If you long to banish visual clutter, restricted traffic flow and disorganization in your home, all you really may need is a fresh set of eyes.
Or perhaps you're trying to sell your home and your pack-rat tendencies are not making the best impression on prospective buyers. Once again, a fresh set of eyes may be just what you need to make the sale.
By taking what you already own and rearranging it, a professional stager can transform a room.
"People look at their own things day after day -- so much that they can't even see them," says Diane Szemenyei of Bethlehem.
She and her partner, Marcie Miller of Northampton, have used their "new sets of eyes" to stage many homes since they started their business, House Dressing Stagers, two years ago.
Their philosophy, Szemenyei says, is that your home should be in its best showcase condition whether you're trying to sell it or simply trying to enjoy living in it.
Staging is a service that's particularly helpful to people who lack the confidence to set up their own rooms.
"We have the experience of setting rooms up every day, so we know what works and what doesn't," Szemenyei says.
They also have stock rooms full of furniture, lighting and accessories to boost the appeal of a "temporary" room -- a room that's been spruced up to help a house sell.
Clutter is every room's enemy, Szemenyei says, and it's the first thing to go on every job. During their "1-Day Redesign," for people who are not selling a home, she and Miller determine what the room will be used for and then "shop the house," with the owner's permission to collect things the client may have forgotten they own to perfectly set off the room's new design.
The four to five hours Szemenyei and Miller spent about a year ago at the home of Rosemary Paraszczak in Whitehall Township, was well worth the $50-an-hour charge, according to the homeowner. The duo transformed the living room and dining room area while the owner was at work.
"When I opened the door, it lifted my whole spirit," Paraszczak says.
"It was all my stuff, but it was from several other areas in the house. They brought a bench and a Shaker-style chair down from upstairs, and they took out a lot of things, too," she says. "I'm a clutterbug."
Szemenyei and Miller stowed away the exercise equipment that had taken up residence in Paraszczak's dining room and brought in the kitchen table to show what the room would look like with a table in it.
Paraszczak left it there and bought a new table for the empty space in the kitchen, she says.
"I thought it was going to be just an expensive housecleaning," she says. "But after the first glance, I got myself a cup of tea and just sat on the couch and looked at everything. I didn't want to leave the room. It's very warm and inviting."
Two sofas that Paraszczak had arranged in an "L" shape against the walls were rearranged facing each other on a diagonal with the coffee table in between, she says.
Though she considers herself fairly clever and able in the decorating department, Paraszczak says she's busy and doesn't have the time or the know-how to arrange it "just so."