Stearing Your Designs in the Right Direction

Owner of Allen Stear Designs in Atlanta, Cynthia Allen has the leadership and knowhow to make your project pop!

Thanks or joining us, Cynthia! Tell us a little bit about your training in interior design and how you came to choose both the profession and location.      

I attended Georgia Southern University just south of Atlanta where I grew up, my initial interest was in textiles and fashion design, but after a few years in that industry I quickly realized that grind wasn’t for me. I began working on small jobs first, paint selection, choosing fabrics for re-upholstery, simple design 101 kinds of things. As far as location, I started in Atlanta, wonderful spot to be a designer, just fabulous access to the design center, and loads of inspiration.

Is Atlanta a challenging market for interior decorating? What are some of the major influences for the area?

In this economy ALL markets are challenging, however I have been in the industry for over 24 years so my clients are either repeat clients, or referrals. Typically my work takes me all over the US and some International locations.  My inspiration and influences come from everything I see. You just never know what will spark a concept.

What’s you design philosophy? How do you try and implement it in your work?

Most importantly, KNOW YOUR CLIENT!  I spend a lot of time with my clients prior to presenting my design ideas. I insist on all my clients putting together a personal ” wish book,” traditionally these are from the shelter publications that represent the style and look they think they want. I see a lot of Traditional Home, Veranda, etc. Clients don’t know what they want really, or how to achieve it, that’s why they hire a designer, however they can move you in a direction that tells you where you CAN take them and what they will accept and LOVE in the end.

Are your clients typically looking for big jobs, or a room-by-room type thing?

I’m happy to work with anyone who has a desire to change and better their living environment, usually if you start small and create just the right space, I end up with the entire home, It’s all about relationships and trust.  However, most of my project and design jobs are fairly large, and will take me to some wonderful locations. a footnote , it’s very difficult to just do a room at a time, a true design is an all encompassing job. One area leads to another to create a perfectly in sync home which in my design usually incorporates the outdoors as well.

When it comes to floor coverings, tell us how you incorporate area rugs into your designs.

With any design, the rug can make or break the room. If my clients have a collection of antique rugs they want to use, I usually start with those and build the design around them. With contemporary jobs, the rugs and floor coverings are key — It’s an area you can add a pop of color to a very calm textured room. Beautiful rugs are like ART to me, very personal — they should be respected.

Area rugs add some warmth to space. What are some other ways they can be used?

Small rugs can be hung as art in a space. I don’t like to use anything in my design “just because I need warmth”, there are specific reasons for any implementation. Yes they add warmth, but that should be the last reason you use one. They add another dimension of texture, color, and pattern to a room.

Do you have any types of rugs you use more often than others in Atlanta?

I have one or two vendors at ADAC I can always count on to know what I need when describing what I want in a space. Rugs have to be taken out and placed prior to purchase, they are expensive and my clients need to see how it feels in a room before I commit. Allowing approval is key for this part of the design. Again, it’s like art, subjective. I some cases when dealing with natural wovens like jute, sisal, hemp, these will need to be ordered and the client doesn’t see prior to purchase, however the price point is very different.

Any other tips or tricks for using area rugs?

Don’t discount a rug with some wear on it; these are often times the best and most expensive pieces. Your designer can always have them repaired! Never throw out a rug because of its age — that could be the best part of it. And if you have a few rugs that you are just not sure about, talk with your designer, have them appraised  and then make your decision whether to implement them into your design.

Where can readers find your work, or make a booking for an estimate?

The best way to see my work is either my website , or my Facebook page, which has the most current information and photos, Allen Stear Designs. I also have a Houzz page under Allen Stear Designs. My email is , that is the best way to reach out to me.

Happy New Year !!!


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