5 Trends in Outdoor Kitchens Designers Are Loving Now and Help Yours Stand Out From Your Neighbors'

Consider these outdoor kitchen trends to convert your outdoors into a peaceful and functional spot

An outdoor kitchen plus shower and garden
(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Design: Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture)

It's time to upgrade your outdoor entertaining space with the latest outdoor kitchen trends. As experts point out, these spaces are no longer just about grilling; they have transformed into fully functional outdoor living spaces that extend the comfort and aesthetics of the indoors to the outside.

With homeowners looking for innovative ways to enhance their exteriors, outdoor kitchen trends in 2024 bring forth a new wave of design ideas and functionalities. Take a look and lay the grounds for the most welcoming outdoors.

1. Secondary kitchens

An outdoor kitchen designed with brick and wood

(Image credit: Amarra Drive. Design: Meredith Owen Interiors)

Backyard kitchens are no longer just specialty spaces that add a spark to the outdoors. These are now considered modern kitchens that are, functionality-wise, at par with indoor kitchens, as these serve as a place to host and connect with family and friends. High-quality countertops, lights, and outdoor seating arrangements make this as important and special as the indoor cook room.

'Outdoor kitchens are starting to be seen as a working kitchen,' says Linda Hayslett, founder of LH.Designs. 'The BBQ area is now turning into a space where people are starting to see it as another room and the second heart of the home. Families are designing this area like they would an interior kitchen, with thoughts on storage, best appliances, and materials while adding bells and whistles to make cooking outside more convenient. It's not just for the summertime and pool parties, anymore. It's becoming a part of the home that people see as a great place to incorporate into their lives.'

'This special space's architecture is by Hatch + Ulland Owen Architects,' says Meredith Owen, founder of Meredith Owen Interiors. 'We added counter seating and even a quick access door into the main kitchen. Top-notch materials are used here with dark board and batten, and bricks.'

2. Indoor-outdoor design

An indoor-outdoor kitchen design

(Image credit: Meghan Beierle-O’brien. Design: Mark Langos)

A great way to plan the perfect outdoor kitchen is to have one that can withstand all weather conditions, and provide shelter and outdoor views whenever needed. Indoor-outdoor kitchens that can be closed and opened as per needs are on-trend at the moment.

This type of design is particularly effective in places with extreme weather conditions. On good days, this type of kitchen offers opportunities for relaxed entertaining and cooking while connecting with nature, and at other times works as a lovely observatory, while you stay safe inside. Also, outdoor kitchens can positively impact a home's value.

'This is a special place where the client's love to gather with friends and family alike,' says interior designer Mark Langos.

'For this kitchen, custom accordion windows helped define this space, thus merging the kitchen with Southern California's dreamy outdoors,' says Mark. 'When fully retracted, the kitchen transforms into an open-air space that invites breathtaking views, capitalizing on the property's vantage point, overlooking a pool and the San Gabriel mountain range beyond. This thoughtful design maximizes the space for entertaining while reflecting the homeowner's connection to the region’s iconic beauty.'

3. Outdoor pantries

An outdoor kitchen with a walk in pantry, and a dining table

(Image credit: David Wakely. Design: Andrew Mann Architecture)

If you have the luxury of space in your backyard, then along with a kitchen, also consider a walk-in pantry in the outdoors. Yes, you heard that right. A dry storage space outdoors can help make the outdoor dining and kitchen much easier to use. Here, you can store dry fuels (like charcoal for your Kamado cooker or pellets for a pellet grill), and keep cutlery, dry snacks, and other grilling accessories.

'In this outdoor oasis, the walk-in pantry and sliding door protect pots and pans, outdoor lighting, and various cooking essentials from the elements,' says Andrew Mann, founder of Andrew Mann Architecture. 'Since transporting glasses and plates from an indoor kitchen to an outdoor space can be tedious, this solution created important and necessary outdoor storage.'

4. Integrated Multifunctional spaces

An outdoor kitchen plus shower and garden

(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Design: Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture)

An outdoor kitchen doesn't need to be a standalone spot. Experts point at a wholesome trend of an outdoor living space, with an outdoor living room, kitchen, lounge, and more. Since people gather around the outdoor kitchen in the same way they do in an interior one, comfortable chairs near the cooking area are a must. The seating should be grounded with an outdoor rug, pillows, and an outdoor throw. All in all, this is the new, multifunctional space of the home.

'The land surrounding the house did not serve the owners’ needs or desires, but they lived in the house for a decade before transforming the entire landscape in lieu of buying a vacation property,' says Joseph Richardson of the DC-based Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture. 'The project was constructed beginning with the rear yard, which includes a large pool terrace with a woodland meadow backdrop. The pool house, painted a deep charcoal gray, serves as the perfect focal point for the garden while offering a fireplace with seating, an open bar, a kitchen, and an outdoor shower. These amenities, along with the pool, terrace, and spa can accommodate a lively crowd. Ten to twelve people fit easily in the spa and the stainless-steel scuppers are a water feature that continuously provides sound. For such an exposed area, pavers and steppers of concrete remain cooler underfoot than stone and establish a modern sensibility.'

5. Granite countertops

An outdoor kitchen with a granite countertop

(Image credit: Cullifords)

Finally, when it comes to outdoor kitchen countertops, experts say that granite continues to rule the roost. 'Basically, this material can withstand fire and water,' says Jane Lockhart, founder of Jane Lockhart Design.

The material is trusty, hardwearing and dependable, and is as strong as concrete or quartz. It looks great, especially in a kitchen with more modern amenities and elements. The stone doesn't discolor in the sunlight and the surface doesn't scratch easily; it just needs to be sealed regularly.

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Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.