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.
In a renovation on the other hand we have to consider what effect a new skylight will have on the efficiency of the existing building. In some cases the additional sunlight (and therefore heat) can help reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the house. It depends greatly on the local climate but also on the design of the building envelope of the house.
Instead of or in addition to sconces hidden lights can add a general glow that bounces off the wall and into the room in an even subtler and more diffuse way. Cove lights are built into niches that hide the light source (often a plain LED strip) but hidden lights can also be obscured by medicine cabinets shelving or storage units.