Many of us feel recessed ceiling lights are necessary, and for those few times when you need a broader, brighter sweep of light (when rooting around for something lost perhaps), they are. But use them with care. You want to avoid that aforementioned wash-out, and instead aim for dappled pools of light and shadow. A design like our Coates will help you do that as it casts soft beams rather than a flat blanket of light (particularly important in a kitchen, where they’re more likely to be on much of the time), but still combine them with table lamps.
The same goes for pendants, which tend to fall into two categories: shaded pendants that cast light downwards, which you’ll likely use over a kitchen island as dedicated task lighting; and chandeliers and lanterns, which are much more about decoration than anything else (something not to forgo – they do it very well) and which, if you do turn them on, should be fitted with low-watt bulbs and, ideally, on a dimmer switch.