Valeria Crescenzi

10 outdoor kitchen ideas for dining alfresco

Dining alfresco is definitely one of those things that make me feel on vacation even though I am at home. Does it resonate with you as well?

In my dream home, I have a large patio overlooking the beach where I spend beautiful evenings cooking together with friends, laughing, and sipping a good glass of wine.

Reality check: I don’t have a large patio on the beach but I do have a well-proportionate decked balcony equipped with a grill and a table for dining alfresco.

There is not enough space for an outdoor kitchen, but I think we can all get some inspiration from the following 10 outdoor kitchens to create a well-organized cooking corner. No matter how tiny our outdoor space is!

photo courtesy: abimis

10 outdoor kitchen ideas for dining alfresco. Practical tips

Organizing an outdoor cooking space depends a lot on the available surface and your needs. Do you have a big space or a small one? Is it a garden area or a balcony? Do you want to bake pizza or you are more for barbecue cookouts? Anyhow, there are a few essentials you need to design your own outdoor kitchen:

1. A kitchen island/counter space with a good worktop (or alternatively a kitchen trolley for small spaces). It almost goes without saying, that this is a very handy unit for preparing and serving the food and also allows you to have a bit of storage space.

2. Grill, pizza oven, portable cooking stove. Depending on your cooking needs and preferences, you need one or more of those items. Some grills, like mine for example, also have a side burner that can fix the need for a portable stove.

3. Dining area. You can either go for a classic combo such as table + chairs or choose an outside bar counter with stools. Choose keeping in mind what kind of gatherings you are going to host and what food you are going to serve.

4. Shelter. If you have a decked balcony like mine there is no need for extra roofing. Otherwise, it’s very important to cover your outdoor kitchen in some way. This will keep both your kitchen appliances and your guests safe.

5. Waste bins. Especially with warm temperatures, you don’t want any pests to get wind of your trash. Go for bins with lid and make sure they are made in materials that are suitable for outdoor uses.

If you have enough space to create a fully equipped outdoor kitchen you will also need a sink, a refrigerator, and a bigger counter space. You could install a dishwasher and you could also consider having some extra amenities such as an ice maker or a bar station.

TIP: always choose furniture, appliances, and products designed specifically for outdoor use. And select weather-worthy fabrics. If you are looking for more inspiration on this aspect, have a look at my in-depth guide with tips and tricks to make the most of your balcony.

Now that we have outlined the outdoor kitchen essentials what do you think to have a look at the selection of images I made for you? Hope you’ll find lots of inspiration!

Summer is still in full swing and if you have a decked patio or a covered balcony you could extend the outdoor season into Autumn and even Winter.

10 outdoor kitchen ideas for dining alfresco. Inspiring images + what’s cool for each option

project by three birds renovations. image source

WHAT’S COOL HERE: The huge L-shaped countertop provides plenty of space for preparing food while being together with the guests. This solution encourages conviviality. The color palette is juicy and happy and enhances the summer feeling.

photo: Cristina Galliena Bohman and Francesca Martinez (casamenu)

WHAT’S COOL HERE: the kitchen is simple yet efficient. It’s made using concrete as it stands up to the outdoor elements. It’s equipped with a traditional gas hob which passed the test of time (withstanding the bad weather) thanks to a custom lid made of steel the owners use to cover it. As I was telling you above, it’s crucial to have some form of shelter for your appliances but you don’t need big structures or complicated solutions. Read more about this beautiful house here.

project by moredesign. image source

WHAT’S COOL HERE: the folding door is pure genius. The kitchen is an indoor kitchen that turns into an outdoor cooking area thanks to this simple yet effective trick. You don’t have to compromise on the kind of furniture you can use or worry about the bad weather.

Randy Thueme design. Refreshing bungalow. image source

WHAT’S COOL HERE: this one-sided kitchen is equipped with BBQ, pizza oven, and plenty of serving counter space. And it even includes an ice bucket to keep beverages fresh. One of those extra amenities that give more sociability to space.

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WHAT’S COOL HERE: the built-in grill almost disappears in the countertop keeping the cooking corner glam and consistent with the style of the backyard. It’s a practical and elegant solution. Thumbs up for the Moroccan-tiled backsplash.

image source

WHAT’S COOL HERE: the indoor/outdoor relationship. If you can’t build an outdoor kitchen, you can at least open the window and have an outdoorsy feeling. Have a look at the other pictures of this project designed by Laura Butler-Madden because this kitchen (and the rest of the house) is amazing!

outdoor kitchen by wwoo. image source

WHAT’S COOL HERE: the versatility of a modular concrete outdoor kitchen. It can adapt to any setting, from large patios to smaller balconies.

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WHAT’S COOL HERE: the minimalist approach. This project is proof that you can create your cooking area just putting together a countertop made of recycled wood and a few portable appliances. Simple as that!

image source

WHAT’S COOL HERE: this is a DIY outdoor kitchen. It’s a clever use of the space and don’t ask for big appliances, just a portable stove can be enough to enjoy a simple meal in good company.

WHAT’S COOL HERE: a shed turned into an outdoor kitchen. Grilling and cooking outside is great fun, but it doesn’t mean you want to look at your outdoor kitchen every time you’re enjoying your outdoor space. Curtains are a money-wise option for hiding the cooking station.

Ready to pin these beautiful alfresco designs to your summer Pinterest board?

Cover photo: courtesy of Abimis.


  • Nadia Scrocca

    Tutte bellissime la 3 la4 8 e 9 sono le mie preferite ciao

    • Valeria Crescenzi

      Ottima scelta delle preferite! Ho selezionato diversi stili così prendere ispirazione è più facile =)

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