Strut Your Stuff: Rearrange a Room

Transform the furnishings you already have into the rooms you’ve always wanted.

| September/October 2004

They aren’t interior decorators who impose their own sense of design. They aren’t “stagers” who remove every touch of personal taste from a home on the resale market. They are arrangers. And they’re part of the fastest growing trend in interior design.

Professional arranging has grown so popular that membership in the Interior Arrangement and Design Association has tripled in three years. Judy Alto isn’t surprised. “People love to come home and see how we’ve used what they already own to create a new look,” says the professional arranger based in Annapolis, Maryland.

According to Alto, most people hire an arranger because they sense something is wrong with a room but can’t quite figure out what. “They think, ‘I like my stuff, but I want to make changes,’” she says.

Unlike interior designers, professional arrangers provide a service but not a product. They won’t sell you a new brass lamp or swank Louis XIV chair. They won’t hire a painter to faux finish your walls. “Essentially we use what you already own to create a new look,” Alto explains.

Best of all, arrangers don’t judge. Instead they help clients express themselves with what they have on hand. “We give people permission to display their stuff, but in a way that works within the architecture of a space. Plus we teach them how to live in 100 percent of their home.”

The process is deceptively simple. After an initial meeting with the client, the arranger (and usually one or two assistants) strips a room bare, then piece by piece (largest to smallest) reloads the space. The trick? Determining where the weight or focus of the room has to land. That can range from a bay window to a fireplace to an alcove. Notice that everything comes out, meaning it’s likely that a monstrous entertainment center will no longer be the center of attention.

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