Top 10 Insights About Luxury Outdoor Kitchens – NKBA
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Top 10 Insights About Luxury Outdoor Kitchens

NKBA’s research report offers up important insights and advice on designing an outdoor kitchen space.   
By: Elisa Fernández-Arias

NKBA released its first-ever qualitative Luxury Outdoor Kitchen report last week, after kicking off a virtual Summit that showcased its findings. The report contains insightful information on the key practices, design principles, and material and product trends driving this influential category.

Below are some of the report’s highlights:

  • Luxury outdoor kitchens are a rapidly growing category. The COVID-19 pandemic completely changed the experience of dining, with many more people preferring to entertain, eat and relax at home in their outdoor kitchens.

  • New construction prioritizes outdoor spaces. Most new residential construction projects include outdoor living spaces that include kitchens, pools and decks.

  • Quality counts. One of the elements that defines luxury outdoor kitchens is quality, with designers pointing to solutions such as luxury-level outdoor cabinetry, as well as countertops and appliances designed to withstand the elements.

  • Seamless transitions expand the home. Seamless design transitions between indoor and outdoor are accomplished through fixtures, finishes and coordinated materials, surfaces and colors — all of which ease the flow between spaces.

  • Comfort is key. A luxury outdoor kitchen should include amenities such as a galley workstation, oversized TV or media screen, bar, ice maker, refrigerator, comfortable seating and more. Focusing on how a client sees comfort will help design the ideal space.

  • Extending the season improves ROI. Multiple areas of heated entertainment zones, such as infrared heaters, fireplaces, firepits and hot tubs, extend the season in outdoor spaces, providing a higher return on investment.
  • Creative solutions can expand the outdoor space. By using strategies such as having outdoor ‘rooms’ spill out into unusable yard space or creating upper levels, designers can increase the functionality and size of the outdoor space.

  • Sustainability is in. Clients want sustainable features and elements, which designers can provide by sourcing locally, designing for longevity, and leveraging natural renewable materials.

  • Many interior design principles are transferable. Principles used in interior design — including the design process itself, building and coordinating a team and using curated experiences/moments to drive the luxury experience — can also be used successfully in outdoor design.

  • However, there are also different design principles. Designers must consider how to anticipate and mitigate the impact of seasonal changes on the outdoor kitchen. The weather, humidity, temperature, wind direction and sunlight can all have a negative effect on outdoor kitchen products/materials if not treated properly. 

To learn more about these and other insights from the designers interviewed in the Luxury Outdoor Kitchen study, download the full report here. To watch the NKBA Summit on Designing the Outdoor Kitchen, go here to view the sessions on demand.