Sitting on the patio, grilling out and watching my children play as I chat with friends is one of my favorite things to do when it’s nice out. I recently created an outdoor kitchen and cozy living area in my backyard and couldn’t be happier. Having everything at hand eliminates trips in and out of the house and gives me more time to relax and enjoy my family.
Upgrading your backyard is a fantastic way to increase your usable living space. And spending time outside is just plain good for you. According to this Tech Insider article, “nature offers one of the most reliable boosts to your mental and physical well-being.” If you’re looking to up the ante on your outdoor living space, let’s focus on two keys areas: grilling and chilling.
Grilling in the Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen
The sky’s the limit when it comes to any home improvement project, and I’ve seen some truly incredible outdoor kitchens. But don’t think you have to go big or go home to create a space that works for you and your budget.
The key to creating your ultimate outdoor kitchen is to balance functionality with a design that matches your style and budget. Remember, the purpose of an outdoor kitchen is to enhance the grilling experience, allow more of the cooking to be done outdoors and reduce trips to the house.
No matter how you envision the space, according to the BBQ Guys, “the grill is one of the most important pieces of your outdoor kitchen.” When choosing a new gas or charcoal grill, they tell customers that “durability, great cooking performance and design and style are just a few of the things to keep in mind.”
Other things you might want to include in your outdoor kitchen include:
- Counters or an island with stools
- Mini Refrigerator
- Wine Cooler
- Beer Tap
- Built-In Ice Chest
- Overhead & Task Lighting
To really up the convenience factor, you’ll want to stock plates, utensils, glasses, serving platters, cutting boards and grilling tools in your outdoor kitchen. Just be sure your cabinets and storage areas are air-tight to keep everything clean between uses.
Once you’ve cooked up a delicious meal, you’ll want a comfy spot where you can kick back and chill.
Chilling in the Ultimate Outdoor Living Area
Today’s outdoor furniture has come a long way. I used to get so frustrated with those gross, faded cushions that made my back sweat, wicker seats that sagged and metal that rusted. Now, you can find outdoor furniture that is truly all-weather — quick-drying, breathable and soft fabrics, high-quality durable aluminum, synthetic wicker, and composite furniture that looks like wood and lasts for years.
Just as with your outdoor kitchen, the items you include in your outdoor living room and the materials you choose will depend on your preferences, lifestyle, and budget. According to Trex, a top manufacturer of composite decking and furniture, “balancing cost with the durability of the deck material is the key to a wonderful space that lasts for years. Choose the option that can weather the best based on the realities of your project budget.”
So what do you want to include in the chilling zone of your outdoor living space? Here are some options to consider:
- Conversation seating — room for four to 10 people in a combination of chairs, sofas, sectionals, love seats and chaise lounges around coffee and side tables
- Bistro sets — two seats and a small table for intimate conversations
- Bar sets — bar-height tables and stools for casual standing and seated conversations
- Dining tables — room for four to 10 (or more!) people for comfortable, family-style meals, conversations and game time
- Lounge furniture — gliders, porch swings, hanging beds, round daybeds, chaises and hammocks, all perfect for relaxing and spending time with friends and family
Complete Your Outdoor Space in Style
Once you’ve mapped out these two main areas of your outdoor living area, it’s time to have fun with the design. The possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to colors, patterns and materials so you can design a space that you will love. From beachy and breezy to sleek and contemporary, your outdoor living area can be a true extension of your home’s style.
Liyya Hassanali is a Project Manager and Content Strategist for Kinship Design Marketing, a boutique agency that provides marketing strategies and content for architects, interior designers, and landscape designers. She is a 15+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry, working closely with her clients to provide written content that meets their marketing goals and gets results.
Liyya is passionate about home design and décor and is a confessed HGTV and Pinterest addict. When not providing content writing services for her clients, she can be found browsing home décor sites or spending time with her family.