Outdoor kitchens can offer homeowners a plethora of advantages. As the summer season continues to soothe us with inviting afternoons and warm sunny rays, taking your cooking festivities outside couldn’t be more relevant. Whether you’re hosting guests, cooking for the family, or just enjoying a glass of wine on a lazy day in the sun, outdoor kitchens are the perfect companion for any occasion. And their use doesn’t have to be confined by sunshine and pleasant weather. If you work with a designer to optimize both form and function, your outdoor kitchen can be a year-round sanctuary that adds square footage to your home while driving profits to your return on investment (ROI).

Earlier this month, we found a really good read by NKBA/KBIS’s, Elisa Fernández-Arias. In her article, she explores the importance of five different facets of outdoor kitchen design as reported by NKBA’S Luxury Outdoor Kitchen Report (LOKR). What the report found was that the growing trend of luxurious outdoor kitchens skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people were more akin to hosting outdoor gatherings. Are you considering an outdoor kitchen addition? Then these five design practices are a perfect place to start!

Harmonizing Aesthetics

Your outdoor kitchen should reflect your indoor kitchen or other interior design elements. To create harmony between your outdoor kitchen and your home’s interior, consider implementing similar features from your interior into the design. Integrate exterior-grade furniture to give your outdoor space an indoor feel.

Exploring Outdoor Kitchens : JWH Design & Cabinetry. | photo: NKBA / KBIS
Bold outdoor furniture makes for a warm indoor feel. | photo provided by: NKBA / KBIS

Aside from the softness associated with the exterior elements of wood and stone, this outdoor kitchen features an outdoor fireplace that is even equipped with a mantlepiece. This dazzling design by renowned designer, Kristen Hennie, showcases a perfect relationship between form and function. And what ties all of this outdoor kitchen’s elements together is the furniture at its center. Just try imagining the space without it. In this gorgeous space, the bold outdoor furniture brings all the elements together for a warm indoor feel. Who wouldn’t come over to enjoy a nice meal on a sunny afternoon?

Keep the Past Alive in the Present

Just because your home’s exterior design is older doesn’t mean that a new outdoor addition can’t capture the classic aesthetics that currently make up the exterior of your home. A crucial part of successfully continuing a flow from your house to your outdoor space is extending aesthetic elements and carrying them into the design process. As quoted by Fernández-Arias, the elements of your outdoor kitchen should live “as if they’ve been there since the beginning.”

Exploring Outdoor Kitchens : JWH Design & Cabinetry. | photo: HOUZZ
A seamless flow from the home’s exterior to the outdoor kitchen. | photo: HOUZZ

In this timeless outdoor kitchen by Hursthouse Landscape Architect and Contractors, the outdoor addition seamlessly flows out of the home’s existing exterior features. This design features a fire pit with brick and stone cap, a cooking station with brick and stone counter, and the rustic brick surrounded by the stone grey of the pavers below. Taking in all of these elements together, one would never know that this outdoor kitchen was an addition. This is a beautiful example of how diligent design details make for a seamless aesthetic experience.

All Year Around

Your ROI doesn’t solely rely on the interior value of your home. An outdoor kitchen is an extension of your home’s exterior, and by implementing one into your home’s identity, you can significantly induce your ROI. To do this, highly consider making your outdoor kitchen conducive to all-year-around use. Not only will you have an outdoor haven for all four seasons, but you will add to the value of your home.

Exploring Outdoor Kitchens : JWH Design & Cabinetry. | photo: Michael Alan Kaskel
An all-year-around outdoor kitchen adds value to your ROI. | photo: Michael Alan Kaskel

Larry Rych’s outdoor kitchen project, pictured just above, features a firepit and curtains, making this outdoor kitchen ideal for any time of the year. Adding features such as outdoor fireplaces, hot tubs, or heaters are also great options for giving your ROI a boost. This design separates the space into two sections, making easy work of preparing and serving guests around the firepit on a chilly evening. The more livable you make your outdoor space, the more value you add to your home.

Look to the Sky & Extend Square Footage  

When you add an outdoor kitchen to your property, you extend the usability of space on your property. Therefore, you extend the square footage of your property. A once flat and bare lawn, used for stepping and soaking up water, transforms into another room of the house. One where you can prepare meals, host gatherings, create good times, and harvest special memories.

Exploring Outdoor Kitchens : JWH Design & Cabinetry | photo: HOUZZ
This homeowner got more bang for their buck with this rustic, upper-level outdoor kitchen by Double Diamond Property & Construction | photo: HOUZZ

One way to expand your square footage is to look upward. Building an upper-level outdoor kitchen doesn’t just transform otherwise vacant space into square footage. It is also a great way to obtain the once unobtainable scenery while creating a more private space. If you want to take form and function to new heights, then look to the sky!

Keep Your Vision Alive 

The final practice explored in NKBA/KBIS’s article is to work closely with the client and know what makes them tick. Understanding the client is crucial for solidifying their vision. And that’s where we come in.

Are you looking to spice things up on your property with a timeless outdoor kitchen? We will work closely with you in creating an outdoor addition that serves you 12 months out of the year, expands your home’s square footage, and grows your ROI. A JWH design expert is just waiting to bring your unique vision to life.