An outdoor kitchen doesn't have to be overwhelming. Adding a few simple elements can transform your deck or patio from a simple seating space into a dining experience your neighbors watch enviously over the fence.
Before you dive in, though, decide on what kind of outdoor cooking you're after. Are you looking for outside kitchen ideas on a budget, or do you want to keep it simple with a basic bar and grill? Maybe you want an outdoor pizza over, or you're just looking to add some great seating and mood lights around your dining area. Once you know what you want, it's easier to make a choice and not get sucked into every great outdoor kitchen idea.
For Bakers on a Budget
If you need budget outdoor kitchen ideas, start by picking one feature that's a must and cutting costs elsewhere. You can hit local thrift stores to find eclectic seating and shop discount bins for lights. Don't cut too much when it comes to your cooking features like grills, though. It's worth it to spend a little more on a product that's going to last several years.
Our pro tip for outdoor kitchens on a budget? Shop off-season. Wait for big holiday sales or the end-of-season blowouts that promise great products at a great price. Start saving up early so you have the cash to spend when the sale starts.
For A Little Italy
If you're looking to add a little Italian seasoning to your outdoor kitchen, check out outdoor pizza ovens. Outdoor pizza ovens can be inexpensive electric pizza ovens or more expensive stone pizza ovens. Electric pizza ovens can be bought online or at a local outdoor store. Getting your backyard fitted with a stone pizza oven is a bit more of an ordeal. Not something you can easily DIY (unless you're an expert), you can purchase a lower-end premade stone pizza oven or have one built in your backyard. If you choose to have a custom oven built for all of your pizza parties, work with an expert because these ovens can cost upward of ten grand.
For the Simple Chef
If you're looking for a simple backyard kitchen area, there are a few ways you can go. You can install a built-in fire pit with a grate for roasting and grilling and dutch oven cooking. This isn't a traditional outdoor kitchen, but you can also add a nearby bar for food prep.
If camping cooking isn't your style, create a simple outdoor kitchen with a grill, a rolling bar cart or island, and some tables and seating. An outdoor kitchen doesn't have to be an expensive built-in. You can create a kitchen that works for your setup and budget. Especially if you're working with limited space, building a kitchen with smaller appliances or a smaller grill is a smart way to bring your outdoor kitchen to life.
For the Social Drinker
If all you need your outdoor kitchen for is to kick back with a cold one after work, get a small refrigerator, a bar cart, and some seating. Add a little mood lighting, and you have an outdoor oasis just steps from your door. If you have a built-in counter outside, decorate it with ice buckets, drink mixtures, and glasses—bonus points for a classy display on outdoor floating shelves. Make sure to keep this not-so-secret speakeasy covered if you'll be using your liquor as decor.
No matter how you style your outdoor kitchen this year, there are a few things you can add to any setup that will take it to the next level. Add cute DIY pillows to your seating, switch out your lightning situation for something fun and new, or add some landscaping around your eating area that adds a little facelift to the kitchen. We've also seen people stencil patterns on their outdoor cement pads, which immediately adds value to the space.