A kitchen island can function in many ways, serving you where you need it most. Consider these five popular kitchen island features:

1. Waterfall countertops: Homeowners are falling for waterfall countertops in which the material doesn’t stop at the edge of the island; it flows down along the sides. Popular materials include natural stone, engineered quartz, wood and concrete.

2. New takes on old classics: Kitchen islands that imitate classic furniture are on the rise. Instead of needing to have a piece custom-built, homeowners can find pre-crafted kitchen islands that fit this look in a variety of styles and colors. Dining tables and armoires are popular sources of inspiration.

3. High contrast: The mix-and-match trend is making its way into the kitchen, and the island offers the perfect opportunity to present some contrast. You can use the same material in two complementary colors (navy blue or black and white, for example). Or, you can mix two different materials, like metal and wood.

4. Built-in storage: People want their small appliances and counter clutter out of sight, and a kitchen island offers many storage opportunities for these items. With cabinets, pullout shelves, drawers, hidden charging stations and open display cases for mugs and cookbooks, you can make use of every inch. Your microwave can come off the counter and fit snugly in the end of the island. You can build in a recycling and trash unit.

5. Functionality: Incorporating a cooktop, oven or sink into your island can free up space in the rest of the kitchen, allowing for freer movement, better efficiency and easier food prep.