Many people spend a great deal of money decorating and furnishing their homes to create an atmosphere only to find there is something missing. Good lighting will complement and complete the effect you are seeking but remember bright lighting is not always good lighting. A light source creates a pool of light but there is a second effect produced when the light is reflected by surfaces. It is this secondary effect that can not be reproduced in the shop where you buy your lights. Consider where you are to put the light and the surfaces under and around it. What effect will the reflected light have?
Avoid hard contrasts which can be tiring to the eyes and, where possible, try to combine different types of lighting in the same room. Direct lighting for reading or working, pools of light to highlight features such as paintings or objects and washes of light on walls all help to add atmosphere to a room whilst remaining functional. If a room has to perform several functions, consider installing a dimmer. This will allow a higher light level for working or reading and a lower light level for relaxation. This can prove useful too for older eyes which need more light.
Colour is most important, incandescent bulbs help create a cosy atmosphere in living areas while fluorescent lamps give a cooler, more efficient light for utility rooms. A room painted in a dark colour will need more light as much of it will be absorbed, whilst lighter colours reflect light. You can add colour to a room by illuminating a coloured surface.
Avoid glare by placing the lights at a level which prevents the eye from seeing the bulb directly. Pendants should not be hung so high that the bulb is clearly visible underneath. Take care that lights placed over refective surfaces such as glass tables have a diffuser in them.