First impressions. Remember walking into someone’s home for the first time? Your eyes quickly notice the colors of the walls, the furniture, the photographs, the art, the floor, etc. The colors, the design, the style, decorations-all are alive and capture our interest. The same experience happens when you paint or paper your own living room, kitchen, or bedroom. Walking into that newly decorated room the first few times is a new experience.

Unfortunately, the newness becomes familiar, and the painting, unique details, and accents seem to fade into the background. Any flaws, torn slipcovers, scratched tables, and dusty permanent flower arrangements also become invisible-like backgrounds on our computer. When my family moved a year ago, most of the same pieces of furniture were used, but when placed in different rooms, they looked brand new. Guests visiting couldn’t remember where a desk or chair was positioned at the other house, so they appeared new in the current space. Forgotten books and decorative pieces are pleasant surprises when put on display again.

A renewed interest in art and home improvement-not to mention the recognition of a substantial financial investment in art-has directed owners to re-arrange, not just re-decorate. For a reasonable hourly fee, designers, artists, and even museum curators will do just that-re-arrange. A current trend is to hire that expert to re-arrange collections and re-hang paintings and works of art in homes. Museums and retailers have always used that trick to invoke interest. Museums must showcase permanent and traveling exhibits in different ways to attract repeat patrons, and retailers change merchandise displays weekly-if not more often-to entice the frequent customer. They coordinate with different accessories to appeal to buyers’ different moods, styles, and even budgets.

I have to admit I struggle with how to arrange those books, knick-knacks, family photos, and treasures as much as I agonize about proper accessories to update a business suit or evening gown. Magazine photos of filled bookshelves in comfortable, appealing family rooms make the arranging look easy, but it’s still a challenge to the non-decorator. I’ve also been known to buy the whole display because everything looked great on the mannequin, knowing it’s the accessories that make the outfit unique. I heard of a similar service where an "expert" would organize your existing closet of clothes and suggest options for various outfits. The business plan being that many people just don’t realize what they have and what can work together. That’s a key trait with artists-they take creative risks. With a bit of encouragement, we all can create a "new" style.

With traditional fall house cleaning and changing of the seasonal wardrobe on the minds of many, add re-evaluate, re-arrange, and re-hang to your list and surprise your Thanksgiving guests. You might want to purchase one new accessory, a new picture frame, throw pillow, or basic skirt or blazer-or contract with a professional designer for the ultimate assistance. The investment is minimal, but the satisfaction is priceless. AA!