing about a brick oven is that it’s not just for pizza. Nearly anything you would bake in an indoor oven can be cooked in a brick oven. You may never cook indoors again. (See related blog on brick oven recipes.)
Modular Outdoor Kitchens
The Belgard® Elements Collection of modular outdoor kitchen units enables homeowners to have the look of a custom outdoor kitchen for a fraction of the cost and time. Belgard Elements are built in a factory setting and shipped in sections to be quickly installed on-site, meaning your kitchen will be installed in merely hours instead of weeks.
For more ideas and inspiration, see our blog on creating an outdoor kitchen idea board.