Bringing the outdoors in with an open plan indoor/outdoor kitchen

About a quarter of all kitchens designed by Kitchen Retailer of the Year Kitchens International now are large open plan indoor/outdoor kitchens. The Great British Bake Off and numerous TV cooking programmes has not just inspired us to take up home cooking but also to re-design our kitchens.

Top of so many people’s wish lists are large, spacious kitchens that preferably open onto decking or a balcony or garden. Whether you have a large space to play with or a tighter L-shaped area an indoor outdoor kitchen can be created with clever location of cabinetry, doors, windows, glass roofing and lighting.

As the British weather is so changeable we use the shifting external light to act as mood lighting creating different atmospheres and dynamics. This can create a more interesting space and depending on the aspect of the kitchen, internal lighting can complement the natural external light through the seasons.

According to Paul O’Brien at Kitchens International, the kitchen designer will consider many elements when designing an ‘indoor/outdoor’ kitchen. He said:

“Most importantly is the location of the cabinetry and island or peninsula. It is key that the person cooking must have a good view as well as those eating or socialising. We often recommend larger back units to hug the wall and provide storage, leaving the island for food prep and cooking as well as essential storage, then giving way to a zoned dining area and a lower sitting area so everyone can maximise the views.”

Colour and flooring are important. Choice of cabinetry, wall and floor colouring must harmonise with the outdoors so harsh, strong colours should be avoided and more neutral beiges, greys, creams and light greens work best to blend with the outside. Flooring should flow from inside to out to make the room feel like it is part of the outside.

If considering a new indoor outdoor kitchen Kitchens International have a few top tips:

  • Planning – there are many planning considerations such as how much glass you will be installing, amount of space in the cooking zone, noise and location of appliances. Check this all out with your designer first.
  • Lighting – use external natural lighting where possible, complemented by zoned internal lighting
  • Doors – these are key in bringing the outdoors in so consider what works best for your property
  • Avoid fussy or cluttered designs as these will detract from the natural beauty outside
  • Design the whole room so the eye is drawn to the outdoors especially if there is a good view so nothing tall must obstruct this view
  • Avoid reflective materials as this will be too bright and shiny.