Q: You’ve mentioned that recessed lights aren’t the most flattering, so is there a balance to shoot for between recessed and ambient? In one of your blogs someone asked you about lighting for a long rectangular family room with a 9-foot ceiling and you suggested quite a bit of recessed light, including some soffits with recessed lighting. I don’t think you mentioned other lighting, so I’m a little confused.
A: Yes, using just recessed downlights in a room produces harsh shadows on people’s faces and makes the ceiling feel lower. I would recommend dividing the ceiling into thirds and installing a pair of pendant fixtures, which will provide both ambient light and decorative lighting. I would then use recessed adjustable fixtures to direct light toward art and tabletops for accent lighting. I think the room in the blog you are referring to had a pitched ceiling, so the soffit around the perimeter of the room provided a space for both indirect lighting on top and recessed lighting along the bottom to highlight art on the walls.