No overhead lights Unless it's a low-watt chandelier or really awesome hanging pendant that throws just a spot of light on a table top, turn off those overhead lights and turn on the ambient lamps.
Make sure you have enough lamps and don't fill them with high-watt bulbs. 40 watts to 60 watts max (or their compact florescent counterparts, of course) are really perfect, and if you use compact fluorescents, try to use ones that have a very warm, yellow glow. We totally test ran a ton of bulbs for you.
Candles and fireplaces are the way to go In fact, they create a wonderful glow that nearly everyone looks spectacular in and make for such a nice atmosphere. Consider grouping candles in vignettes that will create strong, warm glows in corners of your space or as centerpieces at a table. Go for unscented unless you want to knock all your guests over with smell.
Use indirect light for lighting art or other fun vignettes Using directional lights on art or other fun table top setups (you don't have to get fancy, a simple desk task lamp used creatively can be a directional light) can create a great perimeter of light that you can supplement with groupings of candles or a few low-watt, warm lamps.
Don't forget about the outside! If the weather permits and your guests might enjoy wandering into your fabulous outdoor spaces, don't blind them with security lights or other fixtures you use for your outdoor use. Turn those off and replace them with lovely outdoor lanterns or a string of white lights.
MORE LIGHTING TIPS AND RESOURCES FROM APARTMENT THERAPY:
• Tips For Lighting Your Party
• Lightbulb Wars: We're Testing 18 Light Bulbs in 10 Weeks!
• The New Look Of The Light Bulb: Are You Ready?
• Party Lighting: For The Bathroom
• Top Ten: Clear Glass Table Lamps for Under $200
• A Sampling of Favorite Floor Lamps
Images: Beth Zeigler and Anthropologie.com