Create a Perfect Mid Century Modern Interior

Mid Century Modern Interior

Designing a Mid Century Modern Space

From Mad Men to NeoCon 2016 in Chicago, Mid Century Modern influence is everywhere in the interiors business. Looking to design your own mid century modern interior space? Whether you’re looking for commercial or residential, here’s the essentials.

Get your own Mid Century Modern color palette here.

Mid Century Modern Interior Eames Chairs

Key Features of Mid Century Modern Design

A key feature of mid century interiors is the classic (and famous) Eames furniture and furniture with clean simple lines. Furniture from this era can be identified by the straight clean lines complimented with smooth curves and a typically wooden construction. Pair this with statement lighting (artichoke pendant, anyone?) and graphic patterns to really hit home. This can be done in a number of chic ways. For a lobby or waiting room design try choosing furniture featuring minimalist design with sleek lines and very little features. Go with a bold color like tangerine to spice it up. Pair this with a graphic rug or pillows in one of the era’s popular patterns, such as the atomic pattern you can see below.

Mid Century Modern Interior

The Color Scheme

The Mid Century color scheme is perhaps the most recognizable nod to the era, so make sure to pay extra attention to the color palette you’re choosing for the job in order to create the perfect space. The mid century color scheme often featured darker neutral tones and saturated accent colors. Color has the ability to transport us to different times and places, so if you’re looking for the 60’s vibe, make sure to study up on the chic colors used. Some of the most popular colors from this era are Avocado, Mustard and Tangerine. These colors were used throughout interiors as well as the fashion world, from walls and appliances to skirts and textiles. Don’t be afraid to splash these paint colors on your walls, paint is one of the easiest ways to transform a space. Get your own Mid Century Modern color palette below (for free!).

Mid Century Modern Color Scheme

Metallics On Display at the Met

Metallic Paints Are The Next Big Thing

As the creative force behind the Midwest’s favorite paint brand, I was (and always am) invited to the prestigious Met Gala. Knowing that fashion trends are a harbinger of interior design trends, it’s only natural that I should attend exclusive, star-studded events like the Met Gala where nascent fashions are on display. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to this year’s ball. I wanted to attend but the court order is VERY clear, I need to stay at least 1,500 feet from Taylor Swift at all times (it’s all a misunderstanding, Tay-Tay!) and I didn’t want to cause another awkward scene at the Social Event of the Season. Lucky for me, there’s enough star power at the Met Gala to attract reporters and photographers from every major news outlet so this year’s Met fashions are well documented. Let’s take a look:

Check out our Metallics LookBook for more metallics inspiration for your next project!

Metallic paints
Metallics on display at the Met

The theme for the 2016 Met Gala, Manus X Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology, recalled the dreams of alchemists seeking to perfect the human form and turn base elements into silver and gold. How will advances in technology affect the human form? What is the role of fashion in these advances? Are we to become robots, cold practical, efficient? Or a higher form of humanity, sleek, radiant, enlightened? I leave it to luminaries like Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Kim K– bedecked in futuristic couture from Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Versace, Chanel, and more–to answer these questions and lead us to the Brave New World awaiting us.

Met Gala metallics dresses matched with ScuffMaster metallic paints
Metallic dresses and matching ScuffMaster metallic paints

The Met Gala is one of the fashion industries biggest events and metallic colors were featured heavily on the Red Carpet this year. All the major fashion houses skillfully wove silvers, golds, and shimmering shades of every hue into stunning fashions that enhanced the human form and diminished the line between humanity and technology. The trend towards metallics seen this year will hit the interior design world soon. When it does, Scuffmaster will be ready. We have more metallic colors and options than any other brand of coatings. Functional, low-emitting, super tough and easy to use, Scuffmaster’s pearl and metallic paints balance technology and glamour and are the perfect addition to walls, offices, columns, architectural features, elevator doors and more. Check out our Metallics LookBook for more metallics inspiration for your next project!

If you can’t wait to add a bit of the future to your present projects, order some Scuffmaster metallic samples today!

Get Your Metallics LookBook

Paint Your Way Out of a Corner

The Benefit of Using Premium Paints

The British School. An active space with premium paint.
The British International School in Chicago, Il. And active space perfect for premium paints.

To many, paint is simply color, a convenient way to bring the elements of a space together and unify them. It’s a last minute decision made after spending hours and hours pouring over lighting, flooring, case goods and furniture systems– those limelight stealing prima donnas. Why do we leave paint decisions for so late in the design process? Is it because paint is boring? Maybe if paint had a better story to tell than simply providing flat color, it might feel more vital to the success of a space. What if paint could wrap architectural details in shimmering pearlescent effects? What if paint could have engaging textures or metallic hues? What if paint could provide protection for walls? The good news is that paint can have all of these characteristics and more: Welcome to the world of Premium Paint.

Get our scrub rating guide here to help you determine what paint is right for your project.

If paint is going to attract designer’s attention like lighting and furniture, it needs an exciting look, it needs to be tough, and it needs be low emitting. The local hardware stores are full of paints that look great but easily wipe right off the wall–not exactly practical for commercial interiors. There’s plenty of durable paints to choose from, too–most of which are so volatile they’ll have the Sierra Club picketing your job site. And of course there are low emitting paints that can’t be cleaned and need constant repainting–which kinda’ defeats their purpose. Only great looking, long lasting, low emitting paint can truly be called premium and earn a higher slot in our design process.

Because paint is often viewed as a commodity, many designers aren’t aware that better options and premium paints exist. The difference between premium paint and store bought paint is as pronounced as the difference between type 1 and type 2 vinyl. You wouldn’t specify type 1 vinyl for an active commercial interior, it would be trashed before the move-in was complete. Specifying regular paints for high-traffic areas is just as fruitless yet we do it all the time.

Dig, if you will, a picture: You’ve completed a new space, it’s opening day and every aspect of the project is pristine. Almost. The walls, corridors and common spaces where you specified regular paint are full of scuffs and kick marks from the move-in process. These walls can’t be cleaned and already need repainting. Oh, and the client is not thrilled. We’ve all painted ourselves into this corner before, but specifying premium paints will get us out of it. Premium paint like Scuffmaster is 10-45x more durable than regular latex paints. That increased level of performance means walls that withstand nicks and chips, and kick marks that wipe off walls without burnishing them or needing a costly touch up.

Scuffmaster Premium Paints. Eight finishes. Endless possibilities.
Just a few of Scuffmaster’s many premium paints.

So that’s the practical side of premium paint, now for the fun side. Imagine radiant metallic paints, envision coatings with textures that echo other elements from the space, picture glossy drops of color creating a fresh, dewy appearance. Premium paints can achieve all of this while maintaining VOC levels low enough to qualify for LEED credits. Yes, premium paints are more expensive (doing it right the first time always is) but your projects deserve premium paint and premium paint deserves a higher place in your design process (if you leave it until the last minute it can get VE’d out). So as you are working, be aware that paint can be so much more than just solid color. and better paint like Scuffmaster is there, waiting patiently for a lead role in your next project. Get our scrub rating guide here to help you determine what paint is right for your project.

Get Your Scrub Rating Guide

In Support of Bizarrechitecture.

Commies love concrete. Rolling Stone reporter P.J. O’Roark famously made that observation in 1986 while surveying Eastern Europe’s landscape from 15,000 feet. This would have been a fairly easy conclusion for him to reach in 1986 as he was flying over the Soviet Block. Grid after desaturated grid, block after featureless block, high-rise after looming, oppressive high-rise, the era’s Communist city planners from Poland to Beijing were waging a war against joie de vivre and their weapon of choice was concrete.


Eventually, the Berlin Wall crumbled–as all concrete does–and the freedom that people experienced as a result came with a desire for more distinctive architecture and a greater sense of place. With a determination and dauntlessness typical of Eastern Europeans, they went for it. Big time.


Loosening restrictions and cultural reforms have had a similar effect in China causing a crop of genre defying architectural wonders to sprout up in recent years.


So, of course, the government now wants to put an end to it.

The Chinese government has recently issued a New Directive criticizing some of the “oversized, xenocentric, weird” buildings in the country and outright banning “bizarre architecture”. Like many such ideas, it’s fine in theory but will be disastrous in practice. The line between that which is beautiful and a cultural good, and that which is bizarre and xenophobic will now be defined by the same crowd that brought you the Great Leap Forward.

One imagines hopeful architects approaching the newly crowned Minister of Culturally Appropriate Aesthetics with renderings clutched in trembling hands. “If it pleases your exaltedness, might you deem my humble vision an Aesthetically Worthy Cultural Asset so that it might one day grace the skyline of our city?”  Squinting one eye at the renderings and cocking his head a bit the Minister replies, “looks good. Loose all that glass, though. Concrete’ll do just fine.”

There’s a story and a dream behind weird architecture. It adds local color and it’s a far cry more inspiring than slab after slab of cold concrete. So while buildings like the Tea Kettle aren’t exactly my cup of, well, tea, I still love them for their adventurous courage. I want them around and I hope the Chinese government will still allow some architects to get weird once in awhile. The weird ones inspire us and give us the courage to take risks with our own work.

Make it big. Make it shiny. Make it pink if you want to. It’s okay with us if it’s weird.

The Perfect Paints for Classic Wallcoverings

Lincrusta Paints for Wallcoverings OverViewMore Leading Interior Product Manufacturers Are Choosing Scuffmaster For Wallcoverings!

When the good folks at Lincrusta™- The Ultimate Wallcovering, were looking for a quality primer to lay the right foundation for their renowned line of textured wallcoverings, they found the ideal partner in Scuffmaster. Based in the United Kingdom since 1877, Lincrusta wallcoverings have a deeper emboss and higher relief than other wallcoverings which gives them a distinct, highly sought after look.

Getting ready to specify paint for your project? Check out our Specifying paints guide here to help you through the process. 

Special wallcoverings like Lincrusta deserve specialty paints and primers like Scuffmaster. And after extensive testing, our Multi-Purpose Primer was selected as the Primer of Choice for Lincrusta installations. It makes perfect sense to pair their exceptionally durable wallcoverings with our exceptionally durable paints. No one builds a stately manor on marsh land, right?

Discriminating architects, designers deserve to have all aspects of a project run well and look as impressive as possible. Our paints and Lincrusta’s unique textured look will undoubtedly make many big impressions. What can they do for your projects and how can they pair with your favorite products? Reach out to your Scuffmaster rep today and find out!

Getting ready to specify paint for your project? Check out our Specifying paints guide here to help you through the process. 

Get Your Specifying Guide Here

Introducing The Color of The Year: Merde Caliente!


The warm undercurrents of Merde Caliente calm the spirit and cleanse the soul like the dulcet tones from a Stradivarius while its earthy intensity creates a searing jot of urgency. We see Merde Caliente becoming a large movement in 2016.

Get your Fall ’16 Paint Trends LookBook here.

Or something like that.

Each year at about this time, I like to round up the competing Colors of the Year that different brands have released and conduct a side-by-side comparison. Why do I do this? For openers, I don’t have a lot of friends or social engagements that demand my time and attention, and secondly, it’s fun to see the wide range of colors that command such an impressive honorific.

Let’s have a look at a few of 2016’s Colors of the Year…


Plenty to work with there, right? We’d be happy to add another color to this mix. After all, we’ve got a bazillion samples in our collection, we keep an eye on trending colors from several different industries, I love writing pedantic prose about the effects that color can have. But rather than adding to an already disparate mix, I’m more interested in seeing what YOU chose as the Color of the Year. After all, it’s you–the designer, the architect, the property manager, the applicator–that’s in the trenches each day tying your visions together with Just The Right Color. You’re the ones out there selling color through to your clients and seeing its effects as your projects take shape.

That’s why we prefer to celebrate the colors that YOU made famous, not the stuff we think you should use be using. We want to share the colors that YOU labored over and put to use in the real world. We’re grateful for those jobs and we’re thrilled to be a part of them.

With that in mind, we’ve tallied up the numbers from the previous months to find the color that you are loving more than any other. And it is…


This plucky little fella was specified on more jobs than any other Scuffmaster color in the last 12 months.  A lively metallic that perfectly straddles both silver and gold, I can see why it’s so well liked.

Thank you all for making SM8133 our top color of the year. To get a look at all the colors your fellow designers are loving just visit the Trending Colors section of It’ll give you the current pulse on our most sampled and specified colors. We can’t wait to see the next color you send to the top of the charts!

Get your Fall ’16 Paint Trends LookBook here.

Get Your Fall '15 Trends LookBook

Tough Paint. Easy Choice.

The advantages of using premium paint in high traffic areas.

By now most of us have accepted that doing things right the first time–even though it costs a bit more initially–saves time and money in the long run. That old chestnut seems particularly suitable when designing and building things, that’s why it’s always been the primary reason we make our paints so tough. Remember, the big expense on any painting project isn’t paint, it’s labor. And if you are always repainting because you went cheap on paint for an active interior, you’re going to get creamed on repainting costs. Use a better paint up front, and the kick marks, bag marks, hand prints, and scuff marks that have the painting crew out every other month, can be wiped right off with simple household cleaners instead.

Get our scrub rating guide to help you decide which paint is best for the project.

There’s another big cost to regular repainting that I wanted to talk about today, the cost to the environment. It’s important remember that more painting means more manufacturing, more travel, more clean-up, more off-gassing, more VOCs. That’s not the direction any of us want to see things go. Better you should use a quality low-emitting coating (there might be one I could recommend) and save money on repaints while saving your corner of the planet.

Take a look at the installation below. This project had been up for just 3 months when we paid a visit. It’s located in a busy, mixed-used building in the heart of Minneapolis’ vibrant North Loop neighborhood. Home to restaurants, shops (maybe even a few shoppes), a salon, and enough upscale lofts to let you know you’re in a properly gentrified neighborhood, this building sees a lot of people traffic. The corridors and common areas of the building provided a great test for Scuffmaster; one side was painted in our freakishly strong Armor finish while the other side was painted with store-bought residential paint. I’m sure both sides looked great when they went up, but after a scant 90 days, the regular paint is looking rough and in desperate need of a costly makeover. Not a great first impression if you’re the building owner attempting offload expensive lofts.

Scuffmaster Armor premium paint at ElseWareHouse

The Armor side of the corridor can take a beating without going to pieces while regular paint highlights the grime, chips, scuffs, and dings. I’m guessing there was a great case to be made for both products at the time they were being specified, but 90 days in, which paint do you think the owners would rather have on all their walls? Get our scrub rating guide below to help you decide which paint is best for the project.

Get Your Scrub Rating Guide

It’s Great what a Little Color can do

As someone who has worked in “creative spaces” my entire adult life, I’ve noticed a tiresome dependence on gray color schemes. I’m not saying gray can’t be used to stunning effect in ad agencies, design offices, photo studios and more, only that in many of the spaces I’ve worked and visited, it’s all you ever see. Gray certainly creates a nice, neutral backdrop for posting projects and critiquing work, but somewhere along the way it became the go-to color scheme for creative spaces.

It’s well known that many of the renaissance masters had their studios painted in grays. This obviously worked well for cranking out The Birth of Venus in Tuscany, but how inspiring are gray walls in a 21st century office space, on a Monday in January, in the Midwest, while banging out Q1 projections on a deadline?

Those of us working in creative fields do not have a monopoly on creativity. Creativity is found anywhere people are willing to add something new and special to their work. It takes a lot of energy to do that though, energy most people don’t get while ensconced in gray. Anyone wanting their employees to be more creative needs to work first on getting their employees energized and color can do that in ways gray just can’t.

See our before and after examples. An anonymous office space becomes a vibrant den with a real sense of place. Where would you rather spend 40 hours a week? A modern workplace, stunning in black and white, is fully realized only through whip-smart use of color accenting the walkways and begging the stairs to be scaled. Talk about energy, I wouldn’t take the elevator in this building if I was hauling air conditioners to work.

Top: IDC Patent - MPLS, after / Scuffmaster Paint + Design | Bottom: Medibank Building - Melbourne, Chris Connell Design, Kerry Phelan Design Office, Russell and George and HASSELL Architects (Photography Earl Carter)
Top: IDC Patent – MPLS, after / Scuffmaster Paint + Design | Bottom: Medibank Building – Melbourne, Chris Connell Design, Kerry Phelan Design Office, Russell and George and HASSELL Architects (Photography Earl Carter)

These are the kinds of spaces that foster creativity and happy, energized employees. What could an extra hit of color do for your next project? More importantly, what could it do for those who will occupy it?