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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 Oct 26, 2016 11:55:28 AM

Bewitching Hour Halloween Party

Holiday parties can be formal or casual, planned or spontaneous; however, they should always be fun— especially at Halloween. Even kids can appreciate the effort it takes to set a “fun” table. This year, I’m sticking with traditional Halloween colors of orange black. If you follow any of my advice, you know you have to shop all year long for certain items like dishes in unusual colors. Snatch up orange-and-black dishes whenever you see them at Goodwill. Mismatched china is OK. 

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Oct 17, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Scaring Up Some Fun


What’s the best part of Halloween (besides the candy)? Scaring anyone who dares to enter your house! I like small displays in unexpected corners that take people by surprise. You don’t have to spend tons of money coming up with and creating spooky decorations.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Oct 12, 2016 3:40:54 PM

Billboard Breakdown

Check out our 2016 Halloween Guide to learn how Home Décor Expert Merri pulls together the ghoulishly great costumes for our Halloween Billboards!

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 7, 2015 3:39:37 PM

Pumpkins Galore

I hear from lots of people who consider themselves craftily challenged (is that a word?); people who like easy DIY Halloween projects. So I’ve come up with two new ways to decorate your pumpkins. No sewing or hot glue required!

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Oct 1, 2015 11:59:55 AM

Cast an Eerie Glow

Halloween is a month away, but if you’re the party host this year, I encourage you to start making your decorations now. Do a little every week so you won’t be overwhelmed at the last minute. Set up a spooky corner with your handiwork, or decorate the buffet table.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Oct 29, 2014 1:59:00 PM

Pumpkin Parade

Need a last minute Halloween idea? Here are two simple ways to decorate pumpkins without carving. And they literally take only a few minutes. I used mini pumpkins, but you can use the ideas for big ones, too.


Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Oct 21, 2014 1:01:00 PM

Welcome to My Labor-a-tory!

Every self-respecting haunted house has its share of potions, specimen jars and body parts. For my party, I placed them all safe and sound in a laboratory cage. No touching allowed. 

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Oct 15, 2014 1:46:00 PM

Happy Haunting!

I love to re-purpose items I find at Goodwill. There’s just something fun in take something intended for one purpose and turning it into something completely different. Or, in this case, I took Christmas houses and “remodeled” them into haunted houses. They’re the perfect Halloween party decoration!

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Oct 9, 2014 11:23:00 AM

Eat, Drink & Be Scary!

Since you’re decorating your home with scary and spooky DIY Halloween projects, your wine glasses and napkins should follow suit.  

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Oct 17, 2013 3:49:00 PM

Come and Sit For a Spell

Halloween is getting close and it’s time to start bringing out the spooky and creepy decorations. Since we like to re-use our stuff here at Goodwill, I love it when I can re-purpose something I purchased and used earlier in the year. Remember the chairs I used in the garden this summer

It was out in the yard for months, so the finish is even more worn and rustic. Perfect for a Halloween Witch display. 

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Oct 10, 2013 2:18:00 PM

Smashing Pumpkins

I’m always amazed at how expensive real pumpkins are. They’re great for carving jack-o-lantern faces to greet trick-or-treaters, but they only last a few days, and then end up on to the compost pile. I wanted to decorate pumpkins this year that I can save and re-use every Halloween. Fake pumpkins are plentiful at Goodwill from 49¢ to $1.99.