In my previous post I mentioned some of the changes made to my dining room in the last year but might have given the impression they were all improvements...I'm happy with some of the changes but definitely not the light fixture (!), along with a few other things.

From my perspective, the biggest challenges with my dining room are:

1) No window and no natural light
2) It's a must-walk-thru room to get to the family room beyond and the kitchen to the right
3) The room is only 10'ft wide x 13' 6" long

Changes made so far that I like:
- Placing a table off to right side with a bench greatly improved the traffic flow in the room. We already owned the dining table, bench and chairs so they were just moved from other parts of the house. The seating works for our family of 4 and the round shape makes the bench easy to access. When guests come, we have five other matching chairs and a table leaf so we can seat up to 8.
- Changing the baseboards from 3 inches to 6 inches to match the family room addition (also replaced them in the living room and hallway)
- Moving the shutters to the family room as it feels more open and allows me to place the Wisteria demilune table in the room (no longer for sale - is the black finish too much?)

Changes I do not like:

- The light fixture!! I didn't want to reposition a chandelier/pendant off-center in the room and over the table as I thought that would magnify the placement of the table off to the one side. However, I think the light fixture I bought via the internet is ugly and does nothing for the room! The ceilings are 8 feet, and my husband is 6 ft 1" and my son is already close to that, so I really don't want something hanging down in this room.

- The plates aren't doing anything for the space. For that matter, there's no focal point in the room.

- Lack of cushion and pillows on the bench. This photo emphasizes to me how much orange is going on with the table and chairs. The cushions on the chairs are from Wisteria but they're no longer available. It's a white and caramel stripe on a blue/gray which I really like. I have one more cushion left and have wondered if I could use it combined with other fabric to make a bench cushion. Here's the blank wall across from the table. Don't you love the placement of the light switch and thermostat!
Things I'm wondering about??:

- Room Color: The yellow is Martha Stewart Yellowware and it's strong. My husband and kids like it, and I'm fine with it, but I'm wondering if the white wall below the chair rail looks dated?
I've thought of doing a stencil in a similar color over they yellow but I'm not sure I can live with pattern for the long term.

- Different Lighting - Is there a ceiling mounted light fixture out there that will look good or should I consider removing the overhead lighting all together and going with sconces only? Would this fixture work or would I be repeating the same mistake? (Laurie Smith Millennium collection - 18"square, 5" high)

- Artwork, Mirrors? - The wall behind the bench is pretty much on the same plane as the living room wall so I'm hesitant to hang just one painting over the bench as it seems like it will mimic the one painting over the fireplace. Would large scale antique mirrors on either side of the doorway to the family room work (something like the one below)? I wouldn't want to do regular mirrors as one will reflect the living room curtain and the other will reflect the outdoors as seen through the living room window.
Ballard Designs Villaine Console mirror, 40"H X 30"W

Here are two dining rooms that caught my eye. I like these wallpaper panels - they add interest and would be easy to change. (image from Canadian House and Home, photography by Andrew Grinton - for more pics go here )
This is designer Victoria Neale's beautiful dining room from the recent CharityWorks GreenHouse. Makes me wonder if I could slipcover my bench to reduce the orange wood tones and add a more comfortable and finished feel to the room? (photography by my notting hill)

So, what do you think? I'd love to hear your advice and suggestions!