I guess you can say I am a lighting freak. Well designed lighting makes all the difference in the world. You can create or crush an atmosphere just through lighting.
Years ago, in Hamburg, we were invited to friends for dinner. They lived very sparsely, and had little furniture. What my friend Carla did was buy a bag of tea lights, and in the kitchen, she placed lit tea lights on every possible surface. I still remember to this day. It was an optimal use of lighting to create a beautiful atmosphere.