Nathan J. Reynolds, CAPS for Insperiors, LLC, by Chelsea Shaw Photography
Brian Patrick Flynn is an interior designer, National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) K+B Insider and national TV personality who lends his insights and expertise on the latest kitchen and bath trends on behalf of the NKBA. Here are some of his design tips for outdoor kitchens.
1. When it comes to outdoor kitchen design, function is #1. The best outdoor kitchen is just as functional as what you have inside, and the secret to making sure your clients enjoy the space as much as possible is to reduce the trips they will take between the kitchen inside and the outdoor space. Make sure the outdoor kitchen can accommodate a few integrated appliances: A refrigerator is a must-have to store fresh food before it goes on the grill, as well as extra wine and beer. I also recommend a full-size stainless-steel sink with a detachable faucet and an outdoor dishwasher if the budget allows.
2. Opt for an open layout for easy entertaining. Design the outdoor kitchen and living space with a guest-friendly open layout that encourages family and friends to serve themselves and relax. I always advise seating be 10 to 12 feet away from the grill and food prep zone so guests can comfortably mingle while the host finishes meal prep. It gives the cook the ample space while still allowing for conversation to flow from one area to the other.
3. Think beyond the grill. Today’s outdoor kitchens are so much more than the stand-alone charcoal grills we grew up with. A lot of outdoor kitchen appliance brands take a modular approach to their offering, so you can have a grill and a griddle side by side. Who doesn’t love the idea of making morning eggs and bacon at their outdoor kitchen?
4. Let there be light. Good lighting in and around the outdoor kitchen is essential when it comes to both functionality and ambiance. A benefit to having a ceiling extend over the outdoor kitchen makes it easy to integrate task lighting where your clients need it most. I also love integrating industrial festival lights along a pergola to help keep the space lit after hours. This can instantly give any outdoor gathering space more of a room-like feeling.