It’s difficult to find a harder working kitchen element than an island. It provides storage, prep space, and often sinks and stoves as well. It’s a homework hub, email hotspot, and extension of the home office. It anchors dinner parties as well as after-school snacks. And, as the islands in our slideshow illustrate, it also can be a show-stopping design element or seamlessly integrated, a veritable piece of installation art or a prep space on wheels to be summoned as needed. Whatever your buyers’ needs, there’s an island to fit them. To help get the creative juices flowing, we’ve gathered some of our favorites that meet the demands of a variety of spaces and circumstances. The possibilities are endless.

Senior editors Amy Albert and Claire Easley contributed reporting to this article.