What’s Cooking In Outdoor Kitchens? The Top 2023 Trends 

Outdoor kitchens continue to be top of homeowners’ wish lists in 2023, with the trend of ‘staying in is the new going out’ increasingly influencing lifestyles and home socialising. With more of us maximising the potential of our outdoor spaces, it’s a great time to look at how a wood-fired oven can tick all the boxes for hosting-at-home and consider some of the must-have elements within an outdoor kitchen design. 

1.  Kitchen islands

Set to be a big trend for 2023, outdoor kitchen islands, whether small or large are a great way to give your outdoor kitchen a social focal point for people to gather round and eat.  Combine that with a Valoriani oven, however, and you’ll get theatre thrown into the mix too.  

The drama of cooking with wood is just what your focal point needs, to really add the ambience to your outdoor living space, whilst mesmerising flames and embers will be your backdrop into the evening, providing both visual effects and some outdoor warmth.

2.  Open shelving and concealed storage

The trend for open shelving refuses to disappear and it’s a feature that works particularly well in an outdoor setting, creating a relaxed and informal look.  It also assists with the practicalities,  keeping everything you need within easy reach, not to mention making the kitchen incredibly easy to clean and maintain.

Factoring in areas of concealed storage within a kitchen design can involve anything from installing a pull-out wine rack to incorporating a hidden waste bin – it’s all about simple ways to keep the clutter out of sight.  This feature can be particularly useful if working with a smaller space, where every spare inch of surface matters.  A hidden pantry for all those cooking essentials, or even a drawer for espresso machine, cups and coffee pods, can free up your cooking and work areas. 

3. Including recycled elements

Designing an outdoor kitchen is also a great opportunity to include re-purposed furniture or perhaps recycling pieces that need a new home.  A rustic table can work as a kitchen island, an old wardrobe could become a pantry or store cupboard, even old scaffold boards can become beautiful shelves.  

You might also find some bargains available from the kitchen recycling companies, if the worktops and cabinetry are suitable for outdoor weather conditions.

4. Growing your own

An outdoor kitchen can really benefit from having a nearby area of the garden in which you can grow your own herbs, salad ingredients or vegetables.  When planning it out, factor this in and see where a hanging herb wall, small greenhouse or raised beds might be located.  

5. Muted colour

Halfway between a grey and a pastel is where your colour thinking should be at this year, with the on-trend colours being those such as sage green, duck-egg blue and dusky pink.  This muted colour palette could be applied to an accent wall, to painted cabinets, splashbacks or even worktops.  Forget monochrome, as subtle hints of colour are in! 

Adding colourful accessories and furnishings is also a great way to add interest, without going overboard. Try colourful shelving, handles, utensils and even dineware and crockery.

6. Sustainable materials

Consumer champions, Which? recently asked popular kitchen brands to share the key trends for 2023 and top of the list came ‘sustainable materials’.  Including natural materials into your outdoor kitchen design is a good first step, but for something with a wow-factor, consider an artisan-built, brick-dome, wood-fired oven.  Durable, weather-proof and long-lasting, bricks often improve with age. An advanced manufacturing process, over the last few decades, is also resulting in the material’s improving sustainability credentials. 

When fuelling your wood-fired oven, make sure you use only the legal ‘ready to burn’ wood which bears the Woodsure accredited logo.  The moisture content should be below 20%, to not only produce less harmful emissions but also prevent any damaging soot and tar build-up in your flue.

When used correctly, the longevity of one of our wood-fired ovens is a minimum of 10 years, even in the busiest commercial environments.  In fact, most Valoriani ovens, installed in the UK over 20 years ago, are still going strong and, on those rare occasions when they are not, it is because a new homeowner has bought the house and not grasped the appeal of a wood-fired oven or the value it can add to a home.   

7. Appliances and features that save on your energy budget

With cost of living increases, homeowners want their money to go further.  As kitchens are one of the biggest energy consuming areas of our homes, it pays to look for ways to reduce energy consumption in food preparation, by choosing energy-efficient appliances, fittings and fixtures this year.

Another great tip is to consider installing solar panels, which would help towards powering items such as fridges and lighting. 

A wood oven can allow you to cut back on your electricity and gas costs, as you go on the adventure that accompanies cooking with wood.  Thanks to the unique cotto clay that is used to construct a Valoriani oven, heat is literally hugged, meaning you don’t need to keep adding wood and can cook for hours, once the fire is going. You can cook a wide variety of dishes during just one firing up and then even slow-cook a dish, with the residual heat, overnight.  The oven may well even be warm enough to cook a delicious breakfast the following morning. 

Orchard Ovens has many customers who literally ‘live outdoors’ for many months of the year, using a combination of fire and residual heat for all of their cooking needs. In much the same way that an Aga would – a wood-fired oven works hard for its place in your home and can help you reduce your electricity and gas consumption.

If this year’s trends have inspired thoughts of a dream outdoor entertaining space, get in touch.  We can not only discuss how you could include a Valoriani wood-fired oven in your outdoor kitchen plans this summer but also help you with your entire outdoor kitchen design and build, as we have done for many A-listers celebs and influential names across Europe.  Telephone 01772 250000 or email info@orchardovens.co.uk

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