Many homes built before World War II had almost no fixed lighting. The result was that as night fell, rooms became as dim as Paula Abdul at a Council on Foreign Relations meeting. The reaction to this was built-in lighting solutions that were anything but.
Here's what went wrong:
Recess Time Is Over It's true that recessing light fixtures into the ceiling can flood a room with light, but is that what you want in, say, a bedroom? Furthermore, the end result of such an installation is a pockmarked ceiling that looks like a meeting room at a convention center.
Tracks of My Tears Another response to darkened rooms has been track lighting, but it comes with its own set of problems: It creates a vaguely department-store vibe with its pseudo-high-tech fixtures, and those fixtures are often dangerously close to your head when dropped from many mid-century homes' seven-foot, six-inch ceilings.
Variety Is the Spice of Light Over-reliance on either of these options compounds their problems. A well-lit room has multiple sources of illumination (ambient, accent and task). Using one for all three means nothing is done well.