We all know the heart of a house is the kitchen.

Maybe it's because my family is always hungry, but I know we always end up hanging out in the kitchen. And these days, with open floor plans, the kitchen is the place to really go for the WOW in your house.

Over the years, I've learned a number of things that anyone can do to make their kitchen a place that is both functional and beautiful.

Here are my favorite MUST DOs for the kitchen...

1. Make the island big, flat and a place to eat. This is so nice whether you are planning for big family parties or your personal, quiet home. It is so nice to sit down at the island for a snack or meal. It's especially handy with kids.

2. Whenever possible, go for two sinks. I know this sounds crazy, but it really helps. You can use one for prep work and one for soaking dishes. Or, if you plan to have helpers in the kitchen, you can now assign tasks at each sink.

3. Oversize the lights. One of my favorite tips from my lighting friends is to have one or two big lights over the island.

4. Cool ceilings. Go for a dramatic ceiling in the kitchen. As you can see in the photos below, beams, painted wood or barrel vaulted brick are great options.

5. If possible, hide the appliances. If you have the room, tuck them into a side butler's pantry. Another option is to use panels to make them disappear.

6. Include some decorative cabinet storage. It's really nice to have some glass cabinets or open shelving in the kitchen - just about anything to break up a wall of cabinets.

7. Make it reflect your personality. Adding some fun tile work is another way to throw some color and visual interest to the kitchen area. Remember, it should reflect your life, so make it fun. Pick out a tile that speaks to you. Add some fun door pulls. Consider an Aga range or off brand to get some fun color and looks.

8. Give some feet to those cabinets. Cabinetry looks so much better when you add feet. They can be simple or detailed, but it should reflect the overall style of your home and cabinets. This gives them a more built-in look.