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Modern Outdoor Kitchen Islands: Current Trends & 22 Great Ideas

By Jayme Muller

January 18, 2024

You’re entertaining the idea of an outdoor kitchen project and you’re wondering…

What aesthetic do I want my outdoor kitchen island to have?

Rustic fits a certain taste… But what you’re really after is a modern outdoor kitchen.

Recently, the demand for modern outdoor kitchen designs has skyrocketed.

It’s easy to see why.

The sleek, streamlined aesthetic is almost universally pleasing.

As an outdoor kitchen company ourselves, we’ve witnessed this uptick in modern outdoor kitchens firsthand.

mike pyle modern large u shaped outdoor kitchen with pizza oven and bar seating

And in the past few years alone, we’ve helped hundreds of homeowners achieve their dream modern outdoor kitchen designs.

So today, we’re here to share some of those modern design ideas with you.

But first… We need to outline what modern design is all about.

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First Things First... What Do We Mean by “Modern?”

modern concrete industrial

Before we rattle off about modern design ideas… It’s important to understand the meaning of the different terms used.

  • Modern: Relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past. A departure from traditional styles.
  • Modern Design: A popular era of design from the 1950s-60s with a focus on minimalism and clean lines.
  • Modern Architecture: A style of building that emphasizes function and a streamlined form over ornamentation.
  • Contemporary Design: Constantly evolving to reflect the popular styles of present day design. Currently, minimalism in shades of gray, beige, and white are in vogue.

Although the terms are different… “Contemporary” and “modern” are often used interchangeably.

Considering present-day design is quite similar to modern design tropes of the 20th century… It makes sense.

In some cases, the differences are nearly indistinguishable. Especially when it comes to outdoor kitchens.

In our current day and time… Modern outdoor kitchens focus on clean lines. They’re more geometric than irregular.

But what else can you expect? What are the “cool” outdoor kitchen designs like these days?

If you want more know-how on making your outdoor kitchen modern… Let’s see what’s in, and what’s out.

Want to bring your idea to life?

Use our free 3D design tool to bring the outdoor kitchen of your dreams to reality in just a few minutes.

What’s In

Neutral Colors:
grill island in modern concrete with succulent plants
l shape rta outdoor kitchen with dark plank finish built on a deck
moks outdoor kitchen cabinet with bar seating grill and sink

Homeowners can’t get enough of neutral colors. From white, to black, to cool blue… These unassuming shades mesh perfectly in any backyard.

Clean Finishes:
Modern Stone Ash
Modern Stone Ash
Modern Stone Bright
Modern Stone Bright
Plank Charcoal
Plank Charcoal
plank bright
Plank Bright
modern concrete industrial
Modern Concrete Industrial
modern concrete bright
Modern Concrete Bright

We’re seeing a ton of mottled concrete, vertical slats, and thin-set stone outdoor kitchen finishes.

Thin or Thick Concrete Countertops:

Concrete countertops are on trend right now. Countertop thickness is also playing a role in the modern look… With either super thin or super thick designs making an appearance.

Some homeowners take it a step further with waterfall countertops. Waterfall countertops quite literally “fall” to each side of the island.

What’s Out

Tile:
outdoor kitchen tile countertop falling apart

While extremely popular in the past… Tile simply hasn’t been able to keep up in the design world. Tile outdoor kitchens and countertops don’t match the clean lines commanded from contemporary design.

Flagstone:

If you’re not familiar with flagstone… It’s a flat type of natural stone often used for patios and walkways. Flagstone’s irregular shape and color have fallen out of favor in recent years.

Stucco:
a worn and cracking stucco finish on an outdoor kitchen with tile accent

In some areas of the country… Stucco is a mainstay. (We’re looking at you, Arizona!)

But for the rest of the country? Stucco is losing its appeal. Most homeowners prefer a sleeker, more polished look.

Loud Colors:
outdoor kitchen with blue tile material finish

While some homeowners may love a pop of color… It can be a pretty polarizing choice for your modern design. Contemporary design trends are seeing a surge in more subdued hues.

Alright. Now that we’ve set a baseline for modern outdoor kitchens…. It’s time to dig into some ideas.

22 Mesmerizing Modern Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

At this stage… You’re probably eager to feast your eyes on some inspiration.

So, we won’t keep you waiting any longer. Let’s review some modern outdoor kitchen ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

1. Create a Modern Backyard Oasis

metal pergola above outdoor kitchen by pool with seating

We’ll kick it off with this stunning modern outdoor kitchen idea. 

This is a showcase of the absolute best in modern design. 

The concrete modern outdoor kitchen island fits perfectly in the backdrop of this modern backyard.

We don’t know about you… But we feel relaxed just by looking at this photo. And that swimming pool looks tempting, too.

An outdoor living oasis indeed.

2. Add a Matching Modern Fire Pit

charcoal and gas grill island
modern fire pit table on deck

Stuck between a charcoal and built-in gas grill?

Why not go for both? This modern luxury outdoor kitchen provides ample cooking space thanks to two built-in grills.

But not only does this modern concrete outdoor kitchen island value function… It also prizes modern form.

The contemporary design fits seamlessly in this homeowner’s backyard.

The modern concrete finish meshes beautifully with the gray tones of the deck and house siding… Yet it stands out just enough to be the focal point of this outdoor space.

And let’s not overlook the best part of this design.

Further down the deck, we see a matching concrete fire pit… And matte black outdoor furniture throughout works to tie the entire space together.

3. Navy Blue for your Modern Outdoor Kitchen

How about a change in scenery?

If you’re looking for a modern modular outdoor kitchen in tasteful blue… Look no further.

Coupled with an ultra-thin white countertop… This design would be an elegant addition to anyone’s backyard.

Interior designer Kerrie Kelly agrees. Here’s what she had to say about this exact outdoor kitchen:

“The coloration blends so seamlessly with what’s happening indoors. We have a navy blue island inside, we have Dekton countertops inside. Now, out here, we have white countertops that coordinate. We have a navy blue body, and the same stainless colored kitchen appliances that we have inside.”

4. Wonderful White Plank Modern Design

mina starsiaks outdoor kitchen with bar and pizza oven island

This backyard modern outdoor kitchen setup involves three separate linear islands.

One creates a cooking area, fitted with a gas grill and power burner…

The second is designed with a pizza oven and fridge…

And the third boasts two refrigerators.

There’s no shortage of refreshing beverages at this homeowner’s setup!

We love how clever and unique this layout is. Don’t be shy to split up your islands!

5. Go for an All-White Look

white l shape modular outdoor kitchen on concrete patio pad

This design makes a great showing of a pure white outdoor kitchen. It’s simple, light, and always a crowd pleaser. And all the surrounding greenery contrasts nicely.

Fitted with combo storage, a refrigerator, a gas grill, and pull-out trash… Everything you need is in one place.

The addition of bar stools creates a lovely dining area… While enhancing the modern aesthetic of this island.

And we must say… This design looks quite charming with the house in the background.

MODERN OUTDOOR KITCHEN DESIGN TIP: Keep it Timeless.

While it may be tempting to go all-in on the latest trends… You don’t want to regret your decisions down the road when what’s cool now is no longer in vogue.

Balance contemporary style with timeless. Build an outdoor kitchen that will look great in your yard… No matter what the current trends are.

6. Add Modern Style with a Stone Finish

stacked stone chalk modern outdoor galley kitchen

This galley outdoor kitchen features the cutting edge in modern design.

While the white stacked stone finish is a more traditional approach… It works quite well in this particular space.

We’d also like to draw your attention to that bar island with dining space.

This is a great example of a waterfall countertop.

An outdoor kitchen that would’ve normally been considered traditional… Is transformed to become perfectly on-trend thanks to this simple touch.

This is taken a step further with a modern pergola atop the area.

If you’re looking to impress your guests… Consider adding features like these to round out your modern outdoor BBQ area.

7. Make a Modern Impression in a Tight Space

l shaped rta outdoor kitchen with umbrella and bar seating on patio

Looking for small modern outdoor kitchen ideas?

This modern L-shaped outdoor kitchen design is a great option for you!

You’ll have everything you need contained in a small footprint… With plenty of counter space and the added dining table to complete the look.

Not to mention how great this gray modern concrete looks in the backyard. The dark gray corners are a sleek addition to boost the aesthetic even further.

Overall… This outdoor living space is looking good!

8. Urban Outdoor Kitchen

moks pitch black modern outdoor kitchen in city
moks pitch black island in city close up of grill island
moks pitch black island in city

Many people believe they aren’t able to have an outdoor kitchen in an urban area.

Not so!

This modern contemporary outdoor kitchen area looks beautiful in the cityscape.

With a built-in grill, storage, and pull-out trash… You’re equipped for grilling a great meal in style.

9. Include Modern Outdoor Cooking Tech

This outdoor kitchen idea is modern in more ways than one.

First, you have the sleek design in a beautiful beige hue. It’s an excellent option to capture that contemporary aesthetic.

We also have the addition of a modern pellet grill. With a digital control panel… You can use this grill much like you would the oven in your indoor kitchen.

It can set and hold temperatures beautifully. So not only can you grill… You can bake, sear, and smoke, too.

Talk about versatility.

MODERN OUTDOOR KITCHEN DESIGN TIP: Neutrals are Nice.

You don’t want your design to be polarizing. Odd geometry and loud colors may seem like a good idea now… But in a few years? Not so much.

For a crowd pleasing outdoor kitchen design… Stick to neutrals, clean lines, and focus on function without sacrificing form.

HAVE YOUR OWN MODERN OUTDOOR KITCHEN IDEA?

Use our Free Online Design tool to get a modern outdoor kitchen design of your own in minutes.

10. Make Your Entire Outdoor Living Space Modern

outdoor bar area with lighting and tv
l shaped outdoor kitchen on patio with TV

Moving right along… This al fresco kitchen design is the pinnacle of modern living.

Bordering the space are modern stacked stone bar and grill islands… Setting the tone with neutral gray and off-white hues.

Outdoor kitchen islands aside… This outdoor living room exudes elegance. From the roof down, modern luxuries abound.

There’s a ceiling fan suspended from the full roof covering Bar lighting… And two outdoor TVs framing the space.

The patio furniture throughout provides the perfect spot for lounging and outdoor entertaining… While staying on top of that modern theme with light gray and white decor.

11. Add a Modern Seating Area

pellet grill island on deck
linear pellet grill island on deck with pizza oven and dining table by ocean

There are a few key factors that absolutely scream “modern” in this minimalist outdoor kitchen idea.

Of course, there’s a full outdoor dining room. The sleek outdoor furniture set and slatted dining table kick things off on an undeniably modern note.

Further back on the deck is the real star of the show… The modern concrete outdoor kitchen island! Snug up against a matching concrete backsplash, this outdoor living space has been carefully designed with aesthetics in mind.

A simple glass railing running along the side of the deck peers out to a beautiful seaside view… And the minimalistic modern design here allows the natural seascape to speak for itself.

12. Try a Modern Patio Design

Here’s a great example of how modern landscape design can make or break your outdoor cooking space.

The reclaimed white brick kitchen island isn’t the picture of “modern design,” per se… But that straight-edge patio design on either side of it sure is.

The simple, clean-lined finish and subdued gray hue allow the outdoor kitchen and stainless steel appliances to really pop… And that empty patio area is the perfect blank canvas for additional modern decor.

13. Pepper In a Pop of Greenery

A small touch of plant life beside your modern outdoor kitchen is an excellent way to add some color… Without going overboard.

In this particular L-shaped outdoor kitchen design, we’re seeing all straight lines, a jet black island, and shiny stainless steel.

So, that small touch of vibrant greenery behind the bar island is an absolute must to complete the area, without taking away from the modern vibe of the backyard kitchen.

14. Factor in Modern Lighting

linear grill island in plank charcoal with pizza oven at night with lights

This entertaining space is all about the ambiance.

Under-counter lights don’t only make the kitchen appliances usable day or night…

They also subtly highlight the modern plank kitchen island and straight-edge patio pavers, even after the sun goes down.

It’s a small but powerful touch… And it absolutely adds striking visual effects to this modern entertaining area.

15. Use a Modern Color Palette

l shaped outdoor kitchen with stone backsplash

Here’s an outdoor kitchen idea which perfectly showcases a modern color palette in action.

The white stacked stone island and matching backsplash are absolutely eye-catching against the darker slatted deck and exterior wall…

And those dramatic black countertops further balance out the lighter hues.

Luminous strip lighting around the area only adds to the modern feel of the space… Highlighting the stainless steel outdoor grill, cabinetry, and appliances.

MODERN OUTDOOR KITCHEN DESIGN TIP: Remember the Why.

The aesthetic of your outdoor kitchen shouldn’t compromise its functionality. Think about why you want to invest in an outdoor kitchen… So the looks don’t defeat the purpose of why you wanted a BBQ island in the first place.

16. Include a Modern Outdoor Bar

moks outdoor grill station with bar seating

A modern outdoor kitchen on its own is great and all…

But a modern outdoor kitchen and bar is even better.

This concrete galley-style outdoor kitchen bar makes perfect use of cool-toned hues throughout.

The metallic light blue bar stools are just the right shade to offset the more industrial grays at work in this design.

And when you bring all the elements together… It goes to show that minimalist spaces can be very inviting.

17. Place your Modern Outdoor Kitchen Poolside

linear island under roof next to pool

After seeing this poolside outdoor kitchen ideaWe’re left wanting it all to ourselves.

The white L-shaped outdoor kitchen island itself isn’t all that different from the others on our list. It’s equipped with all sorts of outdoor cabinetry and shiny new appliances.

But one thing that we haven’t seen a whole lot of is a complementary modern pool design.

Take a few short steps from the water’s edge… And you’re right beside the kitchen island.

The vibrant blue water pairs beautifully with the cool tones at work in the kitchen design.

And though not the typical image of modernity… The wooden slatted roof of the pool house gives the space some much needed warmth.

18. Make a Modern California Room

While there are quite a few similarities… This modern galley-style outdoor kitchen and bar island does have a distinct look from the others on our list.

Outdoor furniture has been carefully chosen to complement the slate gray patio kitchen… Making each and every component in this modern space feel intentional.

The end result is an impeccably modern indoor outdoor living room… Shielded from the elements yet open to the fresh air.

What’s not to love?

galley outdoor kitchen with bar seating and a tv

19. Stand out with a Unique Shade Structure

We hardly have to tell you what’s special about this modern outdoor kitchen idea.

At first glance, your eyes probably went to that DIY pergola atop the white concrete kitchen island.

Not only does this add some eye-catching visual appeal… But it’s also highly practical.

You can grill the day away at the outdoor kitchen island… And the slatted wooden pergola will keep you shielded from bothersome UV rays.

l shaped outdoor kitchen with unique pergola on deck

20. Use a Modern Backsplash

weathered wood ash linear grill island with sink and power burner

We’ve seen a few backsplashes here and there… But nothing quite like this.

The small outdoor kitchen island ticks all the right “modern design” boxes.

You’ve got a modern finish that meshes perfectly with the countertops and patio design.

But that backsplash is what truly goes above and beyond to add that final touch of modernity.

The black backdrop offsets the slate gray kitchen island… Making a big visual impact on a small scale.

21. Keep it Simple

modern concrete industrial grill island on patio

By this point, we’ve seen a handful of small modern outdoor kitchen designs…

But allow us to share yet another example which showcases how modern doesn’t have to be massive.

This homeowner was able to channel an incredibly modern feel in a tighter space.

The small outdoor kitchen is all about smooth, clean lines and subtle shades of gray… As is the patio beneath it.

That outdoor kitchen looks like it was always meant to be there!

22. Take Advantage of your Surroundings

modern industrial outdoor kitchen with lake view

Scaling things up a bit… Here’s our final modern outdoor kitchen idea of the day.

The island itself is pretty on-par with the other examples on our list.

It’s that stunning view that really sets it apart.

Rather than clutter up the kitchen island with loads of modern decor… This homeowner took advantage of their natural surroundings to add visual interest to their modern outdoor cooking area.

Whether you’re firing up a pizza, searing on the gas grill, or deep frying on the power burner… You’ll get to enjoy a beautiful scene.

And with that…. Those are all the modern outdoor kitchen ideas we have for you today.

Now that you have some ideas to consider for your own outdoor kitchen space… We have some tips to get you started.

Start Mapping Out Your Own Modern Outdoor Kitchen

All of the modern outdoor kitchen ideas you saw today were from our own customers here at RTA…

So if any sparked your interest, you may be curious to learn more about what we offer.

We’ll give you a quick rundown.

We specialize in manufacturing outdoor kitchens from high performance composite concrete… Available in a wide variety of modern finish styles and shades.

Additionally, we released a line of modular, marine grade composite outdoor kitchen islands in white, gray, beige, blue, and black.

And as you’ve seen in the ideas above… All of our modern outdoor kitchen finishes look beautiful in just about any backyard.

Plus, they’re fully customizable! If you didn’t see your exact vision in this article, you can try out our free online design tool to see what other options are at your disposal. From appliances, to countertops, to size, to layout… You’ll be in complete control of your modern design.

No matter what you choose…

RTA outdoor kitchens offer the best balance of performance, durability, aesthetics, and price.

So what are you waiting for?

Let’s get started on your outdoor kitchen!

NEED HELP NAILING THE RIGHT LOOK?

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FAQ

A modern outdoor kitchen should look the part. You’ll want to use straight lines, angles, lots of neutrals, and minimal decor in your design to capture a modern flair.

Ultra-thick or super thin concrete countertops are also in vogue… As are high-tech appliances like built-in pellet grills, pizza ovens, power burners, and sinks (to name a few).

If you prefer a straight-edge, minimalist, and unassuming look for your backyard space… A modern outdoor kitchen is an appealing choice.

You’ll get a functional new backyard feature for outdoor cooking and entertaining… Plus, it’ll add a touch of modernity (and luxury!) to your outdoor space.

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