This paper presents new contributions to the modeling and design of reflecting cells embedding discrete control elements such as microelectromechanical system (MEMS) or diodes. First, a rigorous assessment of the different possibilities to simulate and measure the reconfigurable cell in a periodic environment is proposed. Strategies to efficiently model a cell comprising discrete control elements are then presented and discussed in terms of versatility, required assumptions, and computational effort. The most efficient method allows computing all reconfigurable states cell parameters, including information such as the total and dissipated power in each MEMS or diode, in a few minutes using a commercial full-wave solver and adequate post-processing. Finally, the benefit of such an efficient modeling is illustrated by the optimization of an element phase states distribution using a particle swarm optimizer. The concepts presented are also directly applicable to reconfigurable transmitting cells.