Way to Glow

Designer explains why lighting must come first

Jordan Nichols
Photo by Colby Rabon

Lighting may be the least acknowledged aspect of interior design, and yet the right or wrong choice in this area can impact everything. Lighting Designer Jordan Nichols of Christie’s Lighting Gallery agrees. “Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, it truly sets the tone and mood of a space,” she says. “Lighting directs the design that follows.”

According to Nichols, well-chosen light fixtures can completely transform a space, even before anything else is done. “I’ve seen it many times. When doing a remodel, if you just update the light fixtures and ceiling fans, that gets you a big bang for your designing dollar.”

But sensitivity to subtle visual differences is a major requirement of becoming an ace lighting designer, and Nichols knows that a dimmer can be a homeowner’s best friend. “You really should have every light in the home on one,” she counsels. “It makes your space so much more flexible.”

Lighting is also a layered design aspect, inclusive of overhead lighting, like recessed ceiling lights; ceiling fixtures such as pendants; and task lighting such as reading lamps and under-cabinet lighting in kitchens. It’s all very space-specific, Nichols notes. One may want warmer, gentler lighting in a bedroom and something brighter and focused in a kitchen. Uplighting can provide unique drama, accenting landscaping, art, or statuary.

The designer is a native of Canton in Haywood County and a 2017 graduate of Western Carolina University’s Interior Design program. Her father works in furniture installation, and at first, she tried her hand at furniture sales. But ultimately it wasn’t for her. 

Designer Jordan Nichols calls lighting “the jewelry of your home.”
Photo by Colby Rabon

“I ended up getting an internship at Christie’s for the summer of 2016, absolutely loved it, and realized it was my calling,” she says. “I started there full time the next summer and have been there ever since.” 

She finds the genre to be “a wonderful mix of the technical and the artistic. When you engage in this particular design process, you’re starting with a blank canvas, which is fun.” 

When Nichols works with new clients, “I like to take them on an initial, relaxed walk around the showroom and see what they gravitate toward, discuss their budget, and keep things loose,” she says. “As the design plan evolves, we decide on things like style, finish, and size.” 

As for trends, Nichols observes that she’s seeing less bronze and chrome fixtures and more antique gold, brass, and black; and, in bathrooms, increased use of polished nickel. “Simplistic, clean lines are also giving way to more classic shapes and even pleated fabric shades on ceiling fixtures,” she reveals. 

Variety is everywhere. Once fixtures and landscape lighting are squared away, outdoor lighting projects also include fun mood lighting, like creative string lights. 

It’s a design direction that offers consistent excitement. “Lighting is to the home as accessories are to your outfit,” says Nichols. “It’s the jewelry of your home.” 

Christie’s Lighting, 3 Design Ave, Suite 105, Fletcher; 828-650-0223. (Also in South Carolina at 2333-A North Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville; 864-710-0260.) www.christieslighting.com

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