An exclusive interview with international designer Carrie Livingston.

Carrie Livingston shares her secrets on remodeling.

Carrie LivingstonQuestion: My kids want a “grown up” tween room. Any suggestions for how I can give them what they want without spending a fortune?

Answer: When taking on a kids decorating project, allow your kids to be a part of the process. Kids are full of creativity and enthusiasm. Allowing them to be a part of the planning, shopping and work gives them the feeling that their opinion counts. Creating a budget and careful planning at the beginning with your kids, will give them a better understanding of what choices they can make during the process. Allowing them to be a part of creating a space that is a reflection of their own personal style and creativity and one that they can continue to evolve and grow into will give both the parent and child great pride.

Tips to keep to the Budget:

  • * Plan ahead
  • * Create a list at the beginning of what you want to change about the space
  • * Re-use pieces of furniture, baskets or accessories around the house. Sometimes just a quick coat of paint or a new pillow on a cozy chair can create a whole new look with little to no extra cost
  • * Use Children’s Artwork and frame for pops of color on the walls
  • * Decide what are the most important pieces in the room and splurge on those and then find discounted prices for items that may change over time
  • * Try to stay away from a room theme, which will most likely have you redecorating before long. A well-decorated room sans theme leaves room for imagination and can appeal to both tween and parents.

Question: What is a good color for a bedroom where my kids sleep, play and do their homework?

Answer:I think a room should be a reflection of one’s personality however, when it comes to color I always try to encourage my clients with kids to pick a color combination that has longevity and suit a range of styles. Choosing a more neutral wall color allows kids to be more creative with graphic sheet sets, window coverings, pillows, and accessories. The layering pieces can bring color to a room but can easily be interchanged with evolving tastes. If your child insists on a color for the wall that may not be your first pick, compromise and allow his/her color choice to a feature wall. Keep checking back with them so that they still love it, and if not, repaint over it for a new look. Wallpaper as a focal point is also a nice option or a striped focal point wall. Personally I tend to gravitate towards white, grey and blues.

Question: How do I utilize a small space to work as a bedroom, playroom and homework study?

Answer: When it comes to small spaces, take advantage of all useable space. Use it as an opportunity to create order in the space, pairing down items and keeping only what you need. Pay attention to a room’s architecture and if there is a recess in the wall, install floor to ceiling shelving or a built in desk with storage. Another great way to use an alcove, is to create a sleeping or reading nook with curtains above on a track that can close and create instant privacy. A tall chest of drawers or bookshelf is also a great solution to minimizing clutter while having the ability to display your favorite collections or toys. I use mason jars to store pencils, paperclips, stickers or other small things that can be seen through the clear glass and easily accessible while still keeping things organized. I also love to tuck baskets on shelves to hide some of the toys and art supplies that aren’t used everyday. While labeling boxes may be a bit much for some, it actually creates sanity for most. Having a place to put race cars, superheroes or small toys will make the clean-up process easier for kids. Simple hooks at a child’s height are also a great way to keep jackets and bags off the floor.

Use furniture in a room that can have more than one use. A daybed for sleeping or hanging out with friends. A small table that can be used for homework or for their latest project. Poufs in kid’s rooms are also a great option. They’re perfect for extra seating, footstools and even a little coffee table stand. Style does not have to be compromised when it comes to small spaces, but rather creating a plan at the beginning in which every single piece of furniture has to fit a purpose and be as versatile as possible.

Question: What are your favorite online stores for kids furniture and accessories?


Carrie Livingston is an interior designer based in Los Angeles. Livingston travels the world creating one-of-a-kind residential and commercial projects. She opened her own design firm in 2004. Since then, she has opened an additional office in London as well as created a luxurious furniture collection. For more information go to