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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 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 Aug 9, 2016 4:19:42 PM

Back to College – Dorm Room Table

Back-to-School shopping starts earlier every summer. If you’re moving into a dormitory this fall, you need more than just new clothes and books. The thing with dorm rooms is they’re short on storage space and each has the same nondescript furniture. This custom folding table is one way to solve both of these issues. You not only get an additional work surface, but it doesn’t take up any space when folded—and you can add your own personality.

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 Mar 10, 2016 4:15:19 PM

Vanity Fair

Do you ever have one of those days when you need a little “me” time? When the urge to pamper yourself is overwhelming? If time at the spa isn’t in the near future, try revamping your vanity. Make getting ready in the morning a special indulgence. 

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Dec 9, 2015 11:19:56 AM

Dining In Style ~ Holiday Touches

As much as I like to change things up during the holidays, I always seem to come back to tradition. I love red-and-white decorations, ornaments and dishes. For this year’s Christmas dinner table, I stayed with the basic three: red, white and green.

I use chargers and placemats a lot when setting the table. They not only add a colorful layer, but set the theme for the rest of the table.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Nov 24, 2015 1:36:01 PM

The Kiddie Thanksgiving Table

If your family is large, chances are you have a kiddie table for Thanksgiving dinner. If that’s the case, keep the kids occupied with crayons and markers (they can decorate their own tablecloth) and have them make turkey napkin rings. They’re so cute, you might want them at the grown-up table, too.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Nov 11, 2015 2:52:34 PM

Family Ties

I can’t believe the holidays are coming up so fast! If you’re like me, you try to get as much accomplished in advance as possible. One thing you can start thinking about are gifts you can make yourself. This upcycled tie scarf is so easy you can make one for every woman on your list! Instead of buying a new outfit, add color to a basic black sweater and you’ll be ready for every party.
Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Nov 5, 2015 3:07:55 PM

Autumn Welcome

When Halloween is behind us and the candy has all been eaten and the costumes are packed away, don’t forget to celebrate fall! One easy way to transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving is to hang a nature-inspired wreath on the front door or entry.

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.