Have you considered track lighting lately? If the term "track lighting" calls to mind a straight rod with three or five cylindrical shades for the bulbs, you may want to look again. Track lighting comes in all shapes and sizes these days. You can get track lighting that curves around in a spiral, hanging from the ceiling. You can get it in a zigzag or lightning bolt shape. Even if you want the track to be more or less straight, it doesn't have to be perfectly so. Track lighting with a few curves back and forth or up and down can break up the monotony of that straight line while still putting the lights where you want them.
Once you've chosen the track, you'll have just as much variety in choosing the lights that attach to the track. At that point, it's important to remember that not all track lights will attach to all track types. There are three standard track system and several proprietary systems as well. The three standard systems were developed by Halo, Juno, and Lightolier, the early pioneers of the track lighting method. These systems are not compatible with each other. So committing yourself to one of them will limit you to the kinds of lamps that fit with those systems. Each system has plenty of good looking lamps, though; so this shouldn't be too much of a problem.
The "proprietary" systems might prove more of a challenge. Though the word "proprietary" makes them sound exclusive and therefore pricey, these systems are often actually cheaper than systems that conform to one of the three standards. On the other hand, you don't get what you don't pay for. These systems are often flimsily constructed and poorly manufactured. They're available at most home improvement stores, which makes it easy to get started. But committing yourself to a proprietary system can really cut down on your versatility. You end up committed to only the kinds of lamps that fit with that system, and there may not be much range of choice.
Purchasing one of the standard systems by Halo, Juno, or Lightolier can help ensure that you have plenty of styles to choose from if you want to make some changes or expansions to your track lighting.
The lights themselves come in all varieties. You can get the standard cylindrical shades that look great and get the job done. For a more modern look, you can get conical shades that rest on rods or hang from wires. The conical look can also be soften into more of a "bullet" shape. Any of these shades will come in all sorts of colors. Black or white, silver or brass, blue or green or amber and more are all available.
Once you've decided which system to go with and what lights you want, you're ready to make your purchase and install them. The tracks come in many different lengths and configurations. They can be connected easily to create your own layout. As you think about that, it's important to consider how you're going to get power to the lamps. You can do this via a power supply connected to the junction box or by a power cord to a standard electrical outlet. If you want to connect to the junction box, you can use a Floating Canopy Connector if you don't need power at the ends of the track, or a Live End Connector if you do. Either of these will give your track lighting a professional look that can't be matched by running a cord along a wall. A canopy plate can cover the junction box will add to that effect. On the other hand, if you can conceal the cord well enough, this may be the easier option and is worth considering.