As beautiful as they are functional, standalone kitchen islands are attracting attention as one of the hottest home furnishings.

Today’s kitchens have advanced from the “heart” of the home to the “hub” of the home, and with this evolution of activity comes a need for more working, serving, eating and just “hanging out” space. Families are finding that adding a kitchen island updates the aesthetic of the kitchen while also increasing valuable function to this core of family activity.

“With the rise in consumers preparing their own healthy meals and entertaining at home, today’s kitchens are the central gathering spot, and yet space is at a premium,” says Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance.

“Many new homes feature a kitchen island, but now there is a solution for existing homes, as well. Furniture makers are creating function-packed kitchen islands that add valuable space, functional features and designer style. It’s a category we see growing for years to come.”

Available in a variety of styles and materials and sized to fit a range of spaces, standalone islands give consumers more work space for meal preparation while updating the look of their kitchen.