Cooking On A Budget -- 5 Tips For Building An Outdoor Kitchen Without Breaking The Bank

Thinking of adding an outdoor kitchen to your patio area? It's a great way to enjoy your home more, add usable square footage to the living areas and upgrade your backyard at the same time. Building a great outdoor kitchen, though, doesn't require spending a ton of money. What it calls for is a good design and simple comfort. Here are 5 tips for any homeowner.

Build a Proper Foundation. You don't need to build a fancy or expensive tile floor for your kitchen, but you do need a solid base. Make sure your chosen location is solid underneath and exposed as little to the elements as possible. Choose materials that are not slippery (such as glazed or porous materials) and can stand up to the extra use. Concrete, brick and natural stone are good choices that can all fit within most budgets. 

Choose the Right Location. To ensure the outdoor kitchen gets a lot of use, make it easily accessible from the inside kitchen. The less you have to travel to use the kitchen, the more likely you are to entertain and use it. Place the outdoor kitchen in a semi-protected location where the worst of winds and weather will affect it the least. However, be aware of wind patterns in the area to try to prevent smoke from outdoor grills from wafting back into the house. Protecting your outdoor kitchen will help keep it in good condition and keep maintenance to a minimum. 

Add Storage and Work Space. One of the primary things every outdoor kitchen needs will be work space. This work space doesn't need to be fancy, but it should be expansive (at least 3 or 4 feet of free space) and reachable from both the cooking area and the entertainment area. Look for a waterproof surface that's easily cleaned and strong enough to stand up to weather changes -- including non-porous natural stone or inexpensive freeze-proof tile. 

Create a Comfy Space. Patio furniture has come a long way since the old days of basic umbrella tables and metal chairs, so you don't have to spend a lot of money on indoor furnishings to get a good look. Modern outdoor furniture is fashionable, comfortable and inviting. Include several chairs, loveseats or sofas (depending on your available space) that are upholstered and inviting. A large table can serve as extra work space, an inviting place to dine, a place to hold snacks and a location for serving a buffet for larger parties. 

Add Ambiance. Even with the most basic, budget outdoor kitchen, you can make it look personalized and beautiful by adding accessories. Decorative touches like unique lighting, a fun and eclectic chair or bold throw pillows are cheap ways to touch up your entertaining space. You can even use outdoor accessories like a relaxing water fountain and hanging bowls of colorful flowers. 

No matter what your budget is, you can create a fun and useful space for your outdoor kitchen. By knowing how to find a good location and what basics are needed as well as how to add personal touches, your outdoor kitchen will be a place you'll love for years to come.