Whenever I think of great lighting designs, two quick ideas come to mind: texture and movement.
It's amazing how much depth and texture can be created with lighting. Taking a few breakup-patterned gobos (similar styles work best) thrown slightly out of focus, you can create a full textured wall of light by layering them slightly on top of each other across the entire area you're illuminating. Although you may need multiple fixtures to pull it off, make sure that the pattern covers the full area you're lighting.
Secondly, I like to add a little bit of movement to my lighting designs to keep it interesting. Whether it's in the form of a slow moving light or very subtle color change, a little bit of transformation over the course of a session will keep things fresh to the eyes. Just make sure the movement is slow and subtle, or it may become too distracting.
Whether you're creating texture or adding an element of movement to your design, use lighter-colored fabrics versus black drape, as white or gray will reflect more light. And whenever possible, add scenic! Having something to paint on when using lighting fixtures will maximize the impact that lighting can have on any event. John Bleskan is product development manager for lighting and scenic for PSAV Presentation Services.