What cabinets are best for an outdoor kitchen? 5 designs that are stylish and durable

These outdoor kitchen cabinet designs blend style and function for a seamless alfresco setting

What cabinets are best for an outdoor kitchen
(Image credit: Heather Hilliard Design & David Duncan Livingston/Marie Flanigan Interiors/Dmar Interiors & Molly Rose Photo)

No outdoor kitchen is complete without the right cabinets. Not only do they form the base of your design, but they are a component that makes up most of the kitchen, so choosing cabinetry that marries style and function is key.

All outdoor kitchen ideas take time and consideration. From deciding on a layout that works for your backyard to choosing the right materials and nailing the aesthetic you desire, there are *a lot* of decisions to make.

As the cabinets are such an integral part, it begs the question: what cabinets are best for an outdoor kitchen? From configurations and materials to color and design, these are the outdoor kitchen cabinets interior designers suggest choosing for a space that's durable and stylish.

What cabinets are best for an outdoor kitchen? 

If you've chosen to install an outdoor kitchen, it's important to choose cabinets that are tailored for outdoor use. 'Outdoor Kitchens automatically add value to a home, but to do them correctly, they are also an investment,' says Mollie Ranize, founder and lead interior designer at Dmar Interiors.

'It may be tempting to cut corners when pricing out all of the components, but for these items to really stand up to weather and living outdoors full time, they should be made of material that can withstand it,' she adds.

Whether you want a rustic space or something more contemporary, these are the best cabinets to choose for an outdoor kitchen that lasts.

1. Introduce stainless steel cabinets finished in a vibrant hue

Outdoor kitchen with stainless steel cabinets finished in a mid-blue tone

(Image credit: Heather Hilliard Design/David Duncan Livingston)

Durability is key when it comes to an outdoor kitchen – you want your cabinets to last and withstand different weather conditions, so choosing a resilient and aesthetic material will make a huge difference to the completed scheme.

'Stainless steel is a good choice for outdoor cabinetry as it's super durable and wears well over time. Appliances are nicely integrated with stainless steel cabinetry, so it's also aesthetically pleasing,' says interior designer Heather Hilliard.

Not only are stainless steel cabinets fit for purpose in an outdoor kitchen, but it's a truly timeless material, so you don't have to worry about your scheme feeling dated.

2. Stick to lower outdoor kitchen cabinets only

Outdoor kitchen with only lower cabinets

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors)

When designing a kitchen indoors, upper cabinetry is a key component, adding storage and hiding large appliances. While this is a go-to feature, outdoor kitchens don't function the same way – there is no need for a full-size fridge or ample storage, so reducing the number of cabinets makes more sense.

When designing your space, stick to only adding lower kitchen cabinets – this gives you plenty of space for a hidden mini fridge, storage of outdoor kitchen essentials, and enough surface area for prepping a barbequing food for an alfresco dinner.

This outdoor kitchen scheme is a lovely example. A simple outdoor kitchen layout has been created using a row of cabinets along the wall with an integrated barbeque, cupboards, and drawers for storage. The outdoor kitchen island offers plenty of space for prepping food and casual seating.

3. Opt for paneled wood cabinetry

Wooden outdoor kitchen with stainless steel metalwork in a luxurious garden

(Image credit: Clive Christian Furniture Co)

Keep cohesion in mind when designing your outdoor kitchen. The materials used should work with the natural landscape, rather than against it. And what better way to honor your outdoor space than by using natural materials?

Wood is a great option for your outdoor kitchen cabinets. Not only is it a hardy material, but it will look right at home in an outdoor kitchen. Wood will also pair well with any countertop and appliance finish, making the design process much easier.

All the cabinetry in the outdoor kitchen is constructed using wood with stainless steel metalwork for an interesting feature. To ensure the cabinets don't feel too plain or underwhelming, a paneled detail has been introduced, adding visual interest.

4. Add muted hues with powder coated stainless steel cabinets

Stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets

(Image credit: Dmar Interiors/Molly Rose Photo)

If you're not a fan of the finish of stainless steel cabinets, plenty of brands offer the material coated in different colors. This allows you to introduce more personality to your space that reflects the design style of your interiors.

'We are big fans of Danver Powder Coated Stainless Steel cabinets. They come in many colors so you don't have to settle for the industrial look of stainless steel,' explains Mollie Ranize, founder and lead interior designer at Dmar Interiors.

'They also have various hardware options and door styles so they can feel more like interior cabinetry, in significantly more durable materials. In this particular outdoor kitchen, we used Danver's Champagne finish with Dark Bronze hardware,' she adds.

5. Polished metal cabinetry

A modern outdoor kitchen with a grill

(Image credit: Getty Images / piovesempre)

If you want a shiny look, opting for a polished metal will offer the right aesthetic while remaining durable and weather-resistant. While this more industrial style of outdoor kitchen cabinet isn't for everyone, it can create a wonderfully rustic feel when paired with wood and can help to make your outdoor kitchen space feel larger.

This outdoor kitchen is a great example of how the right material pairings can create a space that feels cohesive. Polished metal cabinets have been paired with a wooden backsplash and an exposed brick wall. The overall effect is a space that blends rustic charm and contemporary elegance.

There are plenty of cabinets that are good for an outdoor kitchen. The most important aspect to consider is whether the chosen cabinet material is durable and weather-resistant. Once you've got that covered, it's all about choosing a color or finish that suits your style.

Molly Malsom
Content Editor

Molly joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as a content editor. Her undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which she studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she worked for two interiors titles across both print and digital channels, writing about a range of topics from room design ideas and decorating trends to the best places to source pre-loved homeware.