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Stacy Garcia with Elaine Burns: 4 Tips for Designing Small Spaces

How do you make the most of a small apartment in a big city? Stacy Garcia gets the 411 from Elaine Burns, Founder of Pistachio Designs.

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stacy garcia elaine burns pistachio designs small space living
Property of Elaine Burns, Pistachio Designs LLC, Photo by Tara Kiernan Photography

Stacy Garcia recently spoke with Elaine Burns, Interior Designer, and Founder of Pistachio Designs about her NYC apartment and how she’s designed for large living in a small space. 

“Living in a small space is par for the course in NYC, and when I purchased this studio about two and a half 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!”

Burns’ tips for design small spaces:


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.

elaine burns stacy garcia small spaces
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.

elaine burns stacy garcia small spaces
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!

elaine burns stacy garcia small spaces
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.


For more on Small Space Living, visit this month's issue of Furniture, Lighting & Decor.

Designer Stacy Garcia
Designer Stacy Garcia focuses on patterns for hospitality and home.

Meet Stacy.

A leader in design, Stacy Garcia has built a global lifestyle brand featuring products with personality. Her designs aim to be inviting and add to the sense of well-being to all who enter a hotel or home.

Stacy strives to inspire designers and design-minded individuals to create distinctive environments that have a positive impact on others. Noted for her bold color combinations and unexpected designs, Stacy Garcia remains a leading innovator in the industry.

The Foundation

Stacy holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Surface Pattern Design from New York’s prestigious Syracuse University and studied Textile Design at Central St. Martins in London.

She began her professional career selecting color palettes and assisting in design and showroom development for Ralph Lauren’s Home Collection “I learned about the art of licensing and lifestyle from one of the masters in the retail world,” says Stacy of this pivotal experience.

Following her work with the iconic brand, Stacy was hired as Senior Designer for Richloom Contract Fabrics, where she directed the textile and pattern design collections for their hospitality division.

Blazes Own Trail

At age 26, Stacy decided to strike out on her own and founded LebaTex, a commercial textile supplier, named after her Great-grandmother, Leba. In 2004, she created the global lifestyle brand, Stacy Garcia. Both companies are headquartered in New York. Today, the Stacy Garcia design house produces designs for textiles, carpeting, wallcoverings, furniture, lighting, pillows and mosaics.

Stacy Garcia offers a complete design story in the hospitality industry. Stacy Garcia branded products can be found in five-star hotels, resorts and residences across the world.

At Home in the World

Taking a global perspective on design comes naturally to Stacy. She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, to parents who she says, “Spent a little too much time following the Grateful Dead on a motorcycle.” A descendent of German, Russian and Polish immigrants, Stacy is the mother of three boys and a recently adopted Russian daughter, and enjoys traveling with her family.

Connecting Through Design

“At the end of day, design is about wanting to feel connected,” says Stacy. “It’s a form of communication – a language. If you are part of a tribe of people, you feel more connected. I’m inspired by the designers, manufacturers and individuals with whom I work; and I hope to empower others to have the confidence to make their own connections and creations – in design and in life.”

To learn more about Stacy Garcia, visit her blog, life-styled.net or website, stacygarcia.com

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