Recessed fixtures can be a valuable addition to a bathroom, when used correctly.
I like your “triad” rule for lighting a bathroom vanity. We were planning to fill the ceiling there with recessed downlights, but I also want to have wall-mounted lights to help with shaving and make-up. However, for the ceiling light, do you recommend we install the surface-mount fixture in addition to canisters, or should we dispense with the canisters completely in the vanity area and save them for the toilet, entranceway, etc.?
If you install a surface-mounted fixture in the ceiling, the recessed fixtures are unnecessary, except for wet-label-rated ones that could go over the tub/shower area. If it is a master bath or a powder room where you have a piece of art that you might like to illuminate, then adding a recessed adjustable fixture would be a valuable addition. A recessed fixture over the toilet is okay for light reading, although you have to kind of lean back so that your head doesn’t cast a shadow onto your Sports Illustrated.