The Importance of Lighting Design In Your Custom Home Design!

When it comes to custom home design, Jesse and John-Luke consider lighting design a defining feature in any space that cultivates and supports the desired environment. The right combination of direct and ambient lighting can transform a space between daytime and evening, while the exterior architectural and landscape lighting are thought of in the same manner. Today, we will review everything from thoughtful and functional lighting placements to the importance and different uses of ambient lighting placement, alongside some examples that will illuminate (no pun intended) the significance of ambient lighting in any custom home design.

Different Lighting Types: Ambient Lighting: The use of ambient lighting serves a dual purpose; it creates a relaxing environment that helps you wind down before bed, increasing sleep quality, and it enhances the aesthetic appeal of entertaining spaces. When designing a custom home or interior plan, the refinement, warmth, and luxury that ambient lighting brings to a space are striking, especially when considering different lighting colors and the way they highlight specific features that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Layered Lighting Creates Luxury and Depth: One of the key principles in lighting design for custom homes is the concept of layered lighting. This involves combining different types of lighting, such as ambient, task, and accent lighting, to create a harmonious and balanced illumination. To put it simply, a combination of direct and ambient light is desired. Ambient lighting provides overall illumination and sets the foundation for the space.

Task lighting focuses on specific areas where activities like cooking, reading, or working take place. Accent lighting highlights architectural elements, artwork, or decorative features, adding depth and visual interest. By strategically combining these layers of light, homeowners can create a dynamic ambiance that suits different activities and moods.

Smart lighting systems offer even more flexibility, allowing homeowners to program and control the lighting through mobile devices or voice commands. These systems enable the creation of preset lighting scenes that can instantly transform the atmosphere of a room.

Exterior Lighting Extends Your Home:

The exterior landscape design of any custom home is meant to feel like an extension of your living room. Garden lighting, tree lighting, wall washers, and walkway lighting create a functional yet ambiently relaxing and luxurious setting for entertaining and spending quality time together. Outdoor lighting also enhances safety and security by illuminating pathways, entrances, and outdoor living areas. It creates a welcoming atmosphere for guests and adds to the curb appeal of the property. Well-placed exterior lighting can highlight architectural features, landscaping, and water features, adding an extra layer of beauty to the overall design.

Dimmers and Smart Lighting are Important: The ability to control the intensity and color temperature of lighting is essential in creating the desired ambiance in a custom home. Installing dimmer switches allows homeowners to adjust the brightness of the lights to suit different occasions, from bright and vibrant gatherings to cozy and intimate evenings.


Natural Light is Paramount

 If you have followed us on social media, you will know how much intention Jesse puts towards completing sun studies to maximize how much natural light each of his home designs can harness. In fact, our interior lighting models usually don’t consider the daytime use because our goal is to design homes that don’t require lighting to be turned on during the day. The incorporation of natural light harnessing strategy is a crucial aspect of custom home design. Large windows, skylights, and glass doors are thoughtfully placed in each room based on its highest time of average use, allowing ample sunlight to filter into the space and creating a sense of openness and connection with the outdoors. Natural light not only illuminates the space but also offers numerous health benefits, such as boosting mood, enhancing productivity, and reducing energy consumption. Incorporating elements like light wells, clerestory windows, or garden alcoves can maximize the intake of natural light while maintaining privacy.

Our Favorite Lighting Features: Here is a list of our favorite lighting features that we love incorporating into our designs for both functional and aesthetic reasons:

Task Lighting: Task lighting in custom homes serves a practical purpose by providing adequate lighting for functional work or hobbies in your favorite space.

Under-cabinet Lighting in the Kitchen: We always like these lights to be indirect, as we would with most LED lighting. This form of lighting creates a functional workspace in the kitchen during the evening hours.

Charging Drawers: Electrical functionality within cabinetry sometimes requires specialty hardware, but the end result is functional and keeps your countertops clear of cords and electronics.

LED Lighting Inside Kitchen Storage Drawers: The concept of opening a drawer and having lighting to help you find your favorite spices or pantry items makes light work of your everyday tasks.

Wardrobe Lighting: LED lighting inside closets and wardrobes makes finding the right outfit a breeze.

Under Vanity and Stair Lighting: This is one of our favorites for the safety aspect they offer. By placing these lights on a sensor, you can avoid dangerous falls during the night.

Bedside Reading Lights: One of the most desirable task lighting features we can recommend is bedtime reading lights that allow you to keep the room dim while still using reading as a way to wind down before bed.

Outdoor Wall Washers, Pathway Lighting, and Tree Uplighting: You may notice that in many of our custom home design renderings, we include these features in the home.

They can highlight unique details and create a sense of luxurious ambiance that rivals that of your interior during the summer months!

Case Study:

To further our point about the role of lighting in your custom home interior design plan, we wanted to show off some recent examples of instances where lighting changed the feeling you experience when you enter the room, as well as a few of the more minor but intentional examples of how lighting can benefit a space:

The living room of John-Luke’s personal home is a great example of Sconce Lights:

Functional Use: Sconce lights, the unsung heroes of illumination, bring focused light to specific areas. From bedside reading nooks to graceful hallway accents, they can fulfill practical needs while adding a touch of warmth and functionality to your space.

Aesthetic Use: What we love most about sconce lights is that they can be a showpiece themselves, characterizing the space even when they are off. With a range of styles and designs, they effortlessly combine form and function, becoming charming decorative elements that elevate your decor and evoke a sense of refined taste. They can also play a role of offering both direct and ambient lighting to a space – a mixture we believe is crucial.


Functional Use: Chandeliers are mostly decorative in our designs, filling large areas with a captivating glow. Suspended from above, these majestic fixtures cast a soft, embracing light, providing general illumination that bathes your space in a warm ambiance.

Aesthetic Use: Chandeliers are the epitome of elegance and serve as captivating focal points in any room. It could be argued that this purpose can be artistic, and even sculptural. Their timeless designs and graceful silhouettes create a sense of sophistication, evoking a feeling of grandeur and adding an element of visual drama that leaves a lasting impression on all who enter.

Ambient LED Lighting Accents:

Functional Use: Let ambient LED lighting accents be your secret weapon for creating the perfect mood and highlighting architectural features. Whether it’s under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen, toe-kick lighting in the bathroom, or even a subtle backlight behind your entertainment center, these versatile accents provide both task lighting and ambient illumination.

Aesthetic Use: LED lighting accents offer a modern and streamlined aesthetic, transforming your space into a visual masterpiece during different times of the day. By including these accents in your lighting plan, you will be able to engage and disengage these lights at different times of day. Their gentle glow can be customized to create a soothing atmosphere or to infuse your room with a pop of color, adding a contemporary touch that enhances your decor and creates a relaxing environment.

Pot Lights (Recessed Lighting):

Functional Use: Pot lights, also known as recessed lighting, are the workhorses of direct illumination. With their ability to provide widespread general lighting, they create an even and inviting glow throughout a room, making them ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, and hallways. These units can be purchased as adjustable directional units, allowing you to move the direction in which the light shines, making them perfect for tricky areas of low light.

Aesthetic Use: On one hand, pot lights seamlessly blend into the ceiling, providing a clean and unobtrusive lighting solution that lets other design elements take center stage. On the other hand, pot lights can be purchased in round, square, and double rectangular shapes with a range of colors and finishes.

Pendant/Bar Lighting:

Functional Use: Pendant and bar lighting fixtures are the perfect companions for task lighting and adding a touch of visual interest. Whether suspended above a kitchen island, a dining table, or a bar counter, they offer focused illumination, making tasks easier while creating a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

Aesthetic Use: Pendant and bar lighting fixtures are like jewelry and accessories for your space, effortlessly elevating your decor. With their diverse range of styles, shapes, and materials, they become statement pieces that reflect your personal style and become conversation starters. These captivating luminaires add depth, dimension, and a touch of sophistication to your room, truly making it shine. The best part? Pairing the right light bulbs with these fixtures can significantly impact the desired environment, allowing the end-user to choose the brightness or dimness that they want their pendant lights to exude.


Lighting is a crucial element in custom home design, serving both functional and aesthetic purposes. By thoughtfully incorporating layered lighting techniques, maximizing natural light, utilizing dimmers and smart lighting systems, and providing adequate task lighting, homeowners can create the desired ambiance and enhance the functionality of their living spaces. Custom home design is about creating a personalized environment that reflects individual taste and lifestyle, and lighting plays a vital role in achieving that vision. With careful planning and attention to detail, the right lighting can truly transform a custom home into a beautiful, comfortable, and functional sanctuary.

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