Wall washers either installed on the wall or aimed down from the ceiling are used mostly to highlight decorative features such as an art piece or a textured finish like a brick wall. However the psychological effect created by lighting the walls can make the whole room feel much brighter.
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.
Don’t limit lighting to downlights. Depending on the location consider wall sconces or uplighting to create a softer ambiance and avoid potentially harsh downlighting that can cast ominous shadows.