Design Tips: Answers to Some Common Questions

cindy beyer revised

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

I am often asked many questions regarding the interior design profession. Here are some of my most frequently asked questions:

How do you charge? I tailor my fees to each client and work within their needs and budget. There are several ways in which I charge for my design. I can charge on an hourly basis billed monthly. This works for the client who does not want to see a larger bill at the end of the job. Another way is to divide the job into three stages, with one-third charged at signing of contract, one-third at completion of the plans, and the last third due upon completion.

The third way is a two part billing structure. Part I : Design and Planning stage and Part II: Implementation.

Can I use my existing furniture? Of course you can. I will take into account all of your favorite pieces in the room and add to as necessary. If you would like all new pieces, even better. We can also recover existing sofas and chairs as well as refinish and repaint or faux existing case goods.

Do you have a common style that you recommend to clients? No. It really depends on the client. I have access to all styles of furniture and furnishings from period, antiques to contemporary sleek lines.

I also believe in mixing different styles in the room. It really depends on the look and piece you wish to use. You will always be in control of what goes in the room. I will present to you many options for furniture, fabrics, drapery treatments and accessories. My clients have the last say on every detail.

How long does the job take? It depends on the project. For example, when ordering furniture directly from the manufacturer, lead times can take as little as three or four weeks or up to 16 weeks. The more exclusive and custom a piece, the longer it takes.

It is important for clients to know the lead times when ordering from manufacturers. Good design and furniture is worth the wait.

What if I don’t want to do the entire job right away, can you work with me a little at a time? Yes. I can work within your schedule. Sometimes it is best to develop a solid design concept and then implement over time. I like to have a lasting relationship with my clients. This enables me to spend time thinking and researching keeping in mind what pieces we will need.

We have a major remodeling project, when should I hire you? As soon as possible for the most successful projects are when I am involved early in the process. I work closely with architects and contractors, and I am comfortable with drawing floor plans as well as understanding the implications of how interiors will be used as it relates to structural and available floor space. All of this adds up to achieving that WOW factor as well as improving the value of your home.

If you have any additional interior design questions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

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