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.
Goodwill Home Décor 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch Merri on Windy City Live! ... See more videos featuring Merri (and more) on our AmazingGoodwill YouTube channel!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!