When the weather turns pleasant and warms up, there’s few things more satisfying than being able to cook and eat a meal outside on your patio. Implementing one of these outdoor kitchen ideas allows you to prepare and enjoy your food while you’re out under the stars or under the sun, and they come in everything from outdoorsy glam to rustic and shabby chic.
If you have enough space for one of these outdoor kitchen ideas, consider adding a kitchen with seating areas, a bar, grills, and ample storage. For smaller spaces, you can use these outdoor kitchen ideas with a prep counter and sink that doubles as an area to mix drinks or put the finishing touches on your plate. We’re also going to toss out a few outdoor kitchen ideas that offer protection from the elements like permanent and retractable roofs. In turn, you can enjoy them in any weather. So, invite the neighbors, fire up your outdoor kitchen, and take a few hours to sit back and enjoy good company and good food.
1. Corrugated Metal Outdoor Kitchen
This simple and industrial-inspired outdoor kitchen idea combines wooden frames with corrugated metal. You’ll use thick butcher-block style countertops that you seal to lock moisture out and make them shine. Start by framing in your bar, countertops, and around your appliances with thicker wood pieces. You should stain all of these pieces to match and allow them ample time to dry. The darker types of stain will pair very nicely with the corrugated metal.
Next, source your corrugated metal pieces. You’ll have to carefully cut them to fit the wooden frames you made. You can attach them with screws and a screw gun. Make sure that there are no sharp edges or corners sticking out. If you’re talented, you can create a half awning cover that shields you from rain and protects anything you leave out at the bar or kitchen area.
2. Southwest Influence with a Pizza Oven
You can create sharp contrast in a southwest-style kitchen by incorporating stainless steel appliances with grey marble or concrete countertops. The focal point of this outdoor kitchen idea is the traditional pizza over. Hints of adobe will add warmth to this look while softening the stainless steel appliances and giving them a very subtle and welcoming glow.
If you get a pizza oven that is large enough, you can easily cook a few pizzas at once. Bigger countertops give you plenty of space to prep all of your food or pizzas. Adding a stainless steel refrigerator will give you cool space to store your items until you’re ready to cook them. Under the counters, you can store wood for your pizza oven. Enclosing the kitchen area using adobe eves will help pull the entire look together and give you a finished feel.
3. Define Your Outdoor Kitchen with a Pergola
You don’t have to put up huge walls around your kitchen to make it feel cozy and enclosed. Instead, this outdoor kitchen idea uses a pergola that beautifully frames the main cooking area in the kitchen. This will be a smaller design with a grill, sink, dishwasher, a few storage drawers, and countertops. The off-white base with dark counters contrast beautifully with the light wood beams of the pergola that frame it.
To add a luxurious feel to this outdoor kitchen idea, you can incorporate stainless steel appliances. They stand out with the simple color palette, and this allows you to get a slightly traditional but well-balanced setup. Since the grill is the centerpiece, you’ll start with it and build out. You can erect the pergola over the kitchen once you get everything situated to ensure it’s a good fit. To enclose it a little, train vines or flowering plants to grow up and over the pergola.
4. Rustic, Farmhouse Appeal
Did you know that it’s relatively easy to give your outdoor kitchen idea a farmhouse, rustic twist? With this type of kitchen, your decorations will be at a minimum. However, you can easily add several small shelves. The backdrop for this kitchen will be reclaimed wood pallets. You can have a top on this kitchen or have it open as both work well. What’s even better, you won’t have to stain or seal the pallets for them to look nice. They have a naturally weathered look.
For the shelving on this outdoor kitchen idea, use open spaces. Continue on with your reclaimed wood pallets by using them on your cupboard doors. If you make the cupboard doors yourself, make them in the traditional barn door style. This will add visual interest and create a flow from one area to the other. A wood frame with a tin roof will finish off the whole look.
5. Built-In Grill
How nice would it be to want to grill out and be able to step outside and have everything set up and ready to go? With this outdoor kitchen idea, you can do just that. The whole kitchen revolves around the grill, and the grill is right in the middle of the countertop. On either side of the grill, you can set up granite countertops with decorative stone cladding on the front to give it a more high-end look and feel.
You may want to put in a sink to one side of the grill to create a quick prep station. You also want enough room to hold your items while you cook. This outdoor grill idea makes one long counter for all of your cooking needs. On the other side of the kitchen, a long long wooden table helps to box in the area. You could even run padded benches along the end of the table to get a nice seating area.
6. Country Chic
Country and chic rarely go hand-in-hand, but they blend beautifully in this outdoor kitchen idea. The backdrop and cabinets in this kitchen are a very dark color, and you could even paint them black. To frame in the cabinets, distressed grey or white frames run around each door. Instead of traditional knobs on each cabinet, you have short lengths of rope that add a country twist on the elegant style.
For lighting on this outdoor kitchen idea, get barn-style lights in a darker color to match the back wall and the cabinets. Offset all of the colors by adding blonde wood countertops. This brings balance to this outdoor kitchen idea. Ideally, you’ll leave most of the counters and walls uncluttered and clear. A small cooktop on one end and a sink on the other complete it. You could also add a small half refrigerator along the side of the kitchen for cold food storage.
7. Retractable Windows
It’s easy to create an indoor/outdoor space when you see this outdoor kitchen idea. It’s a traditional kitchen setup under an enclosed porch. However, you use windows on hinges to block off the space when it rains or open it up when there is a nice breeze coming through and it’s nice out. The whole thing uses stained wood to get a rustic feel to it.
The windows use rope strung through the rafters to hold the windows in an open or closed position. For the countertop, use a neutral stone. You don’t want to add anything flashy to disrupt the look and feel of this space. A neutral stone will complement the warm tones of the wood and draw them out. Your appliances can be black or stainless steel. The lighting fixtures should also be neutral to cast a soft glow over the entire cooking area. The counter can also double as a bar.
8. Outdoor Dining Patio
Not only are sheds great for outdoor storage, but they can make an excellent setup for this outdoor kitchen idea. However, it has to have excellent ventilation to ensure that the smoke and cooking odors go out when you fire up the stove or grill. Installing skylights, larger double doors, and large windows can help with ventilation. Install enough countertops inside the shed to have prep areas. You can also run electricity to have lights. Set this shed on the edge of a concrete slab.
On the concrete slab, you can set up a long wooden dining table with chairs on each side. So, you can do all of your prep work and cooking in the shed and carry out your food to serve your guests. Lining the patio with shrubs or flowers brings in a nice natural touch with bursts of color. Run rope lines around the edges of the patio to light it up after dark.
9. Wood Storage with Food Prep
If you’re someone who has a wood burning stove or uses a lot of wood throughout the year, this outdoor kitchen idea seamlessly integrates wood storage with a smaller kitchen area. To frame your kitchen in, you’ll build floor-to-ceiling storage space with wire mesh doors. These two storage spaces are where you’ll put all of your pieces of wood and store them in a place where they’ll stay dry until you need them.
The entire kitchen features dark wood that continues onto the cabinets. Add a few shelves and countertops made out of a light blonde wood to provide contrast against the dark hues on the backsplash, cabinets, and storage spaces. To finish the look, hang up mason jar lights. A stone or tile flooring completes the look. You can leave it open-air or enclose it to provide more protection from the elements.
10. Under an Awning
Maybe you live in an area that gets a lot of different weather and it’s difficult to plan to cook outside. This outdoor kitchen idea can help solve your problem. You can set your kitchen up close to your house on your deck or patio. If you put it on a deck or patio, the end of these structures can help you define your cooking space and set it apart from the rest of your landscape.
Attach a retractable awning to the house and have it stretch over your kitchen and dining space. This outdoor kitchen idea will allow you to cook in all kinds of weather without worrying about getting rained out. It also provides shade when the sun comes out and the temperatures rise. If it gets too chilly, you can retract the awning and allow the sunlight to spill over you as you cook or eat.
11. Prep Station with a Barbeque Grill
Anyone who doesn’t want a full outdoor kitchen can get away with a simple barbeque grill surrounded by counters. One side of the counter can have a sink for washing up while the other side is blank for you to prep your items for cooking. Add a darker wood pergola to add a touch of class and design. It stands out even more if you have a southwest color palette with orange tones.
Having a stainless steel grill offers a very striking contrast with this outdoor kitchen idea. The countertops could be a darker red tile. The backsplash can be a row of brightly colored tiles to make it pop and add a fun touch to a classic look. If you don’t want a blank side next to your grill, pop a griddle in and you have a nice kitchen setup that is ready to use whenever you are.
12. Faded Stonework
A lot of people fall into the trap that their kitchens have to be bright, new, and shiny. This is particularly true when they do a kitchen remodel, but this outdoor kitchen idea challenges this notion. Instead of being new and bright, this kitchen features faded and distressed stonework with large mortar lines. There is also faded brick that gives the look of age, but it lends to an appearance of a well-loved and used kitchen.
The slightly worn, shabby chic appeal of this kitchen idea is offset by sleek stainless steel appliances. Go for a stainless steel grill, sink, and dishwasher. Large, open windows add an airness to this space while ensuring you have good ventilation for your grill when you use it. The faded brick floor tiles the whole look together while giving the kitchen a stable base. Soft grey countertops add a touch of warmth to the design.
13. Built-In Small Kitchen
Although a decent amount of these outdoor kitchen ideas are on a grand scale, they work just as well paired down to a small space. If you’re someone who just doesn’t have a lot of space for a full kitchen, you can make do with a smaller built-in unit in the corner of your deck or patio. You can easily build a frame around your grill out of wood or metal and have a few shelves for storage.
If you use a wood-burning grill, you can set the kitchen up to leave space underneath it next to the ground and fill it with wood so it’s ready to use when you need it. A ceramic smoker-style grill is a great choice over a full grill, and a few succulents on shelves complete the look. Keep the decorations minimal with soft colors so you can focus fully on the grill and larger pieces of this setup.
14. Crate Shelving with a Food Prep Area
Maybe you don’t want a full kitchen, but a food prep station with a few shelves would be nice. If so, this outdoor kitchen idea is perfect for you. All you’ll need is a small table to prep your food on, a few old wooden crates, screws, cordless screwdriver, and a plate rack or two. Start by setting up your small table where you want it. You will need a wall behind it you can put the crates up on.
Decide how high you want your shelving units to be. Flip the crates so the bottom is facing the wall and the open top portion is facing out. Screw the crates to the wall in easy reach. Set your plate rack inside the crate and put your plates in it. If you put two crates side-by-side, you’ll have room to store your utensils or miscellaneous kitchen prep items.
15. Storage Shelves in a Built-In Deck Countertop
You most likely have a deck with one side that is empty. If so, this outdoor kitchen idea can help you fill it up with a useful, small kitchen design with plenty of storage space. You will install a neutral-colored counter close to the top of the deck. In the middle of your design, you can leave space to slide a small grill in. If you’re handy, you can put a small sink on one end to make food prep easier.
Build a small platform to set your grill on and run it the length of the side of the deck, setting up a second counter the same color as the top one. This outdoor kitchen idea focuses more on storage space than anything else. You now have an open space that is around two feet tall, and this is the perfect height to slide wooden crates for storage. You could also stack wood to use if your grill or smoker uses it.
16. Refrigerated Drawers
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a huge amount of space to pull off a sleek, stylish, and functional outdoor kitchen idea. Instead, all you need is a small space that fits your grill and a half counter. The grill should be closer to your house, and the counter should be left bare to create a small prep space. Brick works very well, and you can add a dark granite countertop to help create contrast.
Under your half counter, you’ll install sleek stainless steel refrigerated drawers. Your counter should be tall enough to install two of them, one on top of the other. The stainless steel adds a stylish element to this kitchen, and it can tie into your grill if it’s also stainless steel. Keep your food items and beverages in these drawers until you’re ready to grill out.
17. Chalkboard Backsplash
This outdoor kitchen idea has a solid wood counter with a stainless steel sink on one end and plenty of counter space for prep work or to hold your food items as you cook and prepare them. Drawers and cabinets run the length of this countertop to give you ample storage room for anything you like from bowls and utensils to dry goods or cooking items. Make sure you coat the whole thing with a clear coat to lock out moisture and make it shine. A deep mahogany looks wonderful here.
The backsplash on this outdoor kitchen idea is black chalkboard paint over a sheet of plywood. You can add a small shelf on the backsplash to hold small planters or items. When you go to cook in your kitchen, you can write a menu on the chalkboard backsplash. This adds a fun element to the design and helps it not be too serious.
18. Entertainment Area
Setting up the ultimate entertainment area is the goal with this outdoor kitchen area. You will need a much larger space to make a U-shaped kitchen area. Design it so you break up the space with a refrigerator, cooktops, a grill, pizza over, and a sink. In the midst of all of this, you should also have ample counter space to prep your items and set them while you cook.
Stone cladding surrounds the base of the counters on this outdoor kitchen idea. White marble countertops and stainless steel appliances add a sleek and slick feel to this area. Grey tile for the flooring helps to complete the look and tie everything together. You have more than enough room for drawers and cupboards too, and you can even have a dual tier countertop.
19. DIY Grilling Station with Kitchen Islands
The final outdoor kitchen idea on the list is a DIY grilling station. You’ll need enough space for your grill and two smaller counters on either side of it. You can get two kitchen islands and put them on both sides of your grill too if you’re not a big DIYer. Whatever you choose to do, this design forces the grill to be the centerpiece. If you have a stainless steel grill, go for darker wood on the islands and lighter counters. This will create an interesting contrast.
Make sure that your islands have storage room underneath them. This could be drawers, cabinets, or open shelving. Whatever you pick, make sure they fit in your chosen space. Ideally, you’ll use this outdoor kitchen idea on a slab of concrete, patio, or deck to ensure it’s level. The islands give you a food prep area while anchoring your grill in place.
These 19 outdoor kitchen ideas can help you pull together the perfect entertainment area for your family and friends to gather and show off your barbequing skills. No matter if you have a small or large space, we have the outdoor kitchen idea that will fit in flawlessly. They can also stand out or blend into your desired design aesthetic. So, take a look, find inspiration, and build your own outdoor kitchen to use all summer long.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.