Sherwin-Williams rebrands global color and design center as DesignHouse

Company markets services to many segments including residential furniture, contract and hospitality, kitchen and bath, and more

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Paint and wood coatings specialist Sherwin-Williams is rebranding its Global Color & Design Center as part of an effort to expand its reach and communicate the services it offers in and outside the furniture industry.

Late last year the company renamed the operation DesignHouse to communicate the design services it offers the residential furniture industry as well as contract and hospitality, architectural building products, kitchen and bath, flooring and specialty products that include finishes developed for guitars. It was previously known as SW Industrial Wood, Global Color & Design Center since its inception 21 years ago.

“DesignHouse is where you come for custom colors and proprietary finishes that suit who it is that you are,” said Lauren West, director. “We will take your ideas and translate that into a finish for you with a system that can be re-created anywhere around the world and for wood products with production in mind, not just samples.”

Lauren West, director of the DesignHouse in Greensboro, shows the breadth of the company’s extensive wood finish assortment. This is just one of several areas in the facility showcasing various finish panels.

Today, West said DesignHouse in Greensboro has six color and finish stylists and two marketing professionals who work on 100 projects a month for clients ranging from lifestyle retailers to case goods importers and manufacturers, including Amish wood furniture producers.

Here West shows a finish panel featuring a textured metallic look, highlighting just one example of the company’s many capabilities in wood finishing.

On the residential side, the services extend not only to furniture, but also throughout the home from the ‘front door and windows to flooring and even the back patio,’ West noted.

“Home furnishings definitely uses our facility the most … and we run really lean for what it is that we do, but we are so efficient at it and we have our eyes on the landscape of what is going on,” she said, noting that the furniture industry is indeed setting finish trends in other areas such as kitchen and bath, flooring and architectural building products that are becoming more like furniture in their form and overall appearance.

“They all follow each other, and home furnishings leads the way with breaking trends,” West said, adding that the DesignHouse name also will be used on sister color and design studios in China and Vietnam. These facilities, which also specialize in wood coatings, also were previously known as Global Color & Design Centers.

According to the company website, these facilities will remain focused on developing “state-of-the-art” wood finishes while the DesignHouse for performance coatings facility in Minneapolis focuses on metal coatings.

Here is another area of the showroom in Greensboro, North Carolina, where guests can sit and collaborate at long work tables. A monitor also allows for video presentations.

Key services offered include trend forecasting from company color experts, color consultations that use data gained from the company’s large network of paint stores in North America, and research and development insights from on-site application labs where stylists replicate finishes and provide necessary technical expertise to help make finishing lines more efficient and cost effective.

The facilities also offer clients and product development teams a chance to collaborate on various projects, setting trends that often start at the upper end of the furniture segment, moving down to more popular price points.

So who does West believe will benefit the most from DesignHouse moving forward?

“It is wholesale, it is OEM, it is industrial designers and people who don’t know what the Global Color & Design Center does,” West said, adding that the services also extend to many well-known lifestyle retailers who have long been setting trends in the marketplace. “It has never been marketed, and now there is an opportunity to market it as DesignHouse. That is my goal.”

She also made a clear distinction between the services this offers to the industrial wood segment as compared to the Sherwin-Williams stores.

“You can’t go to a Sherwin-Williams store and get what it is we do for them,” she said. “We are not selling paint – we are creating a brand that you want to bring to market and a representation of what you think that is. We are just helping you bring that to life.”

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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