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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 Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Feb 18, 2016 11:07:20 AM

It’s a Table! It’s a Seat!

When living in a small space like an efficiency apartment or dorm room, it’s important that furniture do double duty. You just can’t afford to waste valuable floor space. A perfect example is an end table that can also be used for extra seating.

I found this cute little vintage coffee table at Goodwill for less than $7. It’s sturdy, in good condition and has the added bonus of a second shelf. Pull up floor pillows and you have a game table or dinner for two. Put the pillow on top and you have a bench.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Feb 10, 2016 3:47:58 PM

Love Chain

Valentine’s Day might be the day to celebrate love, but it’s also a good reason to decorate the house. If you live in the north, you’re still feet-deep in snow, so a little red will brighten things up.

I made a little heart garland to hang in the window, but it would be just as cute hung horizontally on the mantle.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Feb 3, 2016 2:19:55 PM

Chinese New Year ~ 2016 Year of the Monkey

Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, falls on February 8th this year. People around the world will celebrate the year of the monkey with lantern parades, festivals and parties.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Jan 14, 2016 2:57:51 PM

Decorating for Winter

I think of January as a transition month when it comes to decorating. Christmas decorations are packed away so the house is virtually empty and dark. I miss all the Christmas lights and candles. But, it’s also a clean slate. Before I bring back the accessories I put away to make room for holiday décor, I like to decorate for winter. Spring is a long way off and since we’re stuck in the deep freeze for months, we might as well embrace it. At least from the indoors; I admit it, I’m a wimp when it comes to cold!

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Jan 7, 2016 4:19:21 PM

New Year’s (Decorating) Resolutions



If January had a definition in the dictionary, I bet it would say something like “the first month of the year when people go crazy making plans to lose weight, get in shape and improve their lives. Most fail!”

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Dec 29, 2015 8:00:00 AM

New Year’s Eve Centerpiece Glam!


By the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, most of us are partied out. But, don’t let that stop you from treating your guests to a glamorous dinner or buffet table. I call this my five minute centerpiece. It’s so easy anyone can do it. No sewing, cutting or gluing! Don’t tell anyone you threw it together at the last minute! Let them ooh and aah!
Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Dec 3, 2015 4:33:14 PM

Twinkle Ornament Tree

The Christmas tree is the focal point of any holiday decorating. It doesn’t matter if you have a 12-foot blue spruce, or an artificial table top tree; how you decorate it says a lot about your personality and style. I personally think you can never have too many trees, but that’s just me. But, if you need a small scale tree, or if you just want an extra one, this twinkle ornament tree is so easy, and the kids can help!

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Oct 21, 2015 5:02:47 PM

Dracula’s Feast ~ Halloween Table Setting



Halloween is getting close! It’s time to start planning table decorations for your big party! I love dishes, especially those made for holidays. But, it isn’t really practical to invest in, and store sets of dishes for every occasion. So, this year I decided to decorate my own Halloween plates. Spider webs seemed appropriate and easy to do.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Oct 15, 2015 3:13:55 PM

Happy Howl-o-ween ~ Dog Costume


We put a lot of thought, time and effort making creative and unique Halloween costumes for ourselves and our children. But don’t forget your four-legged friends. Cats and dogs also like to be center-stage when the festivities start.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on May 21, 2015 12:30:00 PM

Rock n Roll! DIY Record Bowls

This week’s DIY project is upcycling albums into decorative bowls. When CDs took over, vinyl records ended up in the sales bin at Goodwill. Although, albums are making a come-back, there’s plenty of old vinyl out there waiting for a new life.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on May 14, 2015 3:33:45 PM

Creative DIY Wedding Reception Table Numbers

Every bride-to-be is looking for creative ways to save a few dollars when planning her big day. One way to save money is to make your own props and accessories. These DIY reception table number ideas are quick and easy!