Notes From Nashville – A Q&A with Marcia Knight


Nashville-based designer Marcia Knight, ASID has enjoyed a career in the residential design community that spans several decades – with client relationships that have lasted just as long. She’s worked with clients on projects during all stages of the design process, as well as projects for their children and even grandchildren!

We caught up with Marcia to get her thoughts on trends, the importance of a good lighting design and her upcoming projects this year.

Q: How do you incorporate trends into a home setting?
A: I very much enjoy working with clients during the planning stages of building a house and/or renovating. When we start at the beginning, we can work together to identify what they really want – what their lifestyle needs and requires.

My advice is to start with a good foundation – with high quality finishes, furnishings and lighting. Once a solid design has been set, it’s easy to incorporate items that emulate current “trends” through the use of smaller accessories. For examples, pillows, accent rugs and artwork work to freshen up an area – and can easily be interchanged with similar items as trends come and go.

Marcia’s Tip No. 1
Go Beyond the Ceiling

Many people still consider overhead lighting as the only thing to include when illuminating a room. In order to create a lighting plan, it’s important to analyze the existing space and determine the different layers of lighting that are needed – beyond close-to-ceiling fixtures. Multiple light fixtures play a role in a layered lighting design.

  • • Chandeliers, pendants and sconces offer pretty decorative lighting options
  • • Undercabinet lighting, bedside sconces and floor and table lamps serve as examples of task lighting
  • • Accent lighting – such as recessed and track lighting – highlights architectural details or artwork
  • • Recessed downlights provide ambient or general lighting

Seeded Glass pendants, Image: West Point Homes

Q: How has lighting technology changed to enhance your design projects?

A: I love working with the new LED tape strips. So many of the previous options were very cumbersome, which required designers to plan far ahead to incorporate into their projects. The ease of LED tape strips accommodates a variety of applications, including under cabinets, inside cabinets, as well as lining display cases and bookshelves. Plus, they offer energy efficient benefits.

Q: What is an exciting project you are currently working on?

A: I’m working with a family to renovate their ranch-style home – that includes opening up their kitchen floor plan and adding several bathrooms and bedrooms – to better reflect their lifestyle. While these areas are being renovated, we can incorporate layers of lighting to maximize the use of each space. And, because they like to cook with their four children, it’s especially important to consider the amount of task lighting that will be needed. Especially in the kitchen when the children are helping to prepare meals!

Get Ready for New Seasons

When the seasons change, the natural light available also starts to shift. Therefore, it’s nice to find ways to bring a warm glow inside the home even after you lose daylight. Some ways you can achieve this include:

  • Place LED votive lights and candles throughout different rooms
  • Use candle clusters to add a wonderful amber glow that is warm and inviting

Dim the lights throughout the home to provide a nice, soft ambiance that is welcoming and relaxing. This can be easily accomplished by adding dimmers in popular areas in your house. I also like to change small accessories that incorporate seasonal elements – such as decorative throws and accent pillows.

Invite Collection, Image: Beazer Homes

Q: What has you experience been with the Progress Lighting brand?
A: Progress Lighting is a very easy company to work with. They offer an excellent range of design styles and price ranges, which helps when prioritizing budgets. I also love how they are staying current with new design factors and technology, such as the amount of LED options that are available. With aesthetic and functional benefits, it’s an easier conversation for me to encourage my clients to replace lights or add LED options, while benefiting from energy savings features.