Most of us would agree that the kitchen island is the heartbeat of your entertainment space: a place where you cook, and your guests gather and visit. It’s where you can work on an art project with the grandchildren or serve a buffet-style meal—and anything in between!

If you’re not using this multifunctional hub to the fullest, it’s time to change that! Here are a few tips to explore the amazing possibilities of your kitchen island:

Use it for prep space. Perhaps the most obvious use of the kitchen island is as an extra food prep area. A small sink will boost the functionality of the space. Even without one, when you’re planning a dinner party, the island is where you can spread out your ingredients and get things ready for the stove, the grill, the oven, or the table. For laidback gatherings, put your friends to work—the great thing about the island is that it offers plenty of room!

Gear it up for guests. Another awesome use of the island is as a seating area. If you’re involved with the design of your kitchen, make sure you’re thinking about function: allow plenty of room for bar stools so the space doesn’t feel cramped. This can be where you serve appetizers, drink coffee and read the paper, or eat solo meals. Most importantly, this is a casual-but-comfortable spot for your guests to relax and visit while you finish up any last-minute meal prep.

Choose a size that accommodates your inner chef. The kitchen is many things, but first and foremost, it is the place where you prepare meals—so if you’re choosing its design, why not go with an island that makes that easy? Consider the U-shaped island, which is actually featured in many Trilogy home floorplans. If you’ve got the room, this island shape has it all: storage, lots of seating, and plenty of room for appliances and more. The circular island is similar in its versatility, offering the combination of cabinetry, seating, and prep/cooking space.

Take advantage of the added storage space. A kitchen island is full of storage possibilities! You could add drawers, cabinets, and pullout shelves, of course, but there’s also the possibility for showcase cabinetry. Glass door cabinets are perfect for displaying your favorite dishes. Shelving is ideal for your cookbook or vase collection.

Include extra amenities. If you’ve got plenty of space to work with, the island can be more than just a workspace for slicing and dicing. The prep sink is one possibility, but what about a built-in griddle, stovetop, range hood, and hanging pots and pans rack? You might even consider a refrigerator drawer, beverage center, wine cooler, or microwave.

The island is the focal point of your kitchen and arguably the workhorse of your cooking space! If you’re building a home at Trilogy, you’ll have the opportunity to select from a range of floorplans with different kitchen layouts designed by a professional chef. We keep functionality in mind when it comes to the kitchen, and the island is a big part of that. Your dream home isn’t complete without your dream kitchen, after all!