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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 Aug 23, 2017 2:18:54 PM

Confessions of a Collector Part 2 - The Scarf

My scarf/shawl collection triples my number of handbags. What can I say? I love accessories. (Just wait until I get to jewelry!) Scarves and shawls not only add color and pizazz to an outfit, but they also keep you warm when the temperature drops. I never go anywhere without one during fall, winter and spring, and I’ve been known to throw one in my car during the summer in case the air conditioning is too cold.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Jul 25, 2017 3:18:58 PM

The Early Bird ~ DIY Birdhouse Décor

One of the best parts of summer is sitting on the back porch and listening to the birds chirp while enjoying a cup of coffee. It doesn’t happen very often, but I cherish those quiet early mornings before the hustle of the day begins. As a tribute to my feathered friends, I decided to decorate the porch with pretty birdhouses.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Jul 19, 2017 4:19:09 PM

DIY Cork Trivet - Video Version

Do you know a wine enthusiast who would love this idea? It only takes a few minutes to create this simple DIY cork trivet. Goodwill Home Decor Expert Merri Cvetan demonstrates how to cut a cork base, and then add wine corks with a hot glue gun. And before you know it, voila...your wine cork trivet is finished! 

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Jun 20, 2017 12:00:00 AM

DIY Cork Trivet

Wisconsin might be a beer drinking state by tradition and history, but wine is having its moment here and across the country. (The French and Italians are saying “Finally!”) In fact, I found a bag of wine corks at Goodwill for a couple of bucks. Someone probably had intentions of making something with them, but gave up. That person’s loss is my gain!

Posted by Merri Cvetan on May 30, 2017 10:07:33 AM

DIY Pet Toy

Don’t forget Spot and Fluffy this summer when you’re shopping at Goodwill! (Do people still give their pets traditional, old-fashioned names?)

This t-shirt pull toy is perfect for any active puppy or kitten. Since Goodwill is loaded with t-shirts; you can make one in every color of the rainbow. They’re machine washable and when they get too ratty, simply make a new one.

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 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 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.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Sep 14, 2016 1:39:29 PM

Welcome Fall

As much as I hate to say goodbye to summer, fall really is a lovely time of the year. It means some of my favorite things—cooler temperatures, wool sweaters, evenings by the fireplace and football. It’s also time to make decorating changes. One of the easiest ways to welcome fall is with a front door wreath. This year, instead of the typical circular grapevine wreath with silk flowers, I wanted something unique. This happened to be an old decorative clock in a key frame.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on May 13, 2016 11:27:55 AM

Guiding Light

Floor lamps come in a several styles. There’s the torchiere, the down-bridge lamp, arc lamp, and your basic floor lamp—the club lamp. 

Lamps can also be very expensive, so when you find one that needs a little bit of work, don’t pass it up. As long as the electrical parts work, you can easily fix up the outside.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Jul 29, 2015 4:28:28 PM

Whooo’s There?

Owl sightings are everywhere. You’ll find them on fabric (clothes and home fashion), jewelry and home décor. Wouldn’t they be great in a nursery? At the very least, add one to your flower garden.