Breathe deeply and stay calm; I can talk you through this. Traditionally Arts and Crafts-style homes tend to be on the darker side because there is a lot of unpainted wood used in the finish work. I’m getting the uncomfortable feeling, though, that you are attempting to light the living room with just recessed fixtures. Recessed fixtures alone won’t do much to add any beneficial lighting for the overall feel of the room. They also create unflattering shadows on people’s faces. It’s like holding a flashlight over your head at Halloween. Downlighting instantly ages you at least 10 years. This is only beneficial if you’re nine years old and want to look 19.
When you bring up the idea of recessed MR16 fixtures, I’m hoping that you’re considering adjustable fixtures which could be directed towards art, tabletops, plants and sculptures. These will be neither too hot nor too white if they are used in conjunction with other sources of illumination. The recessed fixtures are providing a specific function, which is accent lighting, but accent lighting by itself creates the “museum effect,” where what you own appears to be more important than family or friends. What you want to do in addition to the recessed fixtures is to add a layer of indirect lighting (also known as ambient lighting), as well as task lighting and decorative lighting. Blending these various types of light together creates a much more alluring overall feel for the room. Numerous manufacturers are now making a recessed adjustable trim with a square trim plate. I think that these would relate well to the Arts and Crafts architecture. Some manufacturers offer these trims in a bronze or brown finish that would blend well into any wood or darkly colored ceilings.