Outdoor kitchens are experiencing a significant upsurge these days. People are looking for more ways to spend time outdoors and additional options for getting more enjoyment out of their homes. They’re also seeking out home improvement projects that are sure to provide value and a high return on their investments. Having an outdoor kitchen happens to fill all those bills.
The pandemic seems to have played a couple of key roles in the rising demand for outdoor kitchens. People found themselves trapped at home and cooking more often rather than going out. Many quickly discovered that having an outdoor kitchen would not only make cooking at home more enjoyable but also give them a way to step outside the house for a while without actually having to leave home.
Planning Your New Outdoor Kitchen
Recent reports show that the popularity of outdoor kitchens has been increasing over the last several years. Experts predict the demand will grow by more than six percent this year alone. Those figures are expected to continue on an upward trend during the years to come. If you’re considering an outdoor kitchen, you’re certainly not alone. Having said that, it’s important to understand a few key points before you jump into a home improvement project like this.
Why Do You Want an Outdoor Kitchen?
Obviously, the purpose of an outdoor kitchen is to allow you the freedom to cook outside. There’s more here to consider than just the basics, though. Are you going to be doing a little light grilling on the weekends or do you want to cook full-blown meals outside as often as humanly possible? Will you be using the space just for your family or will it be an extended entertainment area for guests? Will cooking outdoors be a seasonal event or do you live in an area where the outdoor kitchen will be used all year long? Are you already an outdoor cooking aficionado or is having an outdoor kitchen a way to broaden your horizons?
Answering all these questions and many others will help you better understand why you want an outdoor kitchen. It’ll also aid in determining what type of outdoor kitchen you need and which features you might want to include in it. Those answers will also influence the magnitude of the finished project, its cost, and many other factors.
How Much Money Do You Have to Spend?
Once you’ve decided exactly why you want an outdoor kitchen and the extent to which it will be used, you can start thinking about the cost of the project and how much money you have to spend. If you’ve been cutting costs and saving money for years to bring your outdoor kitchen to life, you may already have this part covered. On the other hand, you may need to think of other ways to finance the project. This isn’t necessarily something you can accomplish with an upcoming tax refund.
You could take out a personal loan or take advantage of cash-out refinancing to get the money you need to create your outdoor cooking and entertaining space. Outdoor kitchens can cost upwards of $2,000 per linear foot or an average of $12,000 for the finished project. All that depends on several factors, like how big the kitchen is, which appliances and fixtures you include, and the materials used in the kitchen’s construction. Think about how much money you can allot to the project versus the costs of all the elements involved in it to help you proceed with your outdoor kitchen plans.
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Which Features Will You Include?
All that brings us to the next point. You can make your outdoor kitchen as small and simple or expansive and elaborate as you like and your budget will allow. At the very least, you’ll probably want to add a grill and some counter space. Having a sink is nice as well because it gives you access to water and an easy way to clean up without having to make trips back and forth to your indoor kitchen. That’s only part of the potential picture.
You could also have a complete stove and oven installed along with a refrigerator. Maybe you’d like to add a smoker to the mix to further boost your outdoor cooking potential. If you plan to entertain guests regularly, you could even have a drink-making station and a bar built into the kitchen. Some outdoor kitchens even have dishwashers and pizza ovens. You’ll most likely want to add a nice patio or other type of dining area to the project as well if you don’t already have one. For those who truly want to go all out, you could even have a fire feature, fans, and infrared heaters installed.
You’ll find there are endless possibilities here. Your outdoor kitchen belongs to you, and you can customize it any way you want. Just keep in mind that the bigger you go, the more expensive the project will be.
To DIY or Not to DIY
Countless homeowners take on do-it-yourself home improvement projects. Some go well and result in a boast-worthy end product. Others don’t go so well, and they end up costing more to repair than hiring a contractor would have charged to begin with. DIY is usually the least-expensive alternative providing everything goes according to plan. Of course, it’s important to remember that certain electrical, plumbing, and gas line work might be involved in the process. If that’s the case, hiring a contractor is recommended.
All Things Considered
Outdoor kitchens provide hours of enjoyment and entertainment, and they’re known for significantly increasing home values. They’re completely customizable, and you can certainly cut costs without sacrificing quality by using less expensive materials and appliances. Hiring a contractor is typically more costly than doing the project yourself, but things don’t always go as planned when you take the DIY approach. When it comes to outdoor kitchens, though, it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other. You can use an outdoor kitchen kit that’s ready to assemble to take some of the guesswork out of the mix and minimize the need for professional assistance during setup.