FAQ: Susan Sutherlin Answers Top Interior Design Questions

FAQ’s: Answers from Interior Decorators in San Diego


Q: How can I be comfortable purchasing furniture without sitting on it?

A: This is one of the most common questions. Through the years, we’ve developed a furniture selection system that we believe works very well for our clients. We begin our process by listening to you to create a design plan that suits your home, your needs, your design budget, and your lifestyle, and body type. We also look at any existing furniture in which you feel comfortable, and then compare measurements, including seat depth and seat height, with the new furniture pieces we are considering. We understand that you might feel apprehensive about spending money on something you haven’t sat on or seen in person and, in some cases, customers feel more comfortable finding furniture on their own. However, many customers tell us that it can be very difficult to find the best pieces for their room without compromising style (it can be hard for customers to even narrow down what style and silhouette would look best), color selection (you may find a style you like, but it’s not in the color you had in mind), or size (if you’ve ever purchased a sofa that’s even 2” too long, you know exactly what I mean!). Because our designers are professionally trained in furniture selection, helping you choose the perfect pieces is their specialty. When customizing furniture for your space, many times we create a floor plan to choose the best sizes and shapes, and then together we choose the fabric and cushion style, design and finish, as well as fun pillows to pull it all together! Your furniture is such an important element in your rooms, and we highly recommend doing it right the first time in order to avoid wasted money or returns, disappointment and headaches! In addition, our San Diego interior decorators proudly stand behind every decorating project and all products.



Q: Why do you suggest my spouse be involved if I’m the only one who cares about decorating?

A: Home decorating can involve many types of changes to the interior and event exterior spaces. In our experience, we’ve found that any adults using the spaces have their own views, either financially or aesthetically, on how the spaces should be altered. Having all interested parties participate from the beginning stage can save time and frustration when making important financial and design decisions.



Q: How do I determine a budget for my project?

A: Many people think that working with an interior decorator is expensive. However, with our design packages, design services are attainable. We work with a wide variety of products and suppliers, so we can help you determine a budget range that is comfortable for you based on your priorities. Once we’ve established your budget, you can relax and know that everything we show you will fit within the budget you’ve established for your project.



Q: Is there a minimum or maximum project size?

A: At Susan Sutherlin Designs, we have a pretty simple design philosophy: We believe your space should express your tastes and support your lifestyle. We are often asked what our design style is and we are quick to explain that your room should look like you and not us. From choosing paint colors or accessories to remodeling or redecorating your entire home or business, there is no project too large or too small. Just give us a call to get started!



Q: Will my decorator go shopping with me at local stores?

A: Although most of our designing is done in the comfort of your home or office, there are occasions when shopping at local stores in necessary. For those infrequent situations we are happy to shop with you on an hourly basis.



Q: Do you handle remodeling projects?

A: Yes, we are able to handle remodel projects. For any constructional elements that our vendors cannot provide (sinks, hardware, granite, etc), if the customer requests, we will happily work alongside a contractor of your choice for those selections at an hourly rate. If you do not have a contractor that you’d like to use for the labor, we are happy to refer you to contractors in your area.



Q: How do I care for my new area rug?

A: We are including some tips here that the rug industry has shared with our designers. Although we stand behind our products 100% and will always return defective merchandise, there are common issues inherent in rugs that are good for customers to know. The issues below are not considered defective, nor reasons for the product to be returned:

SHEDDING – All wool rugs will shed. Hand knotted rugs will shed less than tufted rugs. Shedding will decrease over time, and with vacuuming, but can take many months to taper off. This is normal for wool rugs.

SPROUTS” – Loose fibers are common in hand made rugs. Clip these with scissors.

CREASES – These should disappear in a week or two. Try reverse rolling.

FADING – Rugs in direct sunlight will fade over time. Rotate your rug to help it fade evenly.

WEAR – Rotate rugs every 3-6 months due to traffic.

ODOR – Rugs recently removed from a bag may have odor. This should dissipate in a week or two.


• The most damaging effect on area rugs is vacuuming. Extra care must be taken when vacuuming your rug. High powered vacuums will pull threads out of the back of rugs and cause “sprouts”. Examples of these may include the bagless Dyson and Oreck vacuum cleaners. If a vacuum can pick up a bowling ball, imagine what it can do to a rug!

• Use the handheld attachment to vacuum your rug.

• The beater bar of your vacuum cleaner can pull fibers from the face of the rug and can also cause the face of your rug to fuzz.