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Outdoor Kitchens - A Hot New Trend in Kitchen Designs

Aug 14, 2008
One of the hottest new trends in kitchen designs and remodeling in general for that fact is the outdoor kitchen and outdoor entertainment centers. The general lifestyle and entertaining habits throughout the US is starting to see some interesting changes. More and more people are beginning to entertain more at home rather than going out.

Whether this is based on the economy, rising gas prices or the age demographic of the majority of homeowners isn't clear but what is clear is that outdoor kitchens are a really hot trend right now and are actually a really great return on investment.

Depending on the complexity and functionality of your kitchen designs, you can actually make money on outdoor kitchens, as much as 200% or more of the initial cost in some cases.

Currently the national average return on investment for a minor kitchen remodel is around 81% and even less for a major kitchen remodel coming in at only 70% but outdoor kitchens are between 130% - 200% if you do it right.

So what is doing it right? What are the major components needed for a really awesome outdoor kitchen?

Today's outdoor kitchens are far more sophisticated than a simple charcoal grill and patio furniture. Outdoor kitchens today often incorporate a bar and a living/dining room look and feel.

Just because the kitchen is outside doesn't mean you thrown out traditional design principles...the same design principles still apply and function is still one of the most important considerations. One of the most functional working designs is the kitchen work triangle.

A kitchen work triangle has the kitchen sink in one tip of the triangle, the center of the cooktop or range in another tip of the triangle and the center of the refrigerator in the other tip of the triangle. It might be impossible or simply impractical to achieve this in an outdoor setting, depending on your focal point, orientation and existing structures but whatever layout you decide to go with there are always ways to make it functional.

If you have a long straight line, an L-shape or a U-shape then consider placing workstations in progression. For example, first place the sink, then next a preparation area, then the cooking area adjacent to that. It's important that there is enough countertop space for prep and serving.

Orientation of the kitchen is another important consideration and should ideally be based on a focal point such as a great view, a fireplace or a swimming pool but if you don't have any of these features you can create your focal point from your space and design planning.

Creating a nice lounging space is important too so incorporating multiple seating areas wherever you can is a big plus.

Easy access to the inside is a key consideration, since most items will have to come from and return to the indoor kitchen.

Some of the must have features to include in an outdoor kitchen would be of course a grill and cooktop and there are a lot of options ranging from gas and charcoal grills to wood burning ovens.

Then of course any outdoor kitchen would not be complete without a sink and refrigerator but you might also consider a wine refrigerator and if you really want to get all the conveniences then you could also include a dishwasher too...just make sure they are all made for the outdoors.

Some outdoor kitchens even have waterproof flat screen TVs and sound systems.

Outdoor kitchens are not only a spot for family and friends to gather and enjoy good food and good company...it's also a very smart investment in the value of your home.
About the Author
Rebecca Noel is a licensed real estate agent and real estate investor. Remodeling houses and home improvement diy are her area of interest. Find out insider information that will save you $1000's on materials and help you get your remodeling projects done weeks faster at Remodeling Recon.
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