This is lighting you can see. It makes a statement and sets a style within the room. It stands or falls on its own merit. It is also the one item that so many can get wrong in either style or scale. It’s also the one where most of the budget should be spent.
Obviously, because it is visible, general lighting should blend or match with the scheme you aim to achieve. Fortunately, the choices are endless. Apart from centre lights, you can form accents with wall lighting and table lamps. Each fitting will be their own visual effect. From each fitting, the light will bounce around to reflect colour from the surrounding surfaces.
Do not be afraid of the size of a fitting, it is generally better if it is larger rather than smaller. You just need to ensure you have enough headroom in traffic areas.
Functional lighting such as down-lighters or any focused spotlight may be used to enhance an object that can be seen as part of the general lighting as well as concealed lighting. This is particularly useful for statues, paintings, flowers or indeed furniture of sculptural merit.
I have already intimated that general lighting can be expensive so it is imperative that you seek design advice if you are not sure. It is just a waste if you spend money on expensive fittings which don’t work in the room.
The rules that apply are often subjective and depend on experience and personal taste. It is my belief that table lamps always look better in pairs even when not on the same item of furniture. I also feel that wall lights are better as accent items in their own right and should not be considered solely as a light source.