How To Design A Simple Outdoor Kitchen On A Budget

by Sally Littlestone on Jan 25, 2023

Sissinghurst Location House outdoor kitchen at night
When it comes to outdoor living spaces, an outdoor kitchen can be a great addition to your garden. It allows you to cook and entertain outside, and adds value to your home. However, designing an outdoor kitchen can be a costly affair. If you are on a budget, it doesn't mean you have to give up on the idea altogether. With some creative thinking and strategic planning, you can design a simple outdoor kitchen that fits your budget. In this post, we will explore some tips on how to design a simple outdoor kitchen on a budget.
Sissinghurst Location House outside kitchen
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(the above outdoor kitchen belongs to Sally @sissinghurstlocationhouse)
As with any DIY project, the cost of building a simple outdoor kitchen can easily spiral out of control, so it's important to set a budget and stick to it.  If your budget is small, please don't worry as you can start with the basics and expand in the next few years.
Start With A Plan
Before you start building your outdoor kitchen, it is important to have a plan in place. Start by assessing your outdoor space and determining the best location for your kitchen. Consider factors such as access to utilities like gas, water, and electricity. You may also want to think about the layout of your space and how you want to use it. Do you want to have a dedicated cooking area, or do you want to incorporate seating and dining areas as well? Having a plan in place will help you stay on track and avoid overspending.
Keep it simple
One of the best ways to save money when designing an outdoor kitchen is to keep it simple. Focus on the essentials such as a grill, a sink, and storage space. Avoid adding unnecessary features that can drive up the cost. For example, a built-in refrigerator may be convenient, but it can also be expensive. Instead, consider using a portable cooler or mini fridge. You can also save money by opting for a smaller grill or a tabletop model instead of a large built-in grill.
This can be as simple as building the kitchen area on the patio you already have (which obviously is free) however if you want to build in a separate area, you will definitely want to have flooring that's easy to clean, anti slip so you can dance until the wee hours!, and stain/fade resistant so the flooring that you fall in love with looks the same 10 years down the line.  Porcelain tiles tick the box of all of these requirements.  Have a look at Stiled for our collections. 
stiled porcelain tiles nighttime dancing
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(Stiled Show Garden, 10 minutes outside Banbury, Oxfordshire)
Choose The Right Materials
When it comes to designing a budget-friendly outdoor kitchen, choosing the right materials is key. While high-end materials such as granite and stainless steel may look impressive, they can also be expensive. Instead, consider using more affordable options such as concrete or brick. These materials can still provide a stylish and durable surface for your outdoor kitchen. You may also want to consider using prefabricated components such as a grill island or a modular outdoor kitchen kit. These can be more cost-effective than building a custom kitchen from scratch.
outdoor kitchen up cycled pallets
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(The above outdoor kitchen belongs to Belle @designermumetc)
DIY Where Possible
Another way to save money on your outdoor kitchen is to do some of the work yourself. For example, if you are handy with tools, you may be able to build your own grill island or outdoor kitchen cabinets. You can also save money by doing some of the installation work yourself. However, be sure to proceed with caution and follow all safety guidelines, especially when it comes to gas and electrical connections. If you are not comfortable with DIY, consider hiring a handyman or contractor to help with the installation.
Consider Second-Hand Items
Another way to save money on your outdoor kitchen is to consider second-hand items. Check online marketplaces such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for used outdoor kitchen components such as grills or outdoor refrigerators. You can often find these items at a fraction of the cost of buying new. Just be sure to thoroughly inspect any used items before purchasing to ensure they are in good condition and functioning properly.
Getting the lighting correct is very important.  Enough light to be able to cook at night, but not too much to take away from the ambiance.  The cheapest option would be to invest in some solar lighting.   Lights4Fun have some great solutions.  If your budget extends, then it's recommended to hire an electrician to hardwire lighting into the area.  Putting the lighting onto separate circuits is a great solution to having brighter lighting in the cooking area and mood lighting in the lounging area.  
sissinghurst location house outdoor kitchen at night
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(the above outdoor kitchen belongs to Sally @sissinghurstlocationhouse)
Incorporate Natural Elements
Finally, consider incorporating natural elements into your outdoor kitchen design. For example, you can use plants and flowers to add color and texture to your space. You can also use natural stone or wood to create a rustic and inviting atmosphere. By incorporating natural elements, you can create an outdoor kitchen that feels like an extension of your backyard and doesn't require a lot of added expenses.
In conclusion, designing a simple outdoor kitchen on a budget is definitely possible.  By starting with a plan, choosing the right materials, keeping it simple, DIY-ing where possible, considering second-hand items, and incorporating natural elements, you can create a functional and stylish outdoor kitchen without breaking the bank.  With a little bit of creativity and smart planning, you can enjoy cooking and entertaining outside in your own budget friendly outdoor oasis. 
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