Downward pendants bring light close to a key surface like a dining table or side table which helps create a sense of intimacy. Upward pendants and general-glow pendants give a more ambient light to the room’s core with the former letting light bounce downward off the ceiling first while highlighting any overhead features in the process.
Adding lights as decorative elements helps set a mood in a space. Provided that general lighting is already installed using lights instead of wall art can be a decorative way to provide ambient lighting.
If your cabinets don't go to the ceiling consider adding lights above the cabinets. Using a more powerful light source such as a T5 fluorescent increases the reflectivity of the ceiling thereby increasing the light in the room. While increasing light levels is important it is equally important to minimize glare. Use matte finishes to reduce light flares and glare.