Q: I'm planning a contemporary design for the condo that I'll soon be moving to. The choice for the dining-room lighting is perplexing, since it seems a waste not to hang a fixture from the outlet in the center of the ceiling. I'm afraid, however, that a chandelier will look old-fashioned. What do you think?
A: You don't even have to hang anything from the outlet. Even if you're unable to install recessed lighting in the ceiling you can still choose what's known as a surface-mounted fixture. This can be a simple down-light in either a single- or multiheaded array. It will certainly look contemporary, and it may even have fashionable industrial styling.
You should be aware that such a direct light will generally illuminate only the area right below it, so you'll need additional lighting in the room.