Cooking and eating outside, especially when the weather is just right, is the perfect way to connect with your own backyard. Whether you have a deck, patio or a simple grassy yard, you can design your own outdoor kitchen to make the outdoor dining experience that much more enjoyable. Plus, creating this exterior space can be a feature many homebuyers look for. Here are some design ideas to help you create a stylish and functional outdoor kitchen.

Built-in grill, stovetop and bar

Since you can’t just carry your kitchen stove outside for a day, a built-in kitchen is the perfect solution when designing this space. Prefab outdoor kitchen kits are a simple and easy way to bring the inside out while saving money on a custom space. Many of these kits include a grill, stovetop, counter space, mini fridge and sometimes even an oven, and are usually installed by professionals. If you are looking to create a more customized kitchen, be sure to include all the essentials, including a bar area where you can sit and enjoy your freshly cooked food.

Designated seating areas

When designing your outdoor kitchen, it’s easy to get lost in the appliances. But you don’t want to forget about seating. Of course, you should include a table with enough seats for your whole family. If you have the space, adding a sofa or larger cushioned seats can add a cozy spot to enjoy appetizers, drinks or even lounge around the fire.

Neutral colors and earth tones

Interior colors inspired by nature add a calming, less-distracting vibe to small spaces. Colors like Sherwin Williams’ Evergreen Fog and Benjamin Moore’s October Mist, both of which are their respective colors of the year, are soothing and refreshing all at once.

Storage for supplies

Cabinets and drawers are essential to store all your kitchen supplies. This will limit the trips you need to make inside for plates, cups, napkins, silverware and other essential cooking utensils to make and serve a meal. Keep everything in reach of where it is most needed, such as plates and cooking utensils near the grill and stove top.

Add some shade

If you plan to dine outside on a sunny summer day, you may want to add some shade. Whether you use a simple umbrella for coverage or build an awning or pergola for shade, it’s important to protect you and your family from harmful UV rays. In addition to adding shade to your outdoor dining space, having a covering above can allow you to enjoy the outdoors on a rainy day. A covering can also help your appliances and seating last longer and keep you cool on hotter days.

Personalize to your home style

Of course, all of the pieces you choose should be weather-resistant and durable. But the space should also complement the style of your home as well as your personal style. Choose from wood, stone and metal options and accent with tiles and different paint colors for a cohesive and stylish look. Add accents, like patterned pillows on chairs and colorful potted plants on countertops, to bring a touch of your own personal aesthetic.