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Lighting Tips

Selecting the Right Lighting for Your Home

Formal Living area of mountain home with wall of windows

Lumiere House Living Room

Lighting is an essential ingredient in making the rooms of a home feel warm and inviting. At ACM Design, we incorporate lighting in many ways to create a sense of place. Lighting highlights architectural details to define the character of a home. Lighting placement can define a conversation area or be a practical consideration for hard working spaces like the kitchen. While all of these elements work together, an often overlooked aspect of lighting in a home is accent lighting. Table lamps, floor lamps and sconces are not only pretty details that enhance the décor of the home, but they provide a nuanced difference in defining a space and making it feel complete. Accent lighting creates the human scale of interaction.


Using Lighting to Highlight Architectural Details

Large open plan eating and den in craftsman mountain home

Bridge House Family Room

In the family room adjacent the kitchen of the Bridge House project, we used wall sconces with a very minimal and streamlined design. Our goal was to eliminate visual clutter and uplighting was the answer to highlight the wood ceiling and emphasize the rhythm of the window spacing.

Another effective way to highlight objects like artwork and sculpture pieces is with small pins lights recessed in the ceiling. Pin lights provide enough light to accentuate the art piece without washing it out or overpowering the artist’s intention and without being intrusive or creating visual clutter.


Blending Different Lighting Types

Modern kitchen design with white cabinets in Black Mountain, NC

Black Mountain Rustic Modern Farmhouse Kitchen

Kitchens are no longer rooms set aside specifically for the task of preparing meals. For many, the kitchen has become the central hub of the home. These spaces act as an important and sometimes primary gathering space for family and friends. Lighting techniques and styles typically seen in other spaces in the home are now a standard part of the kitchen design. In fact, kitchens probably have the greatest combination of different lighting types of any room. Overhead lights provide general lighting. Undercabinet lights provide critical task lighting on countertop surfaces, and when the hustle and bustle of the day has passed, these same lights provide a peaceful glow in the room with low lighting. Pendant fixtures and sconces perform double duty for task lighting, as well as decorative lighting to further define the style of the kitchen gathering space. As seen in the Black Mountain Rustic Modern Farmhouse kitchen, all of the lighting techniques coalesce together to create a warm and inviting space. (Table lamps also have a place in the kitchen to give a sense of scale and warmth as with the table lamp on the center island.)


Creating Impact with a Lighting Fixture

Modern Art Chandelier in Entryway. Statement lighting.

Lumiere House Front Entry Stairwell

Light fixtures also define the style and set the tone for the home. In the Lumiere House project, we choose a statement lighting fixture for the front entry over the stair well that descends to the terrace level. It’s the first thing you see when you walk into the home.  For both the homeowners and visitors alike, this new sculptural chandelier defines that the experience of being in this home is something special.  A curated piece that allies with the extensive art collection visible throughout the home.   The chandelier has an ethereal feel and when the daylight is waning the glow from the chandelier is visible through the front windows.  This day to night shift further changes and enhances the character of the home.


Everything is Better By Candlelight

Master bedroom suite with folding outdoor doors and vaulted ceiling

Modern Rustic Mountain Estate Home Master Suite

Attention to lighting is core to the interior design approach at ACM Design. Candlelight, or more intently, soft lighting, creates a warm glow that emanates thru a space. Candlelight enhances a person’s features, and soft lighting can highlight architectural details, furnishings and accents. This soft glow creates a subtle sense of romance and interconnectivity. Creating the feel of candlelight influences our design selections for such things as paints and fabrics. We want paint color tones to be enhanced by the lighting techniques employed. The same is true for fabrics like textured upholstery and window treatments. For instance, a simple silk drapery panel comes to life with a wash of soft light from a well-placed pin light, adding a feeling of richness to a space.


Consider when next walking into a room and turning on the light switch and then being flooded with overhead light from too many large recessed can lights;–it can feel shocking, stark, even blinding. On the other hand, a single bulb fixture in the ceiling would likely make a room feel empty and incomplete. The goal with home lighting should be to create a space that feels intimate, personal, and connected. Lighting creates the ambiance of a home and showcases life inside. Layering of light by using different types creates visual interest and brings richness and depth to the design. The next time you walk into a room and feel something missing, take note of the lighting. And the next time you walk into a room and feel a sense of wholeness and calm, take note of the lighting.

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