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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 Oct 20, 2017 11:49:51 AM

Re-Think Your Halloween Color Palette

It’s time to rethink your Halloween color palette. Instead of decorating with the traditional orange pumpkin, try painting them white instead. Not only can you create an elegant Halloween display, if you use faux pumpkins you can move them from your front porch to the dining room table at Thanksgiving.

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 Merri Cvetan on Oct 6, 2016 1:26:57 PM

Frightfully Delightful

My favorite character from The Addams Family was Morticia. She was dressed all in black from head to toe. Although she was as weird as the rest of the family, she was elegant and beautiful (and she spoke French!). When she arranged flowers in her “green/black” house, she cut off the rose blossoms and was left with stems and leaves. This Halloween project is in honor of Morticia Addams.

Posted by Merri Cvetan on Sep 28, 2016 4:44:44 PM

Little Shop of Horrors


One of my favorite decorating spots in my house is the fireplace mantle. It’s in our family room, so we look at it every day. A mantle display is also easy to change. I don’t redo it every month, but certainly each season. Since fall is such a busy time I decided to come up with an arrangement for Halloween that can be quickly transformed for Thanksgiving.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Oct 30, 2015 10:16:07 AM

Spooky Night

When I was a kid, the best part of Halloween was trick-or-treating in the dark. I’m so glad neighborhoods have gone back to celebrating Halloween on the actual day and at night. That’s half the fun! If you expect little goblins and witches to ring your doorbell, be sure to welcome them with a scary light, or two.

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 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 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 2, 2014 10:39:00 AM

Hand Over the Candy!

Nothing is creepier than a severed hand. Except maybe one hidden in a dish! For this spooky Halloween decoration you need a plastic hand and a silver serving dish with a lid ($3.99 at Goodwill). Don’t bother polishing it up. Old and tarnished is much better.