A kettle is equal parts kitchen workhorse and decorative accessory. So choosing one isn’t just a matter of finding something that can boil water.

“Look at it as art, as well as a functional element,” suggested Sarah Blank, a kitchen designer based in Greenwich, Conn. “When you do a kitchen and have this gorgeous range and hood, it’s nice to have a beautiful kettle on the stove.”

There are lots to choose from, given the number of designers who have tried to build a better kettle — from the classic English copper version that’s been around for a century or more to newer sculptural and electric models.

Whether you go with something traditional or modern, whatever you choose should last for decades. Ms. Blank still uses an Alessi kettle designed by Michael Graves that she has owned since college, she said: “Every home I’ve been in, it’s been there.”