While almost all homeowners use the kitchen for daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and feeding the pets, in recent years there has been a growing trend for socialising in them too.
In an ideal world we'd all have grand dining rooms decked out with oak tables, a chandelier and a couple of butlers, but for most of us entertaining has to be slightly more low-key.
However, this doesn't mean that you can't throw a top-notch dinner party or make your home a haven for socialising, as a well-designed kitchen can be the perfect location for entertaining friends.
And, according to Helen Bygraves and Jenny Weiss, directors of hillhouseinteriors.com and members of the Society of British Interior design, going open-plan is the best option for homeowners who like to play host to friends and family.
"Open-plan living is an opportunity when you're designing your kitchen and having more of an open space is much more in vogue - because of [more people] entertaining at home," they say. "So definitely include a centre island, with sit-up sitting for sociability."
Open-plan kitchens work particularly well if you are having people round for dinner as they enable you to chat with your guests whilst getting on with the preparation and cooking of the meal.
If you fancy yourself a bit of a budding chef, it may be worth investing in smaller details and gadgets such as pull out kitchen taps or a rinser unit in the sink that will prove useful when entertaining large numbers of people.
For those of us who aren't lucky enough to have the space to install an open-plan kitchen, a good alternative which also works well for socialising is a hideaway kitchen.
"Even people who like contemporary interiors still like the walnut kitchens and hideaway kitchens," Helen and Jenny add. "So if you've got a large informal living space, it's nice to have a hideaway kitchen as well."