It felt so dark and drab with all of the dark wood so I knew painting the walls a lighter color would be a huge improvement. We decided to use the same color we had in the living room so that it would flow nicely. Now it is bright and much more inviting.
We actually got the table from our neighbors and we loved it so we knew that would stay but the chairs were cheap wooden fold up ones we both had before we got married. Since dining room chairs are not typically cheap we found various ones we liked at antique malls and the Ikea As Is section. I just painted the chairs and table legs black to make them cohesive.
As for the details, I really like birds so I put them wherever my husband lets me. I would say that is the obvious theme.
We also had to incorporate something Joel collects...he keeps reminding me he lives in our house too?