Outdoor kitchen ideas – that welcome open-plan living into your home

Linking your kitchen to the garden encourages relaxed, easy living.

The British climate may not offer year-round sunshine, but there are certainly enough good days to want to make the most of any outdoor space. Linking a kitchen to the garden lets the entertaining zone spill outdoors, especially if there is a table close to the threshold. Take a look at these outdoor kitchen ideas for advice and inspiration before you start your design project.

The trend towards open-plan living has soared in recent years. Whilst the kitchen has always been dubbed the heart of the home, this space is no longer just for cooking. Within a modern set-up, the kitchen can also be used as a dining area, work space and somewhere to gather as a family or socialise with friends.

HOW DO YOU BUILD AN OUTDOOR KITCHEN?

‘The area immediately outside the kitchen is increasingly becoming kitchen territory, ideally with a terrace for alfresco dining,’ says designer Johnny Grey.

‘The easiest way to make good use of outdoor space year round is to have one wall of the kitchen completely glass or with large doors that fold or slide back,’ advises Steven de Munnich, design director of Smallbone of Devizes. ‘Glass structures allow light to flood into the room and help make the garden feel like part of the kitchen-living space,’ he adds.

Run the same floor from the kitchen onto the terrace to blur the boundaries further still and choose a layout to make the most of garden views. If glazing means less cabinetry space, consider an island with integrated appliances and seating. Dining furniture in lightweight, exterior-grade materials can easily be moved out to the garden on fine days.

Photography: Davide Lovatti

See Small kitchen ideas – to turn your compact kitchen into a smart, organised space

OUTDOOR KITCHEN IDEAS

Outdoor kitchens and living spaces have become really popular over the past year, with homeowners finding new ways to really ‘live’ in their gardens. No longer just an area to plant flowers and have the odd summer barbecue, the garden has become an extension of the home for people to entertain or cosy down on a summer’s night.

But the key to creating a stunning indoor/outdoor space is to ensure the two blend seamlessly together, using the correct colours schemes and materials.

Outdoor kitchen ideas

Photography: Davide Lovatti

1. USE GLASS TO OPEN UP THE SPACE

‘Glass doors are a great first step to linking your kitchen and garden,’ advises Andy Briggs, resident interior designer and head creative for Optiplan Kitchens. ‘By using bi-fold or French doors, you can appreciate and experience your garden no matter the weather. Bi-fold doors are especially effective as they act almost as a glass wall, and when opened will concertina together fully-exposing your outdoor space.’

‘Alternatively, if your budget does not quite stretch to a wall of bi-folding doors, instead invest in a bi-folding or sliding window. This is a great technique to get more light into your interior space, also functioning as a contemporary twist on the 1970s serving hatch, offering an easy way to pass food and dinnerware out into the garden. I’ve even seen great examples of people designing this area as a breakfast bar. By simply folding or sliding back the kitchen window, you can enjoy a morning coffee or brunch in the fresh air, with all your appliances and condiments still close at hand.

‘Style your kitchen with a central island, so whilst the household chef is preparing dinner, they can enjoy the view too.’

Outdoor kitchen ideas

Photography: Richard Powers

2. CHOOSE COHERENT MATERIALS AND COLOUR SCHEMES

‘It’s important when planning your new indoor/outdoor kitchen that you consider your colour schemes,’ says Andy Briggs. ‘For a classic look I would recommend a Shaker style – pairing natural woods and painted earthy tones, complemented with wood flooring. If your style is more minimalist, this would be best complemented using large floor tiles to accentuate the space.

‘For a truly seamless look, it’s vital to ensure that the flooring inside and outside is the same and aligned with how it is laid. This can be easily achieved with the wide range of floor tiles and paving slabs on the market. For the best results, both spaces would ideally also be on the same level to create the fluidity between rooms, but we know this isn’t always achievable – so make sure your flooring is aligned and you’ll be one step closer.’

Outdoor kitchen ideas

Photography: Richard Powers

See Grey kitchen ideas – for timeless, classic schemes

3. INSTALL OUTDOOR LIGHTING

‘Without exterior lighting, glass doors can often turn into a mirror at night, reflecting what you can see inside rather than the view outside,’ says Andy Briggs. ‘Installing spotlights above your doors or perhaps investing in built-in patio/decking lights will keep your outdoor space illuminated and visible whilst using it late at night; and also means you can enjoy the views of your outdoor space, no matter the hour.’

Outdoor kitchen ideas

Photography: Jonathan Gooch

4. GET CREATIVE WITH ACCESSORIES

Once your new indoor/outdoor living scheme has been installed, now it’s time to get creative with décor. Soft furnishings are no longer meant to be kept inside, and using large floor cushions, outdoor rugs and vibrant plant pots will really set off your outdoor space and create a lovely living area for your family.

Don’t forget to also invite the outdoors in as well, introducing indoor/outdoor plants to both spaces helps blur the physical divide between the rooms, giving the illusion of one open space.

Outdoor kitchen ideas

Photography: Mark Bolton

See Kitchen extensions – expert ideas for planning the perfect kitchen extension

5. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS

Select durable cabinetry and flooring that are not likely to be bleached by sunlight. Natural timber finishes will fade gracefully over time.

Make sure cooking appliances are well ventilated, preferably with an externally ventilated extractor which will help prevent windows from steaming up.

Photography: Davide Lovatti

 

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