Recessed lights can be a wonderful addition to a lighting plan, but they are unfortunately so often over-used or just positioned poorly, resulting in the dreaded Swiss cheese effect where the ceiling resembles – well, a slice of cheese with holes.
The sad thing is that this is such a permanent installation and hard to fix after the fact.
Recessed ceiling lights are really not meant to do the job all by themselves.
Just like all other light sources, they need to be backed up direct or indirect lighting fixtures.
If all the light comes directly from above it creates harsh, unpleasant shadows and glare.
Instead of trying to illuminate a room by shining the lights straight down, try aiming the light towards the walls to illuminate artwork, beautiful cabinetry, a fireplace or your collections. The light that bounces back will be so much more pleasant.
You might have to invest in new trims for your recessed lights, but if you know the brand, it is an easy retrofit that is well worth it.
At the same time, while you have the ladder out you can then replace the energy-guzzling reflector lamps with LED lamps, so you can put the ladder away for good on this project.
In residential spaces with extra high ceilings it is actually better from a lighting design standpoint to bring most of the light down to the level where you’d “normally” find a ceiling. This can be done with pendants or a suspended track or rail.