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Use these 7 tips to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget

Outdoor kitchens are quickly becoming one of the most coveted features in a home. Not only have the last few years taught us to love the space we’re in, but it’s encouraged us to spend more time in our outdoor living spaces. An outdoor kitchen is an excellent way to enjoy the fresh air while hosting a party or just cooking dinner for the family.

Unfortunately, outdoor kitchens can be an intimidating project to take on. Once you consider all the features like cooking station, countertops, plumbing, electric, seating, and more, you can see how it can be an expensive addition to a home. However, it’s important to remember that an outdoor kitchen can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. Here are our tips for staying on budget while creating the perfect outdoor kitchen for you and your family.

Planning for success

The most essential part of any project is planning. Without a clear plan, it’s likely that your project will go off the rails, over budget, and might never be finished. We recommend taking the time to assess your current space and create a wish list. This might mean going onto Pinterest or Houzz to find some inspiration photos or pulling from your own imagination to create the perfect space for you. Either way, make a plan, write it down, and set a game plan.

outdoor kitchen
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Quality grill

While a few things within an outdoor kitchen project can be sourced for cheaper options, a grill is not one. A grill will be the workhorse of your kitchen. It’ll not only have to perform and cook all your meals to perfection, but it will also have to withstand the weather. When homeowners opt for a more affordable option, they often find that they have to replace the grill within a year or two. In the long run, it’s actually going to save you money to go for a more durable and high-quality grill.

Avoid a sink

You can’t go without a grill in an outdoor kitchen design, but we suggest maybe avoiding a sink in your plans if you’d like to save some money. Running plumbing out to the sink is often one of the most expensive parts of an outdoor kitchen project. Not only will you have to dig the water lines below your local frost line, but you’ll also have to run both hot and cold water. If the indoor kitchen isn’t too far of a walk and you think you can manage without a sink outside, you’ll be able to save a lot of money on your outdoor kitchen project.

Countertop material

Not every material is made to last outdoors for extended periods. Selecting the ideal countertop material is one of the most crucial parts of your outdoor kitchen project. What you can use will depend on your climate, the structure around the countertop, and your design style. Experts in the field will direct you to the best option for your situation, but be sure you can rely on the material to withstand all that an outdoor kitchen needs.

Pre-packaged set

For those on a tight budget or those looking for a project that’s less involved, there are great options when it comes to pre-packaged sets. These sets usually come with a grill, countertop, and some form of storage and cabinetry. They can be purchased and assembled at home, so you don’t need to take on a massive project by yourself or hire out an expensive contractor.

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Outdoor furniture

It’s critical not to forget about seating when planning. Whether it’s making sure your spouse has somewhere to lounge while you grill the steaks to perfection, or your friends and family have a place gather around while you cook the burgers and hot dogs—good seating is a must.

There are about as many different styles and designs of outdoor furniture as there are people, so you’re sure to find something within your budget and your style. Remember that the whole project needs to flow, and if you can find a more affordable option with seating, you can spend more money on a grill or countertop.

Fans for airflow

Grills tend to put off some smoke, and if your outdoor kitchen has a roof, you’ll want to consider fans for airflow. Not only that, but hot summer days can be made bearable if they’re enjoyed under a fan. We suggest finding an option with a light and a fan, so you can get two for one and save more for other items on your outdoor kitchen wishlist.

Outdoor kitchens are a great way to make use of the outdoor living space you have. Just be sure to plan everything out before you start, and don’t forget to add a few string lights for a pretty way to light up a late-night party.

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Rebecca Wolken
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rebecca's has written for Bob Villa and a Cincinnati based remodeling company. When she's not writing about home remodeling…
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