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.
Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include “Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide.” Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.