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Do You Need an Outdoor Kitchen?

Are outdoor kitchens the next big thing in home improvement? You might be surprised. Although some home designers predict the demise of outdoor kitchens and living space, home shows such as the Southern Ideal Home Show portray outdoor kitchens as a continuing trend.

Outdoor kitchens, which began to gain popularity around the recession, provide an air of class and sophistication to an otherwise ordinary backyard. Homeowners, no longer looking to splurge outside the home, sought out to make their homes as enjoyable and functional as possible. Cue the outdoor kitchen, which expands the family home outside, encouraging lively outdoor parties, family BBQs, and cozy outdoor dinners.

“An outdoor kitchen would be great for entertaining,” says Brittney Mosher of Raeford, NC. “When we host parties people are always going in and out. In for the food and out for the fun. With an outdoor kitchen the food and fun could all happen in one place.”

So what does an outdoor kitchen consist of? For most, it’s just like a wet bar with a stove, refrigerator, and additional storage. Of course, the perfect outdoor kitchen isn’t complete without patio furniture, and the proper protective outdoor materials.

While some homeowners see it as an unnecessary addition, others see it as a worthwhile investment. “I’d rather enjoy meals from a functional outdoor kitchen than go out to eat,” said homeowner Jessica King of Cary, NC at the Southern Ideal Home Show in Raleigh. “It’s the first thing I’m planning on putting in my home.”

Still unsure? Here’s 5 Things You Should Know About Outdoor Kitchens that may change your mind!

  • It’s easy to budget for. Outdoor kitchens can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000- it depends on your budget and expectations. However, seeing that most Americans spend at least $2,200 a year on eating out at restaurants, it may be more realistic than you may think to budget for an outdoor kitchen area.
  • It adds value. Outdoor eating areas have become the most social area of the home- and also add value to the overall home. Instead of the costly expense of adding a room to your house, outdoor kitchens are a less expensive option for creating more living space.
  • It’s affordable. It’s more affordable than you think. There are plenty of options to create an outdoor kitchen space, such as skipping the gas lines and just installing a standard propane powered grill.
  • You can do it yourself. DIY may be worth it- if you’re using durable materials.  Materials such as stainless steel, teak and brick are all excellent weather resistant options.
  • You may not need permits. Depending on where you live, you may be able to skip getting a permit. We highly recommend double checking with your local government. However, permits are only needed for gas, electric or water, or in the case the you’re constructing an addition onto the home. Forgo the permit process by using a propane grill, skipping electric, and go for a water heater. Regardless of your plans, check with your community first.