To set a warm and inviting ambiance use
Overhead lights are too harsh and glaring,
but may be used on a very low setting if dimmer (aka rheostat) switches are installed.
If you have not already, now is a good time to consider adding dimmers, which require no special wiring and are relatively easy to install by replacing your existing switches.
Never use fluorescent lighting, which makes the room feel cold and unwelcoming. Fluorescent lights are also extremely unflattering, and you may consider eliminating them from your home forever.
Votive candles work great
because they provide warm indirect light and there is really no limit to
how many you can add to a room. Votives are also much safer than regular candles, because the flame is somewhat protected by the glass holder.
For aroma, votives are available in a variety of scents, which can add another dimension to the cocktail party. Scented candles are suggested for the cocktail area and bathroom if they
will not compete with other aromas. Be sure to choose the same scent for all of your candles to avoid competing smells.
Alternatively, you may use unscented votives and simmering cinnamon & citrus in water for aroma. Use unscented candles in the dining
Be sure your outdoor pathways and steps are well lit for safety. Use white glow sticks for extra temporary lighting on walkways and steps, if needed.