Outdoor Spaces Seen as Key Opportunity for Design Firms

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ — Dining “al fresco” apparently represents a potentially lucrative new business opportunity for kitchen and bath design professionals.

That’s the key conclusion of the “2019 Outdoor Kitchen Consumer Profile,” a special report released by the National Kitchen & Bath Association. The report, whose findings were released this month by the Hackettstown, NJ-based NKBA, reveals that the growing popularity of al fresco dining is driving the desire for homeowners to expand their cooking and entertaining activities to outdoor spaces that are designed and installed by kitchen/bath design pros.

Indeed, out of 303 homeowners surveyed by the NKBA, 64% said they consulted a design professional, while nearly all homeowners (84%) used, or are planning to use, professional installers for at least a part of the project. The respondents either completed an outdoor kitchen project in the past three years or were planning to complete one in the year ahead, according to the NKBA.

“Homeowners increasingly regard their outdoor spaces as extensions of their homes, and therefore are building them more elaborately, taking design elements and creature comforts into greater consideration,” said NKBA CEO Bill Darcy. “Outdoor kitchen design and construction business opportunities are growing, revealing a healthy market into which our members can expand and diversify their offerings.”

According to the NKBA, although more than one-third of outdoor kitchens are located in warm-weather states like Florida, Texas and California, homeowners in states like New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts “are also making more use of their outdoor spaces for two or even three seasons, with amenities like fireplaces, fire pits and patio heaters where needed.”

Outdoor living spaces, the NKBA said, “have evolved far beyond a grill on the patio and a picnic table. They frequently include hardscaping to define areas for eating, cooking and relaxing; built-in refrigerators, grills, sinks, storage and cabinetry; plumbing and drainage; bar areas with tap systems; shelter/overhead structures, and lighting/atmosphere controls.”

Homeowners are also spending a significant amount of money on their outdoor kitchen projects, the NKBA said, noting that its report revealed that the average outdoor kitchen price point is about $13,000, with 22% of homeowners building high-end outdoor kitchens (more than $30,000) and 14% spending between $20,000 and $30,000.

Surveyed homeowners, furthermore, often have cash on hand to finance their outdoor projects, the NKBA said, noting that of those surveyed, 61% said they’re paying for the majority of their outdoor kitchen with cash.

The report also reveals what homeowners wish they had done differently when designing their outdoor spaces, including building better structures for shade and protection from inclement weather (12%); a bigger space (10%); more counter area (9%); atmosphere/lighting/temperature control (7%), and cabinets/storage (5%).


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