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Photography by Derek Swalwell; Styling by Bek Sheppard for InForm

Outdoor kitchen cabinets are the ultimate luxury, allowing you an alfresco dining experience with every meal. Whether you’re cooking up a feast for all your friends or enjoying an intimate dinner with a few of your besties, maximizing your outdoor space with a kitchen will instantly earn you the Host With the Most award. The first step in planning an outdoor kitchen? Narrowing down the best cabinets for your space. Choosing weatherproof materials and a functional layout are key, and so is serious style. Not to worry; we’ve got all the information you need to start your search, plus we’ve rounded up nine outdoor kitchen cabinet setups that’ll inspire your own backyard space.

What to Think About When Considering Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

The Materials

Outdoor kitchen cabinets need to withstand all weather—rain, sun, humidity, and anything else Mother Nature throws your way—without warping or peeling. Ultra-durable stainless steel is always a good option. Or for a natural material that complements the surroundings, choose weather-resistant wood cabinets, says Shelby Van Daley, principal designer of Austin-based interior design firm Daley Home. Mahogany and teak are at the top of her list. Stone and concrete also offer a sleek, beautiful finish, but there’s a catch, according to Van Daley. “They can stand up well to chipping, scratching, and fading,” she says. “However, they are still porous and can be susceptible to staining.”

For more budget-friendly cabinets, consider PVC, a durable material that’s particularly resilient to the elements. Regardless of what cabinet material you choose, though, Van Daley has one important reminder: All of your cabinets’ components—hinges, glides, and screws—must be rust-resistant stainless steel. 

The Finish

Whatever outdoor kitchen cabinet material you settle on, ensure its finish is scratch-, impact-, and UV resistant. For wood cabinets, a sealant or varnish is a must to protect against moisture, and for stainless steel, you’ll want a powder-coat finish. Van Daley also recommends choosing a matte finish, which helps mask etches and sun damage. If you really want to be mindful of the latter, considering where to place your cabinets, keep in mind how the sun will rise and set in relation to your layout. Be mindful of glare from bright finishes, as well as direct sun exposure to dark finishes that might be prone to fading. If possible, add a pergola or awning over your outdoor kitchen area; the added layer of protection is good for both your cabinets and sunburn-prone shoulders. 

The Cost

How much you’ll shell out for an outdoor kitchen varies widely due to a few factors, including size, materials, and labor. According to Angi, building an outdoor kitchen will cost you between $6,016 and $25,100, with an average of $15,558. A simple kitchen—say, a few cabinets and a sink—will be on the low end of that range, while an outdoor kitchen with all the bells (natural stone cabinets, soapstone countertops) and whistles (pizza oven, wine fridge) will top out near the high end. 

Where to Buy

Narrowing down where to buy outdoor kitchen cabinets hinges on both your style and budget. On the affordable side—as budget-friendly as outdoor kitchen cabinets come—there’s NewAge Products, which sells a variety of simple styles at a range of retailers like Walmart, Wayfair, and Lowe’s. Then you’ve got Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn, which sell sleek and stylish designs with a slightly higher price point. Or for a custom design, browse Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens, which offers a wide variety of finishes, door styles, and layouts to match your exact wants and needs.

Read on for nine awe-worthy outdoor kitchen cabinet setups. 

The Beachy-Chic One

It’s true: Black absorbs light, making any sun-drenched space feel considerably hotter. Also true: Black outdoor kitchen cabinets and seating make for an utterly cool space to dine and hang. Take this cooking area at the hotel Atlantic Byron Bay, for instance. It’s shaded by a bamboo roof and nails the modern surf shack look with beaded doors, rope pulls, and industrial lighting. 

The Reliable One

Choosing cabinet materials that can withstand all of Mother Nature’s moods is crucial. For a modern grill setup, opt for concrete and timber—two materials that age gracefully outdoors—which Australian firm Custom Creations Landscapes utilized to create this sleek kitchen space. Other wood varieties such as teak and cedar, which are commonly used for decks, also make for sturdy outdoor kitchen cabinets.

The IKEA One

Courtesy of IKEA

Leave it to IKEA to create affordable outdoor kitchen cabinets. These emerald-hued ones from its Bodbyn collection lean into nature vibes when surrounded by trees and trailing greenery—perfect for a backyard oasis. No matter how much (or how little) space you have, IKEA’s online design tool can customize the size of your drawers and cabinets according to your wants, needs, and square footage.

The Tonal One

Sure, you could argue that the backsplash of this outdoor kitchen space by Adam Robinson Design wasn’t totally necessary. The Moroccan-tiled accent wall does serve a (pretty) purpose, though. The varying gray tones of the star- and cross-shaped slabs tie together the dark cabinetry and light timber wood floors, making for a cohesive outdoor kitchen space. 

The Eat-In One

The designers behind Three Birds Renovations constructed this built-in barbecue from scratch, but no matter how handy you are with a jigsaw, this outdoor kitchen is inspo-worthy. To emphasize the effortless flow of indoor-outdoor living, they extended the countertop to make a breakfast bar and added a window that opens up to a bar.

The One in the City

City dwellers, don’t let a small (but mighty!) outdoor space impede your dreams of an outdoor kitchen. Take designer Sibella Court’s lively terrace as inspiration. The cabinets are decked out with a bar, a fluted stoneware sink from Tasmania, and steel drawer pulls. It’s ideal for a WFH situation, as well as cocktail hour once you slam your laptop shut.  

The Tiled One

With rainy days a rarity in Los Angeles, Annie Ritz of AndAndAnd Studio had her pick of cabinet materials when designing her outdoor kitchen. She landed on forest green Heath tiles and cabinets created from Douglas fir, an evergreen native to the area. The vibrant pop of color breaks up the patio’s expanse of gray concrete while creating a seamless look that blends into the surrounding fauna. 

The One That’s Like a Greenhouse

Homeowner Jenn D’Cunha, who tapped designer Roberto Sosa to revamp her Los Angeles patio, had a very specific image in mind for her outdoor kitchen: an Old Hollywood garden with jungle vibes. Cut to the finished space, and that translated to an indestructible quartzite countertop sitting atop a weatherproof teak base. Add in plants, plants, and more plants, and D’Cunha’s dream of cooking in the jungle is complete. 

The Open-Face One

For the minimalists among us, consider nixing cabinet fronts altogether. That’s what Jurjen Van Hulzen, the creative director and lead designer of Ibiza Interiors, decided for this enviable outdoor kitchen. The open cabinets act as a cool, clutter-free outline for the kitchen’s standout fixtures—a sink made from a salvaged trough, built-in pizza oven, and wood-burning grill—while still providing storage for stoneware.