What’s the Difference Between an Outdoor Kitchen and a Regular Kitchen?

You may think all kitchens are alike, but you couldn’t be more mistaken when discussing the differences between an outdoor kitchen and a traditional kitchen. Outdoor kitchens require different, weather-friendly materials, and they fulfill different purposes than regular kitchens.

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Additionally, outdoor kitchens require more extensive planning for electricity, gas, lighting, and plumbing. When it comes to outdoor and indoor kitchens, they’re entirely different animals. 

Outdoor Grills 

One difference between outdoor kitchens and regular kitchens is that grills are practically required for outdoor kitchens. This is because grills are often too bulky to fit in an indoor kitchen, but with grill-outs, barbecues, and summer festivities, the grill comes in handy in an outdoor environment. 

Grills can be costly, but the money you spend on a grill goes toward one of the focal points of your kitchen. Unfortunately, the majority of outdoor grills are gas grills, which require gas hookups. You can potentially choose a charcoal grill, but they are challenging to maintain. 

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Outdoor Fridge 

The difference between the outdoor fridge and the regular fridge is that outdoor fridges are typically smaller since you will likely also have a larger fridge inside for storage. You don’t need two big refrigerators taking up a ton of space. You can use the outdoor fridge to store the necessities for the meal you’re in the process of cooking and perhaps a few adult beverages if you feel so inclined. 

As with outdoor sinks, stainless steel rated for outdoor use is an excellent option. If you want to be especially economical with your outdoor fridge, you can get a tiny fridge and then buy an additional cooler for all of your beverages. 

Outdoor Sinks 

Outdoor sinks are a relatively easy choice to make since you need to ensure they’re outdoor rated. Stainless steel primed for the outdoors is practically the only option for outdoor sinks. Stainless steel won’t rust or fade in the sun and they’re extremely low maintenance.

A quick wipe-down will suffice for cleaning purposes and with their durability, they’re a no-brainer for outdoor kitchens. 

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Outdoor Kitchen Flooring 

Unlike indoor flooring, you’re somewhat limited in your options for your outdoor kitchen. However, there are some unique options you can’t implement into your indoor kitchen that make outdoor kitchen flooring exciting. Stone flooring options are perhaps the most impressive.

Concrete is the most popular choice due to its price and easy installation. It’s also easily customizable and you can either dye or stamp it. However, concrete can stain easily, which is one of its only downsides. You can also quickly accumulate wear and tear on the flooring. 

Outdoor Kitchen Countertops 

Picking materials for outdoor kitchen countertops is almost as necessary as the cooking appliances themselves. You also need to give yourself plenty of space with your countertop, so you don’t feel cramped while prepping. Outdoor kitchen countertop dimensions are similar to indoor kitchen countertops, with the average height around 36” and the standard size for a bar top around 42”. 

Outdoor Kitchen: Power, Gas, and Water

Utilities are another thing to consider with your outdoor kitchen area. You need one that comes with electricity, natural gas, and plumbing. When installing and designing your outdoor kitchen, it’s best to use a contractor who can adequately prepare you for all the connections your kitchen needs, including outlets, light fixtures, and ensuring everything is up to code. 

These installations cost much more if you choose to go with an outdoor satellite kitchen. Satellite outdoor kitchens mean your outdoor kitchen is disconnected from your main house. Perimeter kitchens are much easier to furbish than satellite kitchens. 

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Entertainment and Seating

Outdoor kitchens without seating and dining options are pointless. You might also want to install a television or a stereo system near the kitchen for entertainment purposes. 

Additionally, you want your outdoor kitchen to be a gathering place, and if there’s nowhere to sit while you’re gathering, it can be awkward and challenging to turn your outdoor kitchen into what you want it to be. There’s something to be said for hanging in nature undisturbed by entertainment, but that can get old too. It’s always nice to have a balance. 

When it comes to installing entertainment, the biggest question is deciding where to put it, so it’s not exposed to the elements. People often opt for a pergola or gazebo to separate the outdoor entertainment area from the outdoor kitchen. 

How Much Does it Cost to Build an Outdoor Kitchen?

Outdoor kitchen prices range considerably, but the average cost is between $4,000-$20,000. Depending on the type of kitchen you plan, however, and the expenses related to installing gas, power, and water, the price can surpass $50,000. 

Outdoor Kitchens- Prefab Vs. Custom- What’s the Difference?

Prefab outdoor kitchens come in big box stores and they get delivered to your curbside. Prefab outdoor kitchens can be challenging to move and often require hiring a contractor with proper equipment. In addition, these kitchens eliminate some of the planning requirements for your outdoor kitchens, limiting your ability to customize your kitchen. 

Custom kitchens are the exact opposite. They require more extensive planning and costs, giving you more freedom and flexibility in the planning process. 

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Conclusion- What’s the Difference Between an Outdoor Kitchen and a Regular Kitchen? 

Outdoor kitchens provide you with different benefits than indoor kitchens. Still, they also come with additional obstacles and require you to plan your kitchen design differently than you would a traditional kitchen design or redesign. 

They use different materials, appliances, and they serve different needs than regular kitchens. Your indoor kitchen is ideal for hosting events, parties, and gatherings during the colder months. But when the sun is shining, who doesn’t want to go outside and enjoy themselves?

Outdoor kitchens offer you the ability to soak up some rays while gathering with your friends and family, cooking up some delicious food, and kicking back a few beverages. Aside from the different materials outdoor kitchens require, they create an entirely different vibe than standing around the indoor kitchen island with your guests.  


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