Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets Discover Unlimited Design Options

An outdoor kitchen allows you to enjoy cooking and entertaining outdoors. With the right outdoor kitchen cabinets, you can create a functional and stylish space. When designing an outdoor kitchen, cabinets are a key component that impacts aesthetics, storage, and utility. With so many options to choose from, it’s important to understand the possibilities so you can select cabinets that align with your needs, budget and style.

Cabinet Materials For Outdoor Kitchens

When selecting cabinets for an outdoor kitchen, the material is one of the most important considerations. The cabinets need to be durable enough to withstand weather, insects, and temperature fluctuations. Here are some of the most popular materials used for outdoor kitchen cabinetry:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a top choice for outdoor kitchens because it is water, rust and corrosion resistant. It is also very durable. Stainless steel provides a modern, sleek look. However, it usually comes at a higher price point than other materials. The reflective surface of stainless steel can also make it prone to showing fingerprints and dirt.


Aluminum is lightweight, resistant to corrosion and more affordable than stainless steel. It holds up well in outdoor conditions, although the finish can fade over time. Aluminum comes in a variety of colors and finishes, allowing you to achieve very different looks from contemporary to traditional.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is a waterproof synthetic material that stands up to weather and humidity. It won’t crack, peel or swell. PVC is an inexpensive option for outdoor cabinets, available in many stylish designs. However, PVC can become brittle and fade over time when exposed to sunlight.


Teak wood has natural oils that make it resistant to water, mold and mildew. It has a beautiful grain and color that can be left natural or stained. Teak is very durable but also expensive. Make sure the teak used has been sustainably harvested.


Concrete is highly durable, fireproof and weather-resistant. Concrete cabinets are often custom built, allowing you to get the exact size and look you want. The weight of concrete makes the cabinets stable and reduces vibration. However, concrete is susceptible to cracking and discoloration over time.


Thermofoil consists of a plastic film bonded to a substrate like MDF. The film coating makes the cabinets waterproof and easy to clean. Thermofoil comes in wood grain and solid color options. However, the plastic film can bubble or peel with prolonged sun exposure.

No matter which material you choose for outdoor kitchen cabinets, look for cabinets specifically designed for outdoor use. They incorporate features like stainless steel hardware, waterproof seals and ventilation to withstand the elements.

Design Styles For Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

The style of your outdoor kitchen cabinets impacts the overall look, feel and functionality of the space. Consider the style of your home’s architecture and your aesthetic preferences when selecting cabinet designs. Here are some popular options:


Contemporary style cabinets feature clean lines, little ornamentation, and often metallic finishes like stainless steel. Mixing high gloss and matte surfaces is common. Door handles are integrated or minimal. Contemporary cabinetry gives an outdoor kitchen a sleek, modern feel.


Rustic cabinets incorporate natural wood surfaces, visible grains and hardware that lends an aged, handcrafted vibe. Unpainted, distressed wood paired with wrought iron accents work beautifully in a rustic outdoor kitchen. Rustic style aims to embody cozy, farmhouse charm.

Classic Traditional

Classic traditional cabinets are reminiscent of ornate interior kitchen cabinetry with decorative crown molding, raised panels and rich stains. Timeless shades of cream, gray and brown paired with antique-style hardware give an elegant, luxurious look.


Invoking seaside living, coastal cabinets feature light, airy colors like white, aqua and sky blue. Signature design elements include bead board, recessed panels, shuttered doors and playful hardware. Coastal style aims to capture casual, relaxing vibes.


Tuscan-style cabinets are marked by an Italian Old World aesthetic. Look for hand-painted finishes, earthy colors, handcrafted ceramic knobs and distressing techniques to convey authenticity and rusticity. Decorative carvings also help achieve a Tuscan feel.


Industrial cabinetry relies on materials like galvanized metal, weathered wood, concrete and brick. The utilitarian look features exposed hardware, visible joints, open shelving and modern textures. Sleek metals combined with the warmth of wood create an eclectic warehouse chic vibe.

Custom vs. Stock Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

You can choose between stock and custom cabinets for your outdoor kitchen. Stock cabinets offer standardized sizes and configurations at lower prices. Custom cabinetry provides tailored options crafted to your space, needs and preferences.

Benefits of Stock Cabinets

  • More affordable than custom cabinetry
  • Offer modular sizes that are quicker to install
  • Come in a variety of styles from rustic to modern
  • Provide a more budget-friendly option to customize an outdoor kitchen

Benefits of Custom Cabinets

  • Made to fit your precise space and layout
  • Can incorporate specialty features and organizational elements
  • Allow you to select premium materials and finishes
  • Crafted according to your unique design vision
  • Offer one-of-a-kind look and functionality

If you have a specific vision or complex layout, custom cabinets may be the best option. If you’re working with a tight budget or basic layout, stock options can provide an excellent solution. Conferring with kitchen designers can help weigh the pros and cons.

Storage Solutions For Outdoor Kitchens

Creating smart storage is critical for keeping an outdoor kitchen organized. The right cabinets and design elements allow you to neatly tuck everything away when not in use. Here are excellent storage solutions to incorporate:


Drawers maximize space by stacking storage vertically in base cabinets. Opt for large, deep drawers with full extension slides. Use drawers to store cooking tools, cutlery, towels and more. Consider including specialized drawers for trash and recycle bins.

Pull-Out Pantries

Install pull-out pantries or shelves on either side of appliances. They offer quick access to cooking ingredients while hiding messy jars, cans and boxes when closed. Pull-outs with tiered shelves fit more items in less space.


Mount pegboards inside cabinet doors to hang grilling tools, oven mitts and aprons. Opt for stainless steel pegs to prevent rusting. Pegboards allow you to arrange tools exactly how you want them.

Spice Racks

Incorporate spice racks that mount inside cabinets or slide out for easy access to seasoning essentials while cooking. Choose racks with small shelves to keep spices organized.

Drop Zones

Designate a cabinet with a lift-up door as a drop zone to toss keys, sunglasses and handbags into when entering from outside. This keeps small items from cluttering countertops.

Utility Cabinets

Designate a base cabinet with shelves and a door as a utility cabinet to store cleaning products, trash bags and other household essentials. Mount it near cleanup areas.

Blender Stations

For cabinet-concealed blenders, include removable mixes and blenders inside drawers right below the appliance. Keep blender lids, pads and containers nearby in upper cabinets.

With smart organizational features and storage choices, you can design an outdoor kitchen that conceals clutter and makes cooking a pleasure.

Unique Outdoor Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Beyond standard cabinets, there are many innovative cabinetry options that can make an outdoor kitchen highly functional and one-of-a-kind. Get inspired by these unique ideas:

Beverage Center

Install a dedicated beverage center with cabinets outfitted with slide-out shelves, wine racks, mini fridges, and glassware storage. Entertain in style with your own outdoor wet bar.

Cookbook Nook

Carve out a cozy place for your cookbooks with open shelving tucked under the counter. Have your recipes and cooking references within arm???s reach.

Pet Feeding Station

Give your furry friends their own dedicated cabinet fitted with pull-out pet bowls and storage for food bags, leashes and toys. Keep all pet needs organized in one spot.

Built-In Trash Cabinet

For a clean look, integrate a trash or recycling bin inside a base cabinet instead of freestanding cans. Select a cabinet with shelves to separate recyclables.

Cabinets On Casters

For a portable prep station, opt for base cabinets on locking casters. You can roll the cabinets outside when needed and tuck away when done. Great for small outdoor kitchens!

Hidden Storage

Maximize unused areas by adding false drawer fronts or custom pull-out trays under counters for concealed storage. Great for hiding an ugly tankless water heater.

Cabinet End Panels

Take cabinets to the max by adding matching end panels to enclose appliances in cabinetry. Openings cut in the panels provide access. The seamless look is striking.

Get creative to make your outdoor kitchen cabinets highly functional, personalized and one of a kind.

Selecting Finish Colors For Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

An outdoor kitchen’s cabinets set the tone for the space’s style. Selecting the right finish color is key to achieving your desired look and feel. Here are tips for choosing finishes:

Neutral Tones

Go for timeless neutrals like off-white, cream, light gray and tan for an elegant and relaxed vibe. Neutrals make bolder accents pop. Mix cabinet colors for dimension.

All-White Palette

An all-white or light monochromatic scheme lends an airy, coastal feel. Play with tone and texture by mixing high-gloss and matte white finishes. Add character with striking hardware.

Bold Hues

Make a statement with vibrant colors like cobalt blue, emerald green or fiery red. Primaries really stand out against natural elements. Use colors reflecting the landscape.

Black Accents

Black finishes create a modern, chic look. Use black on select cabinets like islands to define zones. Pair with metals and woods to get a luxe feel.

Natural Wood Grain

Showcasing the wood’s natural grain has an organic, cozy effect. Use stains to enhance rather than hide the grain. Allow some weathering for rustic flair.

Eclectic Combinations

Don’t be afraid to get creative by combining complementary colors like navy blue with crisp white or muted green with rich wood. The mix feels fresh yet cohesive.

Match Architecture

Choose cabinet colors that coordinate with or complement your home’s exterior paint or stonework. Consistent or complementary tones unite the elements.

Carefully choose colors and finishes that align with your personality and design vision to craft a cohesive, welcoming outdoor kitchen.

Choosing Outdoor Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Don’t overlook the importance of hardware when designing your outdoor kitchen cabinets. Cabinet hardware includes hinges, pulls, knobs and locks. The options make a big impact on style, functionality and durability:


Look for full wrap-around stainless steel hinges with a coordinated finish to match other hardware. Concealed hinges provide a seamless, integrated look.


Opt for stainless steel bar pulls or handles with a satin or brushed finish. Recessed pulls are subtle choices. Hardware extending the full width of doors and drawers simplifies opening.


For a more decorative statement, choose unique knobs. Opt for durable, weather-resistant materials like wrought iron, glass or substantial wood. Displays artwork or collections.


Integrate locks into cabinet hardware for discreet, convenient access control. Keyed locks authorize access. Magnetic locks operate via gentle pressure.


Match hardware finishes across the kitchen for a cohesive look. Satin or brushed nickel and stainless steel suit contemporary designs. Unlacquered brass and oil-rubbed bronze offer vintage flair.

When selecting hardware, remember fronts and handles see the most hands-on contact. Choose durable hardware that complements your style.

Integrating Appliances Into Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

One advantage of an outdoor kitchen is being able to integrate specialty cooking appliances like grills, smokers, pizza ovens and more. With careful planning, you can incorporate appliances into your cabinet design for a unified look:

Built-In Grills

For a clean, upscale look, install a built-in gas or charcoal grill surrounded by complementary cabinets and facing. Optimize cabinet storage around it.

Refrigerator Cabinets

Build refrigerator and freezer cabinets to integrate large units or mini fridges seamlessly into the design rather than looking freestanding.

Trash Cabinet Cut-Outs

Cut out space for a trash pull-out receptacle in base cabinetry by the prep area for convenient, hidden waste disposal while cooking.

Drawers Under Cooktops

Maximize space under standalone cooktops or ranges by installing cabinets with large, deep drawers to hold pots, pans and cooking tools.

Wood Facing Around Grill

Frame built-in grills with attractive wood facing. Leave space to allow heat and smoke to escape. Create a cohesive look.

Appliance Garages

Use roll-up “garage door” style cabinet fronts to conceal appliances when not in use. Great for stand mixers, blenders and microwave ovens.

With creative cabinetry, you can make appliances feel like natural extensions of your outdoor kitchen design.

Add Lighting Inside Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

The right lighting takes an outdoor kitchen???s functionality and ambiance to the next level. Integrating lighting inside cabinets creates a gorgeous glow and illuminates interiors:

Under Cabinet Lighting

Install LED lighting underneath wall cabinets to indirectly but effectively light countertops for food prep, cooking and cleanup.

Cabinet Interior Lighting

Add strip lighting inside upper cabinets to spotlight contents. Use motion sensors or remote controls for convenience.

Toe Kick Lighting

Install lights along base cabinet toe kicks to gently light the floor for safety and ambiance. Choose dimmable, waterproof fixtures.

Glass Door Cabinet Lighting

Place lighting at the top of glass-front cabinets to highlight wares. Wall sconces flanking cabinets also provide directed light.

Backlit Cabinets

Use LED backlighting inside cabinetry to create a halo glow effect. Choose smart controls to easily change colors.

Accent Lighting

Install miniature recessed lights or tracks above cabinets for additional task lighting or accent lighting.

With strategic lighting, you can transform outdoor cabinets from utilitarian storage to a gorgeous showpiece day or night.

Best Practices For Outdoor Kitchen Cabinet Installation

Proper installation is key to outdoor kitchen cabinets functioning and looking their best long-term despite weather and heavy use. Follow these professional recommendations:

Allow Space Between Cabinets and Appliances

Leave 1/4 – 1/2 inch space around appliances for ventilation and to absorb vibration. Avoid tight fits.

Create Room for Expansion

Outdoor temperature swings can cause materials to expand and contract. Leave a 1/8 inch gap where cabinets meet walls or floors.

Elevate Base Cabinets Off the Floor

Raise base cabinets 1-2 inches off the floor on sturdy platforms to prevent water damage and create toekick space.

Use Corrosion Resistant Fasteners

Use stainless steel screws, nails and hardware during assembly to avoid rust and discoloration over time.

Caulk Seams

Seal cabinets to walls and floors with waterproof silicone caulk. Fill any crevices insects or moisture could creep into.

Slope Countertops Away From Cabinets

Build a subtle slope into countertops to encourage water runoff away from cabinet fronts.

Install Cabinet Ventilation

Allow airflow in cabinets to discourage moisture and mildew. Leave gaps between doors and cabinets, or drill holes.

By following best practices for outdoor cabinet installation, your kitchen will operate safely for years of cooking and entertaining.

Maintaining and Protecting Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

The right care and maintenance is key to outdoor kitchen cabinets retaining their beauty and function through all types of weather:


Seal any unfinished surfaces and apply protective finishes formulated for weather resistance. Reapply annually.

Door and Drawer Adjustment

Doors and drawers may need minor realignment over time. Adjust hinges and slides as needed to prevent dragging.

Routine Cleaning

Clean cabinets regularly using a mild soap and water, then rinse and dry completely. Avoid harsh cleaners.

Stainless Steel Polish

Apply a stainless steel polish to keep metal fixtures spot-free and shining. Rinse residue after polishing.

Hardware Tightening

Periodically inspect and tighten any loosening hardware like hinges and pulls to prevent further damage.

Checking for Water Damage

Inspect for any cracks, chips, peeling or discoloration indicating water damage. Quickly repair flaws.

Touch-Up Painting

Use matching outdoor-rated paint to touch up any nicks, scratches or faded spots to keep cabinets looking their best.

With diligent care and maintenance, your outdoor kitchen cabinets will provide lasting function and beauty to be enjoyed for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Kitchen Cabinets

What are the most popular styles of outdoor kitchen cabinets?

Some of today’s most popular styles include contemporary, coastal, industrial and farmhouse. Contemporary is marked by sleek lines, metallic accents and integrated handles. Coastal incorporates beadboard, light colors and decorative hardware for casual flair. Industrial uses galvanized metal, exposed joints and reclaimed wood. Farmhouse features visible wood grains, unadorned surfaces and vintage styling.

What cabinetry materials are most weather resistant?

Stainless steel, aluminum, teak wood, PVC and some weatherproof thermoplastics provide the best weather resistance for outdoor kitchens. Look for products designed specifically for exterior use.

Should I choose custom or stock cabinets?

Stock cabinets offer more affordable, standardized options