Help Me with my Dining Room Design

We moved into our rental townhouse a little over 2 years ago. And about a year after that we got our dining room table. Really, other than that we've done nothing with this room. Our dining room is part of a larger space that includes our living room and kitchen. 

Here are some pictures of our current dining room area: 

Pretty plain, right? I'd love your help with ideas on how to spiff it up. 

Here are some things that have to stay the same because it's a rental: 
*Paint: The entire townhouse is painted this "chocolate milk" color. It doesn't bother me, though I might go more funky if we owned the place. 
*Carpet: The carpet is yuck to me. It's typical rental grey. It's nice and clean with good padding, but I really don't love it, visually speaking. 
*Random Light: There is a random single wall sconce on the wall. It's not centered. It isn't pretty. It's just there. And it will stay there because we aren't going to make electrical changes in a rental home. 

The things I love, so they have to stay: 
*Table: The table is new and we love it. 
*Milk Carrier: It was my Grandpa's and I love it. While it doesn't have to stay in the dining room, it will find a place in the house somehow. 

Things I need: 
Storage: See the random stuff and printer on the table! It needs to go, or rather be hidden away. 
Update: I also need lighting. There is no overhead light in this area, and it gets quite dark after the sun is gone for the day.

I don't really have a budget in mind, but as little as possible would be good, of course. I don't plan on breaking the bank, but even though this a rental, I need it to feel like home. And after 2+ years, it's time!

I have some ideas of my own, but would love you have YOU weigh in. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

Take a look at step by step at the transformation: 


  1. LOVE that table and chairs!!

    In my opinion, you need a very large piece of art (whatever you like) for the wall that you see in photo one. For the wall with the sconce, I would do a grouping of smaller art work or nothing at all. The lamp in the corner is too small for the space- at the very least I would do a MUCH larger shade. Fun!! Hope you do a big reveal when you're done!

    1. I agree. The lamp doesn't work, but more lighting is needed, it's such a dark corner back there. And I love the idea of a big picture on the largest blank wall. I don't worry, I'll be sure to post pictures as the room progresses! :)

    2. I want this for my storage etc.. http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1286326/sonoma-life-style-4-pc-cameron-console-table-set.jsp?crosssell=true
      A swag light kit with a drum shade for lighting over the table. Something like this maybe? http://www.worldmarket.com/product/jute+rope+electrical+cord+swag+kit.do?&from=Search
      Some mason jars in the milk carrier with flowers or anything would be fun.

    3. Pam, I love that jute rope swag cord. I was considering a swag lamp before but I never like the cords, but this kit is awesome! Great find! Thanks!