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Goodwill Home Décor Expert - Merri Cvetan

Goodwill Home Decor Expert Merri Cvetan

I started my career as an interior designer when we finished remodeling our home that was built in the 1890s. I loved the space planning, choosing finishes and decorating every little inch. It was trial and error, and we made mistakes, but I learned a lot along the way. Along with being a learning process, working on our home was also a hands-on project. We did everything ourselves (actually, my husband Tom did all the building and heavy work, I did the fun stuff!). I’ve had the decorating bug ever since I was a little girl, but I wanted to know everything about design, so, as a result I returned to college (Mount Mary) for a second degree in Interior Design.

I’ve been collecting antiques and vintage furnishings forever. My favorite shopping places are flea markets, antique stores and of course, Goodwill. I love DIY projects and saving money by taking an object and re-purposing it into something beautiful and useful. I’m also an amateur photographer, love to travel and study French (J’adore tous ce qui est franҫais)!

Although I love to entertain, I’m not much of a cook. My party philosophy is "if the table looks fantastic, it doesn’t matter what you serve."

My weekly column for Amazing Goodwill and my design blog, Design Coach, are about all things design, living a stylish life and entertaining (like setting a great table). I share DIY projects, decorating and design tips, as well as ideas and secrets.

If you have a specific question for Merri, feel free to email her at askmerri@goodwillsew.com.

Follow Merri on Twitter and Pinterest!

Watch Merri on Windy City Live! ... See more videos featuring Merri (and more) on our AmazingGoodwill YouTube channel!

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Apr 19, 2017 3:32:15 PM

Happy Spring!


When the grass starts to turn green and buds appear on trees and bushes, you know spring is here! Even if the temperatures aren’t hot yet, you can’t help smiling when the sun shines. To welcome the new season, I like to hang a pretty wreath on my front door. Instead of the traditional round grapevine wreath, I decided on a different look this year.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Apr 12, 2017 1:08:31 PM

Bunny Brunch

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, especially at holiday time. I love to gather family and friends for a leisurely brunch on an important day, like Easter. Afterwards, everyone has plenty of time to head to the next party. This table setting is perfect for Easter, but works for any spring weekend.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Mar 28, 2017 4:54:07 PM

Hippity-Hoppity Easter’s on its Way

Does the Easter bunny hide baskets at your house every year? Or does he leave it out in plain sight full of candy and goodies? No matter your traditions, there is always room for a new one. These little Bunny Buckets are so easy, the kids can make their own or one for every classmate.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Mar 22, 2017 4:29:16 PM

Reading and Writing

Sometimes all it takes to “redecorate” is to add something unexpected to your home.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Mar 14, 2017 2:33:50 PM

Keeping it Green for St. Paddy’s Day

I found a vintage Heirloom wooden walnut nut/candy dish made by the Lebanon Supply Company. It has a gold metal handle and is in perfect condition–no chips, no dings. I spent $.99 and it’s going for $15 on ebay! Don’t you love a bargain?

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Mar 6, 2017 5:11:32 PM

Bookshelf Refresh

It’s almost spring and that means it’s time to freshen up the house and do some redecorating. Although I would love to open up the windows to let the fresh air in, I have to be content with staging a bookshelf and while watching the last of the snow melt away.
I designed the basic same shelf display in 3 different color-ways. The constant in each is a picture and books. Framed artwork looks just as good standing on a shelf as it does hanging on the wall.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Mar 1, 2017 4:43:44 PM

Mind Your Manners!

Manners are big in my house. Early on my kids learned to say “please and thank-you;” to hold the door for others and proper table manners. Besides having a command of the English language, knowing appropriate etiquette and how to behave in any situation can go a long way when becoming a successful person. (Okay, I’ll get off my high horse!). Seriously, everyone should know which fork to use, not to talk with your mouth full and to place their napkin on their lap while eating.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Feb 22, 2017 3:04:49 PM

Celebrate Mardi Gras


Mardi Gras means fat Tuesday in French. It’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Although many cultures (mainly those with large Catholic populations) celebrate the day, New Orleans is famous for their public festivities. If you can’t get to the city with the famous French Quarter this month, plan a party at home.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Feb 15, 2017 1:58:56 PM

Made in the Shade


Lighting is such an important part of decorating a room. Not only do lamps illuminate a space and allow you to work and read, but think of them as room accessories. Lamps and shades come in all sorts of sizes, colors, finishes and options. They don’t have to be expensive if you know where to shop and can see potential in bland or boring styles.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Feb 8, 2017 2:54:09 PM

How Do You Spell L-O-V-E?

Everyone loves February 14. The challenge is to come up with someone unique and personal for the special person in your life. Cards put your thoughts into words, and who doesn’t like a box of chocolate? But this year, I wanted to design something different, so I decided to spell out my feelings!

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Feb 1, 2017 4:42:38 PM

Artful Arrangement

Trays are such useful accessories that designers are putting them in every room. They provide a place for items you need at hand in the bedroom and bathroom, as well as the dining room or living room—they make a design statement. Trays come in every size, material and color imaginable. The one you choose to decorate your coffee table says a lot about your style and personality. They can also be very expensive. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for creative DIY alternatives.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Jan 26, 2017 2:30:54 PM

Kiss & Make-Up


Getting and staying organized is a challenge for most of us. It’s particularly challenging if you have a small bathroom or share a bath with others. I like to keep the items I use every day handy and at hand. As I walked the aisles at Goodwill one day, I found an old wood remote control caddy on a turntable.