Maximum Home Value Outdoor Living Projects: Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen brings the heart of the home into the open air and extends a home's living space. Here, the latest trends and cost-saving design tips.

A great option for those who love to entertain outdoors but hate having to run back and forth with utensils, plates, food and more, an outdoor kitchen can be a very practical way of utilizing time and energy as well as creating a special spot to bring family and friends together.

outdoor kitchen with grill and sink

An outdoor kitchen doesn't just mean a grill, table and chairs anymore. Today, the trend has become bigger and better.

CURRENT TRENDS

  • Accessorizing. The outdoor kitchen has taken cooking and entertaining to levels that far exceed the standalone charcoal grill. Accessories such as sub-zero refrigerators, stoves, bread warmers, wine coolers, custom cabinetry, soaker sinks, barbecues, even kegorators for serving beer are now being implemented into outdoor kitchen design. An outdoor kitchen can now do the duties of a professional chef's kitchen, all the while being steps away from the pool area or fire pit.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

Be aware of standards and home values in your neighborhood and know the comparables in the area before taking on such a large project, advises Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute. Many times, unless your home also has a pool or seasonal weather allows for a good amount of outdoor living throughout the year, there is a good chance you will not see a worthwhile return on your investment.

Without these important factors that allow for an outdoor kitchen to be more desirable, return could be anywhere from 0 percent to 15 percent, says Sellers, so use judgment and consider all factors, such as how long you plan to stay in the house and how much you are willing to spend if taking on this kind of outdoor living project.

EXPERT TIPS

  • On a Budget: A basic island design can accommodate the majority of outdoor kitchen needs while still staying on the lower end of one’s budget. Choose an efficient design that leaves out the complexity of different curves and angles and involves minimal construction and design compared to custom design jobs.

    Add bar stools to the other side of the island, creating seating and functional use of the space, as well as a way for the host to socialize with company.

  • Mid-Range: Stone veneers are a stylish, cost-effective way to mimic stone in your design. These replicas of natural stone used for building are cast in molds and then hand colored with a variety of pigments. Veneers are also lighter weight than real stone and come in almost any texture, color and shape, making them the perfect choice for a high-end look with a budget-friendly price tag.
  • High-End: Make a statement with quality materials and wow-factor amenities. Hire a professional stone mason who can construct a custom space featuring unique curves, angles and architectural features that designate certain spots for cooking, dining and entertaining. Incorporate amenities such as a fireplace and a roof to create that true outdoor room feel.
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