Design and Material Choices for the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Island
Outdoor kitchens, not just outdoor dining space but fully functional, self sufficient outdoor kitchens, have been, and continue to be, one of the hottest trends in home improvement and home construction right now, with even the celebrities getting in on the trend in a big way.Take New York Yankee legend Derek Jeter's new home in Tampa, Florida. He commissioned an outdoor kitchen for his property that would rival that of any five star restaurant, complete with three different ovens and two different grills, stainless steel cabinetry throughout, seating for more than a dozen guests, a full bar and an all weather canopy in case those famous Florida rain showers appear unexpectedly.
One essential element of any outdoor kitchen is a great kitchen island, a central space where food can be prepared, drinks can be served and guests can simply hang around and chat while the chef for the evening works on the main courses! Most of us do not have the millions to spare that Mr Jeter did to create and build an outdoor kitchen but that does not mean that you cannot have a great one. Choosing the right outdoor kitchen island will be a big part of that.
Outdoor Kitchen Island Material Choices
It stands to reason that your outdoor kitchen island will have to be able to stand up to the weather but that does still leave you with a number of different material choices to consider. One very popular choice is the same one as Derek made, stainless steel. Yet some stainless steel kitchen islands are far more affordable than you might imagine. For under $400 you can actually get an outdoor kitchen island that comes complete with roomy storage cupboards, extendibles side tables for extra workspace and even a side burner for last minute reheating.
Stainless steel is not the only durable choice though. At the top end of the range you could opt for granite, a rugged choice that is also very beautiful and if you can afford to go custom (at least a few thousand dollars) then you can also opt to have your cooking appliances built right into the kitchen island.
On the other end of the price scale there are some far more affordable outdoor kitchen island choices that are made from a tough, weather resistant laminate material that can even be made to mimic the look or wood, granite or marble.
Outdoor Kitchen Island Design Choices
When it comes to design options, an outdoor kitchen island is often the element that sets the tone for the rest of the space, especially when that space is a smaller one. In order to be truly functional a kitchen island in this situation does need to offer at least some workable space for the chef, even if you are also installing kitchen counter tops as well. The beauty of a kitchen island is that it can serve as a central station in the middle of the space so you certainly need room to put down pans, plates and cooking utensils at the the least.
If you have the space - and the budget - for a larger kitchen island it can also serve double duty as a less formal dining area. Having a separate dining table and chairs away from the kitchen area can be a little stuffy but an island dining setup is a little more casual and has a nice 'resort' vibe that can really add to the enjoyment of the space. Some kitchen islands also feature a small built in wet bar, something that would appeal to a lot of us!
In the end when it comes to outdoor kitchens the design and layout options will, for the most part, be dictated by budget and space. However even if you only have a small backyard or patio to work with with a little imagination and planning you can create something that is truly unique and sure to provide you and your guests with outdoor summer fun for years to come.