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How should I brighten my dining room?

I live in an apartment that has pretty much no natural light. For the entire main area, the only window is the slider door in the living room (behind/adjacent me from where I took the picture). That leaves my dining room feeling dark, even though I have super bright bulbs in the light fixture. How should I brighten up the space? I'm thinking a lighter rug, but worried it will stain easily, especially if I drop food on it or something. I'd like to keep the artwork just to save money from having to buy a new one. I'm a college student on a budget, so anything I buy would have to be affordable/minimal. I also want to keep it all neutral. Any ideas how else to make the room brighter?

Current dining room:

Dining room with lighter rug:

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