It’s often the case that a couple disagrees on style but with great design, there’s always a way to compromise! I agree with a lot of what Barbara said above! Here are some areas/tips I can offer you…
The wood paneling, although cool, competes with the wood tone of the floors and dates the room (hello 70s!) so I would paint taht first and foremost. I good way to go, to lighten up the space and suit your husband’s desire for minimalism, is to go white. I love white painted wood paneling and it’s very chic in design these days. I also love the idea of adding some floating shelves or picture rails to display some art. Like in the photo below, a wider shelf to hold objects and slimmer shelf to hold framed art/photos. Some inspo pics…
I would definitely change out the curtains – something patterned but minimal like these: http://bit.ly/1qVfdDN
Add a big area rug under your couch – maybe something like this in probably 8 x 10 depending on the space – measure first: http://bit.ly/1qVfyGB
Add a big mirror on the wall by your dining table
Paint your dining table and chairs – you could mix and match like paint your table grey and your chairs navy blue. Or leave your table wood and paint your chairs white or black and get new cushions. You could also add another smaller area rug to ground the dining area.
Change out your light fixture to something more “now” – maybe something like this is minimal and chic: http://bit.ly/1Wt8ZJa
Either get a bigger shelf or sideboard for the dining room – something like this in white http://bit.ly/1Wt94MV so you can conceal some of that clutter and then display only your favorite 5 photos on top instead of a huge cluster.
Mount your TV on the wall for a cleaner look and put a piece of furniture below that can hold your cable box etc. bonus if you can run your cords through the wall! There’s kits that help you do that like these: http://bit.ly/1qVgGd9
For plants, you could do a big potted plant near the window and some less-sunlight dependent plants on the sideboard in the dining room and a cool succulent in the center of your dining table.
Hope that helps! Can’t wait to see what you do! Post photos in this thread when you’re done! xoxo Happy decorating.