Does An Outdoor Kitchen Add Value To A Home?

outdoor kitchen with stone cabinets and stainless steel grill with a blue and pink sky behind it in the evening

If you are planning on moving in the next five or ten years, you weigh the impact of home improvements differently than someone who is in their ‘forever house’.  Let’s face it, you are not in your dream house.  You are living in your next phase of life house. Although, you still want to make good decisions.  This may impact whether you build a garage, add a pool, or renovate the bathrooms.  One home improvement we are asked about regularly is regarding outdoor kitchens.  Specifically, does an outdoor kitchen add value to a home.  

Does An Outdoor Kitchen Add Value To A Home?

Like the answer to many aspects of home renovations and improvement, I can hear you all groaning once again, it depends.  Yes, the frustrating reality is it depends on numerous factors.  Luckily, even though it’s not as clear cut, we know these factors. In this article, we’ll explore each of these factors and help you understand if an outdoor kitchen will add value to a home in your circumstances.

Determining Factors For Home Improvement Value

First, where do you live?  Location matters a great deal when it comes to home value. It’s a very situational factor that must be looked at on a city by city or even neighborhood basis. We’ve had the unique pleasure of designing backyards in several different states, both in urban and rural communities.

Maybe you live in the forests of rural Idaho, and you are thinking of spending thousands on an outdoor kitchen. You should not expect the same return as someone who lives in Phoenix, Arizona.  Likewise, if you live in Austin Texas, you’ll see a greater impact on your home value by adding an outdoor kitchen than someone in Chicago.  

Are there exceptions?  Absolutely. If you have a roof deck in the Beacon Hill or Back Bay neighborhood in Boston, spending tens of thousands of dollars on a well appointed outdoor kitchen will impact the resale positively.  If you go just a few miles away to Quincy, Massachusetts, you will not see the same impact.  As in all things real estate, location is a big variable, possibly the biggest.  But don’t lose heart, you may be able to justify  spending the money on the kitchen yet.

If you are having difficulty knowing if your city/state values home improvements, there’s an easy way to check. Take a look at which cities make the most home improvements. This will be a good signal of where homeowners at least believe that there dollar will be recouped.

backyard living space showing the answer of does an outdoor kitchen add value to a home as being yes due to increased opportunities to spend time outside in a covered kitchen with gray pavers and a large slab to sit and eat

Hidden Value Behind Adding An Outdoor Kitchen

If you don’t see a tick up in the sell price for putting in an outdoor kitchen, you may see something else valuable occur.  Much like a well built pool doesn’t add significant value in many places, even though the investment is large, there is another aspect of real estate transactions they can help with.  If you find yourself in a bidding war, it’s far easier for a buyer to rationalize bidding a higher amount when they know the seller spent $50,000 on an outdoor kitchen, or $150,000 on a pool.

Additionally, an outdoor kitchen can help real estate transactions happen faster.  In a slow market, the property with newer and nicer amenities often sell, leaving the stale and dated properties to linger.  I know it’s hard to imagine given the past decade of madness in the real estate market, but transactions didn’t always happen in a few days.  You used to have to try and sell your house, and those days are likely on their way back.

Benefits Of Adding An Outdoor Kitchen

When weighing the reality of does an outdoor kitchen add value to a home, there is one more rationalization feature to consider. Understand how much use you will derive from an outdoor kitchen before making your decision.

To understand the biggest benefit (time), you can do some simple math. If you spend only five more years in the home, and you use the outdoor kitchen twice a week, that’s 104 uses per year.  Multiply that by 5 years, and you have roughly 500 uses of the outdoor kitchen.  This is 500 times you didn’t need to hire a caterer. Furthermore, it’s 500 times you didn’t need to wrestle with a rattling old grill. Finally, it’s 500 times you weren’t isolated in a corner with your back to the entertaining areas.  Stretch that out hourly, and assume that’s 750 hours of use.  

You can choose to be balancing raw meat on the edge of a grimy old grill with your tongs and spatula falling to the deck below, or using a beautifully appointed outdoor kitchen and grilling like the civilized person you are.  If your outdoor kitchen costs you $35,000 to build, is it worth $47/hour to entertain as you’ve always wanted?  Well, there’s the pitch anyway.  I hope you consider it. 

Once you’ve lived with an outdoor kitchen, you really don’t want to go back.  Even if you use the grilling area less, you’ll love having an accessible beverage center so you can keep everyone from needing to run inside whenever they need a drink.

Does An Outdoor Kitchen Add Value To A Home Summary

So, in our opinion, does an outdoor kitchen add value to a home?  It depends on the factors above, but the answer is probably yes.  Even if you live alone in the middle of the woods in the least desirable place on earth.  Having an outdoor kitchen will make that existence just a little bit better for you, and the person you sell the property to someday. 

Just a quick caveat, we are completely biased on this subject. In fact, we unabashedly support everyone in their quest for an outdoor kitchen. After all, we’ve spent the past 20+ years helping homeowners design them. We’ve seen them add quantifiable value to a home’s value. It really is the pinnacle of outdoor living.  

If you are teetering on the idea, consider out guide for adding an outdoor kitchen on a budget. This can often be a healthy compromise between a full investment and not doing anything.