Once perceived as a luxury purchase exclusively reserved for custom-made homes, fully equipped outdoor kitchens have evolved into affordable luxuries for consumers who want to expand the entertainment spaces in their homes.
The recent surge in outdoor kitchen interest can be traced back to the recession in 2008 when consumers began to eat at home more to save money, while also looking for ways to add value to their homes. Inspired in part by do-it-yourself shows such as HGTV’s “Property Brothers,” consumers began to realize outdoor kitchens were affordable solutions to satisfy their needs. Today, outdoor kitchens have emerged as permanent staples in both landscape remodeling and new construction. The building industry is coming back and builders are adding outdoor kitchens as standard features on higher-end homes and as options on mid-priced and entry-level homes. We’re not back to the 2005-2006 boom, but we are back to numbers we haven’t seen in five or six years. We are still seeing folks improving their own properties, so the landscaping, remodel and rebuild businesses have not slowed down.
As the growth of outdoor kitchens continues to rise, here are five of the top trends we can expect to see in 2016.
1. Bundled partnerships. We are starting to see companies who specialize in countertops, cabinets and outdoor appliances partner together to meet the needs of landscape designers who prefer to use one source for a complete outdoor kitchen.
2. Customization. Personal style will continue to appear in 2016’s custom-built outdoor kitchens. With the variety of products flooding the market for specialty cooking and entertainment, people have the option of customizing their backyards, patios and decks to meet their personal interests. Also, homeowners can extend the look and the feel of their indoor décor to the outdoors with a variety of colors, styles and design elements, such as stone or brick and countertops such as tile, granite or concrete.
3. Built-in market. The built-in grill market is a relatively new concept and will continue to grow at a high percentage compared to cart model options into 2016 as consumers take advantage of accessories such as side burners and storage units. Additionally, add-on features, such as a griddle attachment, give consumers the opportunity to make non-traditional grilling foods, such as pancakes, eggs and cookies, right on the grill.
4. Complimentary products for outdoor kitchens. Consumers want the full package when enhancing their outdoor spaces and are looking to incorporate elements such as overhead infrared heating, fire pits and fire bowls in their gathering areas. Many consumers also choose to make upgrades, such as adding TVs, outdoor seating areas or under-the-counter refrigeration to enhance their outdoor spaces.
5. Charcoal grilling is back and dual-fuel hybrid grills are trending upward. Charcoal grilling is an art and imposes a different flavor to what is cooking on the grill. And it’s coming back. Duel-fuel hybrid grills are also expected to continue trending upward. They provide the convenience of a gas grill with the ability to simultaneously smoke or utilize charcoal on the other side.
PHOTOS: COYOTE OUTDOOR LIVING