We were excited to talk to Founder and Interior Designer, Elaine Burns, of Pistachio Designs about her NYC apartment. See what she has to say about her design below!


“Living in a small space is par for the course in NYC, and when I purchased this studio about 2.5 years ago, I knew I’d need some creative solutions to make the most of it. The space has beautiful architectural details – large windows, high ceilings, and gorgeous parquet floors – and I wanted to highlight those features in my design. The main space needed to accommodate designated areas for a living room, home office, and bedroom. Below I’ve listed some tips I used for designing the space!”

Property of Elaine Burns, Pistachio Designs LLC,Photo by Tara Kiernan Photography


I’m always on the hunt for sleek and efficient storage solutions. In a smaller studio, with limited closet space, shelving or under-the-bed solutions that blend in and are easily accessible keep my space clutter-free and serene.

Property of Elaine Burns, Pistachio Designs LLC, Photo by Tara Kiernan Photography


My main goal when designing my studio was to have distinct areas for lounging, working, and sleeping within the main space. I worked to make each area feel like it’s own vignette to help separate the spaces while also still keeping the room airy and bright. Area rugs and art installation can achieve this or larger furniture items, like my desk or room divider.

Property of Elaine Burns, Pistachio Designs LLC, Photo by Tara Kiernan Photography


Even if your space is small (mine is just over 500 sq. ft.), it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a large scale furniture piece that highlights a special feature. For me, that meant creating a custom faux shutter room divider. This divider is large enough to conceal the bed when you enter the apartment but still lets light through and draws attention to the high ceilings. It makes for quite the statement when walking in as it’s the first thing anyone sees!

Property of Elaine Burns, Pistachio Designs LLC, Photo by Tara Kiernan Photography


Editing your furniture, artwork and accent pieces is a must for a smaller space and a great method to narrow down which pieces you enjoy most. This exercise usually helps point you in a clear direction of color palette and/or overall aesthetic too. Once you finish your purge and know what you are keeping and sourcing for your space, give yourself permission to splurge a little on a special item, like a special accent chair or unique lighting.


Pistachio Designs is a residential interior decorating firm based in NYC, led by Elaine Burns. Elaine worked on the corporate side of fashion and beauty brands before focusing on her design business, and is equipped with both the creative skillset to design beautiful spaces and also the logistics and operations knowledge to execute projects. Pistachio Designs’ rooms are layered, often full of print and pattern, but most importantly, reflect the personality of each client.

Click to View more of Elaine’s work.


July 22, 2020 — Stacy Garcia

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