The Great Outdoors

by Anita Shaw

The pandemic has changed the way homeowners view their homes and the way they function, and has prompted people to make changes that more closely align with their current lifestyles. Kitchens, baths, home offices and living areas have gotten the most attention, and the latter includes outdoor spaces, which are being transformed into outside rooms.

While outdoor kitchens used to consist of a grill paired with table and chairs, today’s outdoor living areas include not only grills but ventilation, refrigeration and cabinets for storage. They act as an extension of the indoor kitchen and great room, and lend themselves to everything from entertaining groups of friends to lounging with the family.

Below are just a few of the current trends in outdoor kitchens and living areas:

  • Homeowners are interested in full working kitchens outdoors as well as in, with outdoor spaces including similar amenities to their indoor counterparts, such as cooking stations, refrigeration for beverages and wine, dishwashers, sinks for prep and cleanup and comfortable eating areas.
  • Many outdoor kitchens act as an extension of the indoor kitchen, with similar design colors and features, shared floors, and sliding glass walls that provide seamless flow between the two spaces.
  • Outdoor kitchens have come a long way since the strictly stainless days, with stacked stone designs and powder-coated cabinets in a rainbow of colors encouraging high-end looks.
  • The outdoor entertaining area includes kitchens, and so much more, incorporating cushioned seating, multiple tables, televisions and firepit areas.
  • Portable bars are the latest products catching the eye, with everything from mini versions with space for ice, liquor bottles and glassware all the way to full-sized versions with shelving, storage and custom finishes.
  • Manufacturers are upping their game when it comes to producing products for outdoor spaces, with refrigeration, countertops, sinks, faucets and other items being designed with UV protection and special coatings to withstand the harshest outdoor elements.

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