Creating a Focal Point with Modern Barstools

modern bar stools

Even with a beautifully appointed dining space, your guests and family still tend to congregate in the kitchen for dinner parties and routine meals. After all, everyone wants to be close to the action and get the first whiff of whatever is being pulled from the oven.

With so much attention placed on the kitchen, it’s important to be thoughtful and intentional about kitchen area seating. Selecting the right modern barstools can turn your kitchen bar into a focal point. Here’s a few options that pack a visual punch.

Pop of Color

modern barstools

Tickle barstool

Barstools are a great opportunity to introduce a splash of bold color in the kitchen. For modern, open-concept spaces, you will need to make sure the color you choose for your barstools complements the other colors you use in adjoining living and dining spaces.

For brightly colored barstools, we also recommend sparse seating with low backs so that the color is not overwhelming. The seat to the left is adjustable, which is great for any counter height.


modern barstools

Henson Swivel Counter Stool

If you have a modern industrial design sensibility in your home, you can carry that through in your barstools. Look for pieces that use reclaimed or distressed wood with iron or steel accents. The idea is to carefully select barstools that would be right at home in an Industrial Age factory without sacrificing style.

Other options that fit in nicely with industrial home design are metal utility stools. The only disadvantage of such stools is they are not height adjustable and cannot swivel, which may make them less functional as a seating option.

Modern Classics

modern barstools

Cherner Stool

After all these years, we still love the sleek design of the classic Cherner stool. Originally designed in the 1950s, these stools have been reissued to painstakingly match the original designs from the time they were originally manufactured. With the resurgence of midcentury modern design, Cherner stools fit right in to today’s modern homes. While the stools are not height adjustable, they do come in either counter or bar height, which gives homeowners some options to work with.

Stylized Elements

modern bar stools

Eurostyle Sophia Swivel Bar Stool

For homeowners who want to establish a more eclectic feel in their kitchen seating, there is always the option to choose a highly stylized chair with whimsical cutouts in the back.

The chair to the left features an eye-catching design, but is also practical with padding and a footrest for added comfort, as well as the ability to adjust the height if necessary.

Minimalist Mesh

modern barstools

Bend Goods Bar Stool

Metal mesh bar stools are a good option for homeowners who prioritize minimalism in their home design. Mesh materials allow natural light to fully pass through and help make your barstools appear less bulky.

The chair to the right comes in bold colors like blue and orange, but is also available in a more unassuming white. As an alternative, you can select transparent acrylic barstools to maintain a feeling a minimalism in the home.

(Images via EVOKE,;;;; and

Summer Decorating for the Modern Home

Summer will be here before you know it. Is your home ready to welcome in the new season? Check out some of our summer decorating tips to transition your home from spring to summer.

Summer Flowers

summer decorating

Silk Peonies Arrangement by flovery on Etsy

Bring the outdoors in with brilliant cut flower displays throughout your home. For fresh flowers, we recommend dahlias, simple Shasta daisies, or peonies to add small bursts of color and cheer to every room of your home. For a more lasting display, you can also select high-quality silk flowers. Silk options can be re-used year after year and you won’t have to worry about fallen petals or wilting.

Nautical Touches

summer decorating

Scrimshaw Side Plate Set

Nautical themes are popular around the summertime. You can incorporate this classic summer theme in your home through rope accents, handcrafted driftwood pieces, blue and white striped textile prints, and anchor, boat or lighthouse decor. We’re particularly fond of nautical dinnerware for summer dinner parties. Also, take a look at our ideas for putting a modern twist on the classic nautical theme.

Primary Colors

summer decorating

Yellow accent pillows

Bold primary colors like yellow, red or blue are a good fit for summer decorating. You can incorporate these bold tones in pops of color throughout your home in accent items like fabric table covers, rugs, throw pillows and throw blankets, seat cushions, and even curtains. Since primary colors are so saturated, you might want to mute the color by selecting neutral prints that incorporate one of these bold colors on a smaller scale, such as neutral throw pillows with bright yellow herringbone lines. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you might even paint a bold accent wall in a primary color to rejuvenate a space.

Spruce Up Outdoor Spaces

summer decorating

Industrial String Lights by West Elm

Since you’ll be spending more time outdoors during the summer, take your patio décor up a notch by adding string lights, eclectic seating options and fresh outdoor pillows to delight guests and create a backyard oasis. Mix and match lanterns can bring new life to last year’s patio table. Last but not least, adding a freestanding hammock could make your outdoor space as relaxing as your indoor spaces.

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How to Capture Midcentury Modern Design in Your Home

EVOKE homes are characterized by the clean, simple lines that flow throughout the home. That’s why we love midcentury modern interior design — furnishings within this design scheme are known for their effortless simplicity and fit solidly into the contemporary design sensibility we try to cultivate in each home. Here are some tips for capturing midcentury modern design for yourself:

Smooth Walnut or Teak Tables

Midcentury modern design

Hesse Dining Table by Joybird Furniture

Smooth wood tables made of walnut or teak on tell-tale tapered legs are prominent in midcentury modern design. Look for tables made of solid wood to maximize durability. You can lighten the heavy look of solid wood by choosing a piece with a glass top to create a greater feeling of openness.

Low to the Ground Furniture

midcentury modern design

Gus Modern Atwood Sofa in Muskoka Surf

Another signature of midcentury modern home design is furniture that sits low to the ground or features a low back. For an authentic midcentury look, you will want to select furniture pieces that blend upholstery and wood elements, such as wooden arms or legs.

Tufted furniture with a sharp, rectangular frame is a solid bet as well as statement pieces in bold colors like avocado and mustard. If you prefer a more understated take on this design, consider furniture pieces in neutral tones.

Wallpaper Makes a Comeback

midcentury modern design

Vintage-inspired wallpaper

Wallpaper has made a resurgence in recent years, and high-quality wallpaper can truly make an entire room come together. However, modern homeowners should use wallpaper sparingly so that they do not overwhelm a space with either color or pattern.

This is particularly good advice if you are drawn to bold wallpapers, which are best suited for an accent wall or in a single room of the house. If you do choose a bold wallpaper, adopt a minimalist approach to selecting artwork and other wall décor. You won’t want your wall art to be fighting for attention with your wallpaper. Midcentury modern wallpaper is characterized by geometric shapes like circles and diamonds, but don’t feel limited to those options.

The Midcentury Modern Credenza

midcentury modern design

Mid Century Teak Credenza Cabinet by Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard Nielsen

Few items bring a retro sensibility to life in a home more than a solid wood credenza or sideboard. As with dining tables, midcentury modern credenzas are often raised up on tapered legs. They also feature storage space; sliding wooden doors or cabinet-like “swing-out” doors hide items out of sight for a clean look in the home. These pieces make excellent entryway pieces and work equally well in bedrooms.

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Be Transparent: Clear Furniture in Modern Design

Minimalism is among the most prominent themes of modern home design, and one of the secrets to achieving an understated look in your home is to create open space any way you can. Using transparent furniture is one way to create the illusion of open space while still allowing a variety of functional pieces in your home. Take a look at some of the examples we’ve rounded up below.

The Modern Glass Coffee Table

clear furniture

Low table by John Houshmand

While not a particularly new idea, glass coffee tables remain an effective way to foster an open feel in a living space while allowing visitors to see straight through to a handsome rug beneath. To keep a glass table from looking too stark, we recommend selecting a piece that incorporates organic elements like reclaimed wood to add warmth. The piece above by artist John Houshmand is essentially a glass box with black walnut slabs embedded within for interest.

Wood Table with Clear Chairs

clear furniture

Louis Ghost Chairs by Kartell designed by Philippe Starck

Another setting where clear pieces work well is in the dining room, the room in the home that tends to hold your bulkiest furniture. You can slim down that bulk by pairing clear acrylic chairs with a sleek wood table.

Not only are these chairs easier to clean than fabric chairs, but you can effortlessly soften the look of them with a neutral, faux fur throw pillow for a bit of texture.

Alternatives to Glass or Acrylic

transparent furniture

Metal mesh chairs

Not everyone appreciates glass or acrylic features in their home because of how notorious they are for collecting smudges and fingerprints. To preserve a transparent look while avoiding entirely clear furniture, you can select mesh pieces. The chairs above still allow natural light to pass through and the metal mesh is fine enough not to block your line of vision.

A Single Clear Piece

clear furniture

Bare Bones Ghost Chair by benforgeydotcom on Etsy

If you only wish to dabble in clear furniture, consider incorporating a single transparent piece in a living space to gauge how it fits in with the rest of your home decor.

This artisan piece to the right combines a simple sheet of acrylic with found driftwood. As with the coffee table above, the integration of an organic element breathes life into the clear chair, making it a true statement piece. The bench below demonstrates a similar concept.

clear furniture

Contemporary Organic Bench made of driftwood and acrylic by benforgeydotcom on Etsy

(Images in order of appearance via;;; and

5 Outstanding Modern Outdoor Furniture Ideas

At EVOKE, we design modern homes that maximize indoor-outdoor living. The idea is not only to capture a feeling of openness by providing a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor spaces, but also to connect today’s homeowners with nature so that the home is a tranquil retreat from hectic modern life.

Now that the sun has started to emerge this spring, we’re more inspired than ever to get outside. Here are five stand-out modern outdoor furniture ideas that get us excited about a sunny afternoon on the patio.

Modern Outdoor Furniture for Entertaining

modern outdoor furniture

Tommy Bahama Outdoor Living Aviano Collection

Wicker has long been a staple of outdoor decorating because it’s both sturdy and resistant to mold and mildew. Consider a modern take on wicker patio furniture by avoiding staid white wicker and selecting pieces with contemporary design elements like cut-outs or a unique, flowing form. Lately, we’ve been seeing mid-century modern patio furniture growing in popularity.

Outdoor Statement Pieces

modern outdoor furniture

Foglia Collection from Corradi USA

We love the way the whimsical, leaf-patterned cut-outs used in this outdoor seating set have the dazzling ability to cast pleasing shadows across your patio as natural light flows through the perforations. Cut-outs help reduce the bulky feeling of traditional patio furniture, creating a feeling of openness.

modern outdoor furniture

Baby Acapulco Chair by Innit Designs

Retro-inspired chairs, such as the Innit Designs Baby Acapulco Chair to the right, are a great alternative to cut-outs by allowing light to filter through the bars of the frame.

These chairs come in a broad spectrum of hues, allowing you a variety of options for adding a pop of color to your outdoor space.

Bistro Tables for Cocktails

modern outdoor furniture

Contempo Bistro Furniture from Vermont Woods Studios

Modern bistro tables in bold colors are good options for homeowners whose outdoor space is limited. Bistro seating provides just enough space for people to enjoy cocktails with a few appetizers, keeping them close for conversation. The set to the right is a particularly good choice for eco-conscious homeowners, as it is constructed of recycled plastic lumber. This material has the look and feel of real wood while being low maintenance with no need for weatherproofing.

Outdoor Furniture for Sunbathing

modern outdoor furniture

Charles Outdoor Chaise Lounge by B&B Italia Outdoor

For some homeowners, an outdoor space is less about entertaining and more about creating an outdoor oasis for relaxation and soaking up sunshine. We love the modern design of this outdoor chaise lounge which was designed with just this purpose in mind.

(Photos in order of appearance via;; and

Elegant Entryways: Design Ideas for Great First Impressions

The entryway is the first area of the home your guests see, yet many homeowners put little effort into adorning such spaces. To help you up the wow factor when someone first enters your home, we’ve put together some great modern entryway ideas for making your entryway pop.

Modern Vignettes

modern entryway ideas

Modern vignette

One of the best ways to dress up your entrance is with an entryway vignette. The essentials include a sleek accent table, artwork or a mirror hung above it, and carefully chosen pieces of varying heights and textures to grace the table, such as plants, lamps or books. To finish the look, you can place other elements under or beside the table, such as woven baskets for storing odds and ends.

Modern vignettes should be well-curated to effectively introduce the design scheme present in the rest of your home, although seasonal elements can also be brought in to keep the display fresh. Lately, we’ve been seeing a resurgence of mid-century modern accent tables paired with art-deco inspired mirrors in entryway vignettes.

Floating Entryway Console

modern entryway ideas

Floating console custom designed by Wud Furniture

A wall-mounted console or cabinet is a great solution for modern homeowners who prioritize open space in their home and have a less-is-more design preference.

A floating piece allows you to incorporate a modern vignette without robbing you of floor space. To keep your entryway design minimal, limit your display to two or three pieces.

The display on the left uses a simple birdcage as the single display piece adorning a floating console outfitted with functional drawers.

Modern Coat Racks

modern entryway ideas

Splash coat racks crafted from powder-coated steel and walnut

Coat racks are known more for their practicality than their aesthetics, but today’s coat racks pack more of a design punch than ever before.

Rather than settling for a lackluster coat rack that adds nothing to your home’s design scheme, consider modern coat racks featuring bold colors or distinctive designs.

Modern Entryway Bench

modern entryway ideas

Return Bench from Gus Modern in Natural Oak

For entryways, we recommend smooth wood benches with stainless steel accents or an artisan-made, rough-hewn wood slab set on stainless steel legs.

As an alternative, you might consider a clear acrylic entryway bench for a more minimalist approach that maximizes an open-space feel.


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Grit & Glamour: Modern Industrial Design

The modern industrial look has risen to prominence in interior design today. Since interior styling options include reclaimed and repurposed pieces from thousands of different sources, it’s possible for anyone to make this design sensibility unique to their own home. Here’s a few great examples that exemplify this trend.

Open Riser Staircases

modern industrial design

Close-up of an open riser staircase in an EVOKE home

Open riser staircases are a fixture of modern design because the spaces between the steps allow for more natural light to flow through an open concept space. This trend is also key to capturing a modern industrial sensibility when you consider the welded aesthetic of the stainless steel handrails and the practical functionality of having open space underneath the stairs for a desk or furnishings.

Edison Light Fixtures

modern industrial design

Edison light bulbs from Restoration Hardware

Edison lights are a vintage throwback that has gained contemporary appeal for modern homeowners. We’ve been seeing them peeking out of modern geometric pendant lights, in the midst of simple glass enclosures, or dangling in a free-floating manner that allows the prominent filament inside to be clearly visible.

EVOKE_Period Lighting

Tangled Chandelier from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co

We’ve also seen Edison lights in heavy-gauge, solid brass or steel sconces along hallways. Even the curled fluorescent bulbs we’re all familiar with are starting to take the shape of the classic Edison-style bulb. The idea is to capture the gritty charm of Industrial Age factory lighting while preserving a warm, modern feel through the softer edges of your other furnishings.

Modern Industrial Furniture

modern industrial design

Colorful industrial bar stools from Tolix

When it comes to modern industrial furniture, utilitarian is the name of the game. Reclaimed wood drafting tables with steel accents, metal utility stools along the bar in the kitchen, and coffee tables with a metal hand crank underneath are just a few ways you can implement the modern industrial trend in your home furniture.

We recommend inserting pops of color to energize a modern industrial design concept. Strong pops of color invigorate a space so you can avoid the tired feeling of an abandoned warehouse and keep your decor feeling fresh, lively and current.


Industrial Table by Tim Byrne

Look for handcrafted pieces with riveting and heavy distressing so that each piece exudes character. Take care to avoid an antique feel by staying away from pieces with flagrant rust and jagged edges. Instead look for fully refinished pieces or handcrafted pieces that blend old materials with new materials.

(Images via EVOKE;;;; and


Thinking in the Abstract: The Ultimate Modern Design Concept

When done properly, abstract décor is the perfect blending of chaos and clean lines for maximum visual impact. Abstract art and furnishings offer the design advantage of providing a fresh perspective depending on where you happen to be standing. Well-chosen abstract pieces are a key component of modern home design and can truly modernize a space. Here are some good examples:

Abstract Decorating with Art

abstract decorating

Abstract pieces in coordinating colors

When choosing abstract art, you can select coordinating pieces or balance abstract pieces with non-abstract pieces in coordinating colors. One Kings Lane recommends selecting a three-color palette that includes at least one metallic tone.

We love the pairing of this abstract vertical piece with two smaller abstract graphic prints in a similar color scheme. The accompanying table vignette contributes to the metallic anchor color.

Abstract Living Room Furniture

abstract decorating

Custom painted coffee table from East Editions

A bold geometric print instantly adds abstract appeal to a handcrafted coffee table. The piece on the left features a custom acrylic and aerosol paint job with a satin varnish.

Tip: To avoid overdoing an abstract look on large furniture, choose an minimalist piece with clean lines so that the shape and the paint are not both fighting for attention.

Abstract Bedroom Furniture

abstract decorating

Stack of drawers by Factor Design

Many furniture designers are conceptualizing abstract furniture pieces, and many futuristic silhouettes are coming out of this movement. This piece manages to be as beautiful as it is functional with contemporary appeal.

The design is as clean a stack of blocks yet surprisingly practical for everyday use.

Subtle Abstract Choices

abstract decorating

Universal Latitude Round Glass Table with Metal Abstract Base at Belfort Furniture

We always like to recommend a few subtle choices for people who are interested in a more understated approach to bold design trends.

Unexpected places you can incorporate abstract elements include accent tables, such as the one on the left, and miscellaneous decorative pieces.



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Branching Out: Decorating with Tree Branches

Something we try to do here at the EVOKE design blog is discover ways modern homeowners can incorporate their love of the outdoors into a contemporary Pacific Northwest home. Some of the intriguing ideas we’ve explored recently have included tips for bringing nature indoors with modern terrariums and decorating with sustainable reclaimed wood. Today we’ll look at another way to celebrate the outdoors in your home – by decorating with tree branches.

DIY Projects with Branches

decorating with tree branchesOne idea we’ve been seeing on home design blogs and Pinterest is DIY branch curtain rods. The idea is to search out a long, smooth branch sturdy enough to support a curtain and then trimming and painting it to suit your purposes. This attractive branch can then serve as a statement piece on a prominent window in your home or even to add a touch of whimsy to a bedroom. We think using metallic spray paint on such a branch could modernize the branch to fit in with contemporary décor and keep it from looking too rustic.

Fine Art

decorating with tree branches

Organic fine art twig sculpture by Paul Schick

While many DIY-savvy homeowners try their hand on creating wall art from branches, some fine artists have perfected the craft and have become truly skilled at weaving branches together into beautiful contemporary shapes.

Organic fine artist Paul Schick is one of such artists whose twig constructions are truly advanced and aesthetically pleasing.

Subtle Pieces

Decorating with Tree Branches

Uttermost Josiah Birch Branch Decorative Boxes

You can also incorporate branches and twigs in more subtle ways, such as a vase display of branches in a centerpiece or a handsome box made of twigs in an entryway vignette. Branchy pieces are a perfect selection for outfitting a console table.

By placing such pieces on a mirror or placing a mirror behind the vignette, you can create a sense of dimension.

Branch Décor

Decorating with Tree Branches

Tree branch wall decor crafted of steel with a polished nickel finish

Last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of modern branch décor that is not naturally sourced.

This is a better option for homeowners who do not have the time or the inclination to do DIY projects but who would still like to incorporate a forest feel in their home. Branch prints are also prominent in wallpaper and linens.



(Photos in order of appearance via Better Homes and Gardens;;; and

Spring Green: A Fresh Pop of Color for Your Home Décor

Spring is in the air — you can see glimpses of its arrival throughout the Northwest as the cherry blossoms bloom and as the first hints of leaves return to the trees. This change of season and the emergence of fresh greenery can inspire your home decorating, and a pop of spring green is the perfect way to embrace spring indoors.

Window Treatments

spring green

Spring green flat Roman shades from Persona

One of the boldest ways you can incorporate spring green in the home is in window treatments. When light flows through spring green shades or curtains, the effect is like that of sunshine illuminating fresh cut grass — your home instantly feels brighter and cheerier. Spring green updates timeless Roman shades and gives them contemporary appeal.

Green with Floral

spring green

Modern living room furniture from Dada home

Pairing bold green furnishings with floral accents creates visual interest and exudes a feeling of freshness and vibrancy.

Green and floral can be traditional so be sure to select a sleek modern design for sofas and chairs and consider floral patterns with more of an abstract feel.

Smaller Accents

spring green

Apple green pillow covers by MicaBlue on Etsy

If you’re not prepared to go “all-in” with large furnishings and vivid window treatments, you can incorporate pops of green on a smaller scale by changing out your throw pillows and blankets. Geometric, ikat and Moroccan tile prints are on trend, but if you’d prefer a simpler look you can select textured, solid spring green pillows.

Eye-Popping Chairs

spring green

Domatalia Gel Chairs

Swapping in some spring green chairs can also instantly brighten a dining space or breakfast table.

The chairs to the left are made of transparent acrylic, which allows light to pass through. This see-through effect contributes to a feeling of openness in the home.


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