7 tips to design your outdoor kitchen and braai area

With summer here and the holidays creeping closer, most of us have already begun planning year-end party bashes. And since this is South Africa, the majority of those parties will take place around a cosy braai. So, to stir up some inspiration for outdoor socialising, let’s see what it takes to create an outdoor version of an indoor kitchen with an enticing braai space.

1. Extend your living zone




a wooden bench in front of a building: 1. Extend your living zone


© homify / Hugo Hamity Architects
1. Extend your living zone

Think of your braai / outdoor cooking space as an extension of your indoor socialising zones. But remember that you need to also plan for shade, shelter and warmth. 

For shade in summer, consider adding an awning or pergola into your design. Or invest in some oversized beach umbrellas for the seating areas. And since braaing in the winter is nothing new for some South Africans, think about cosying up your outdoor cooking zone with an outdoor heater. 

2. What’s your view like?




a room filled with furniture and a large window: 2. What’s your view like?


© homify / Hugo Hamity Architects
2. What’s your view like?

Do you want to hide from your backyard’s view or take it all in while braaing? Consider that while brainstorming your outdoor kitchen ideas, as well as what part your house’s current style (material, colour, texture…) will play. 

homify hint: Enhance both your garden and braai space with complementary designs, like bamboo and lush foliage for a tropical vibe, etc. 

3. Plan your layout




a house with trees in the background: 3. Plan your layout


© homify / Red Daffodil
3. Plan your layout

While your indoor kitchen’s layout is defined by walls, doors and windows, your outdoor cooking zone often defines its space on its own. Do you want your braai space to be attached to the main house? Are there other elements (swimming pool, trees) that help make up the layout/vibe? And don’t forget about planning your layout in accordance with your appliances…

4. Consider proper pieces and appliances




a fire place sitting in a room: 4. Consider proper pieces and appliances


© homify / SCD Group
4. Consider proper pieces and appliances

…speaking of which, nobody said that grills and smokers were your only option.  What about enhancing that outdoor cooking vibe via an island for effective countertop space? And a built-in fridge to really get the social vibe going?  

5. Choose your materials




an umbrella sitting on top of a mountain: 5. Choose your materials


© homify / Cintsa Thatching & Roofing
5. Choose your materials

Consider your region’s weather before settling on the final design materials. Thanks to its durability and sturdiness, stainless steel remains a firm favourite for outdoor countertops and appliances. Plus, they’re easy to clean! 

And for those seeking a warmer feel (plus more design opportunities) for their outdoor braai space, consider the wide range of colours, styles and patterns of tile. 

6. Add some style and comfort




a large room: 6. Add some style and comfort


© homify / Jenny Mills Architects
6. Add some style and comfort

Here is where character and comfort come in via patio decorations, potted plants, cushioned seating, outdoor rugs, side tables, and anything else you deem as appropriate. Remember you’re trying to create an outdoor version of your indoor socialising/cooking zones. Thus, choose fabrics that are moisture resistant, finishes that can take beatings from the harsh sun, accessories that won’t blow away with the first light breeze, etc. 

Remember there’s always the option of getting a professional Interior Designer/Decorator on board…  

7. Light it right




a dining room table in front of a window: 7. Light it right


© homify / Spegash Interiors
7. Light it right

Treat yourself to dual-purpose lighting that illuminates while also setting the mood for entertaining and/or relaxing. 

Installing lights near your cooking/prepping surfaces is key. Don’t overlook the seating areas. And, depending on how far your braai is from the main house, you might want to think about lighting the way with additional garden lights. 

And, since this is South Africa, be sure to stock up on citronella candles for some much-welcome mosquito repellent blended with your mood lighting. 

Next up for your inspiration: The homify guide to designing your walk-in closet.

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