This is what the dining room looked like last night:
And this is what it looks like now:
I made some shelves! I'll remove the clamps tonight (I glued a board to the foot of each side plank for stability). They're not finished or painted, because I'm not sure where they will ultimately end up. The main two things were: get rid of those god-awful sheer curtains at the windows, and get a shelving unit up to put the little houseplant babies on. And open the wall up to be lighter. It faces east, over the neighbor's driveway to the side of his house, and it's entirely canopied by huge oak trees from his yard, so it tends to be dark in the dining room.
I made up the shelves as I went along. As always with anything I build, it's pretty half-assed. But if it works, I'm happy.