Published on May 27, 2020

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Photography by Derek Swalwell; Styling by Bek Sheppard for InForm

Come June, we do everything outdoors: read, play, drink, and—if you really want to take full advantage of the warmer weather—grill. An alfresco kitchen seems like an unnecessary luxury—what’s the point when you already have a perfectly fine one inside?—but there is something to be said for cooking and dining beneath the sun and stars. For one thing, it allows you to have somewhere to socialize with guests while your work. More important, the extra cupboards offer a place for surplus dishware and ingredients. From the right weatherproof materials to the most functional layouts, here are six outdoor kitchen cabinet setups that will inspire you to spend every last minute in nature.

The Beachy-Chic One

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Photography by Alicia Taylor for The Atlantic

Black typically doesn’t scream summertime (mainly because it makes everything infinitely hotter), but the color is utterly cool in the form of outdoor cabinetry and seating. Shaded by a bamboo roof, this cooking area at the hotel Atlantic Byron Bay nails the modern surf shack look with beaded doors, rope pulls, and industrial lighting. 

The Reliable One

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Photography by Brigid Arnott; Design by Custom Creations

Choosing materials that can withstand the elements is crucial. Fortunately, concrete and timber—two naturally sleek-looking surfaces—happen to age gracefully outdoors. (Other wood varieties such as teak and cedar, which are commonly used for decks, also make for great outdoor kitchen cabinets as long as they are periodically refinished and resealed). In this modern grill setup by Australian firm Custom Creations Landscapes, the two hold their own.

The IKEA One

green indoor/outdoor kitchenPin It
Courtesy of IKEA

Outfitted with the company’s dark green Bodbyn doors and surrounded by trees and trailing greenery, this soothing emerald space gives off serious jungle vibes. When using IKEA’s online design tool, you can choose the size of your drawers and cabinets according to your needs, so if you own one too many sheet pans and spatulas, they can live out here. 

The Tonal One

gray outdoor kitchenPin It
Photography by ess.creative; Design by Adam Robinson Design

There might not be a total need for a backsplash in this space by Adam Robinson Design, but the Moroccan tiled accent wall does serve a purpose: The varying gray tones of the star- and cross-shaped slabs help tie together the dark cabinetry and light timber wood floors, making for a cohesive exterior. 

The Eat-In One

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Photography by Three Birds Renovations

The designers behind Three Birds Renovations admit that building this built-in barbecue from scratch was actually cheaper than buying a freestanding cooktop and cabinets. To really make the most of the area, they extended the countertop to make a breakfast bar and added a window that opens up to a bar.

The One in the City

outdoor kitchen and indoor living roomPin It
Photography by Anson Smart

There’s always room for an outdoor kitchen—even if you only have a balcony or small patio to spare. Designer Sibella Court’s lively terrace is decked out with a bar; a fluted, shallow stoneware sink from Tasmania; and softly worn steel drawer pulls. It’s the perfect spot for mixing drinks or cutting fresh flowers from the farmers’ market. 

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High-Gloss Kitchen Cabinets May Be the Key to Brightening a Tiny Room
That Empty Space Above Your Cabinets Is Actually Prime Real Estate
Kitchen Cabinet Layouts Aren’t as Puzzling as They Seem