There have been a number of additional features in the rendering software I use, and I had a chance to try out some of the new features for this interior I am working on. One feature is translucent materials, where light can filter through a material. This is actually rather complicated to control, but with a thin material setting, it has gotten a lot easier to do. The lamp shades and the curtains in this scene are made with this thin material setting.
The other feature is improvements to the way that sky lighting is handled. There is greater control over the sun and sky settings, so I can adjust things like the soft shadows for the sun, and change the relative brightness of the background lighting. This way, I can dim the outside brightness in a way that the interior lighting will still be bright enough, while capturing the feel of the relative contrast of interior and exterior.