It’s island time.

The island is the heart of the kitchen, so put a little love into it. We’ve gathered a few of the most innovative designs that have graced these pages to inspire your next kitchen renovation.(Photo: Janis Nicolay.)1. Go for an L-shaped island. Why limit yourself to the classic rectangle? An L-shaped island is the crown jewel of this Naramata kitchen, providing plenty of extra counter space to a family that loves to cook and entertain.Gorgeous kitchen2. Match the colour of the island sink to the countertop. This dreamy modern D’Arcy Jones-designed kitchen features a black sink that practically disappears into the matching countertop granite.(Photo: Janis Nicolay.)3. You can fit more under your breakfast bar than a set of stools. Here, design firm Marrimor has installed custom shelving, nestled right beneath the counter overhang, to provide a space to showcase favourite cookbooks.Johnston emigrated from England and had a lot of nostalgic collectibles. Architect Robert Pashuk incorporated open display into the cabinets for a rotating showcase.4. Don’t stick to one countertop material. In this Calgary home, architect Robert Pashuk designed an island that mashes up two different countertops: a wooden butcher-block surface perfect for prep is paired with a swath of crisp white Corian that surrounds the kitchen sink.WL0613.Mayne-025. Create a cozy place to perch. The island is a natural gathering place for many of us. This Hamptons-style kitchen on Mayne Island was designed with that in mind, incorporating an inset foot rest (lined with marble that matches the countertop) into the bottom of this oversized island for a comfortable sitting experience.Kitchen6. Attach the dining table right to the island. When your kitchen looks as beautiful as the one in this Gaile Guevara-designed bachelor pad, it just makes sense to keep your dining area in the centre of it all. Here, the designer has hung a dining surface directly off the island, and surrounded it with gorgeous Nuevo Kieran walnut stools.(Photo: Ema Peter.)7. Install a built-in wine fridge. This Falken Reynolds-designed condo features a gorgeous island that faces a breezy patio (accessed through an overhead garage-style door), but the view is made that much more enjoyable by a glass of cold viognier.(Photo: Martin Tessler. Styling: Nicole Sjostedt.)8. Build a bench right in. In this Alanna Johnston-designed kitchen, a fireplace and wall-mounted television are installed on the far wall (out of the frame), so it made perfect sense to attach a cushion-lined bench onto the island facing the action.