Congress is sprucing up for its 101st two-year session and the celebration of 200 years of constitutional government.

One more bicentennial as the century nears a close.The Senate chamber in particular will have a fresher look when it convenes Jan. 3.

A new carpet has been installed - royal blue with medallions - and the staff benches in the rear have been reupholstered in bright crimson. It should give the chamber a flashier look on television.

A few months ago, the staff area in the back corners of the Senate chamber were enclosed with massive mahogany railings. That also was done with television in mind.

Some senators with desks in the rear of the chamber had complained that when they rose to speak, the television image of the speech showed them with rows of dangling feet and crossed legs at the level of their own heads. The new railing provides a more senatorial visual backdrop.

The taking up of the old carpet, which had been in place for more than a decade and was badly worn in places, was an event in itself.

Workmen in jeans and casual clothes took the places of senators in crisp three-piece, pinstriped suits.

Some lounged in senator's arm chairs, told jokes in loud voices, flicked cigarette ashes on the chamber floor and ground out the butts with their heels.

Then they carried the 100 historic desks out of the chamber door and propelled them down the corridor to temporary storage.

Then they tore up the carpet.

"Looks just like the revolution," one bystander said.

The tearing up of the carpet attracted spectators - and souvenir hunters. A few of the latter were United States senators.

Senators, and Senate pages and clerks, rolled up swatches of the old carpet and carried it away on their shoulders.

The chamber now has been restored to order, ready for noon on Jan. 3 when 10 newly elected senators, one newly appointed senator and 23 newly re-elected senators will raise their right hands and swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

All seats in the Senate galleries have been allocated to relatives, friends and supporters of the new and returning senators.