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Common Interior Designer Dilemmas: An Interview with Cynthia Cuellar of Rancho Interior Design

By Cynthia Cuellar

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We are a full-service interior design firm specializing in residential interior design.​ We are located in the beautiful Temecula Valley wine country and service all of Riverside and San Diego counties. We can work with any design style incorporating our signature "Casual, Elegant" look. Our services include design consultations, space planning, remodeling, custom furnishings, cabinetry, window treatments and flooring. We also offer virtual design for anyone who needs design help anywhere in the world.

What are the most common decorating mistakes you've seen when you walk into a home?

I think the most difficult decorating dilemma for most people is creating a good floor plan. This is where most people need professional help. Choosing the wrong sized and scaled furnishings is another common mistake as is is lack of adequate lighting. A combination of task and ambient lighting should be planned for every room. A pet peeve of mine is clutter. ​I tell my clients "less is more" when it comes to furnishing and decorating your home. ​

What simple tips do you have for themes, color choices or furniture to help make a space unique?

I like to interview my clients to learn about their lifestyle, likes and dislikes before beginning a project. Learning about my clients helps me to determine a theme for their space. Color inspiration often comes from colors they prefer then we build a palette around their favorites, keeping in mind existing elements such as flooring and cabinetry. Everything needs to be cohesive.

Color inspiration can ​also ​come from sources such as fabric, rugs and artwork. Incorporating a theme that reflects my client's lifestyle and taste creates a space unique to them.

How do you deal with combined living and dining rooms?

When dealing with an open concept floor plan, ​I treat it as one room. Colors and furnishings ​are selected to ​complement each other. The floor plan is planned for comfort and function allowing for traffic aisles and adequate seating. Task and ambient lighting is planned to give room plenty of light.

Do you ever have trouble finding inspiration? What inspires you when you're working with your clients?

I get inspired by my clients and excited about every project I work on. For inspiration I ask my clients to look for rooms they like in magazines, and on Houzz and Pinterest. That helps me identify their style even though they may not know what their style is. It's a wonderful way to begin the process and get the creative juices flowing. From there we discuss what ideas or requests they may have for the space. Once I have that info I begin brainstorming ideas for the project.

Do you have any personal design secrets that you can share?

My motto of "less is more " should be remembered for every space in your home. It's like the old adage of jewelry: remove one piece of jewelry before you leave the house. Clean, uncluttered rooms are the most pleasing and relaxing.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

I can be reached by email at or by phone 951-767-2147 or 951-956-0661.

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