Can IRC clients look good? If so why aren’t there good looking ones? The majority of the issue is the focus on information which isn’t a bad thing but without thought you end up with things like HexChat. I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just not as good as it could be.
TBH this looks like something that was built right around XP’s appearance on the scene. Not Microsoft’s or Window’s best time design wise. We’ve really come a long ways so why is there so much wasted space here? I understand wanting to see as much information as possible but look at the low hanging fruit.
So what might a modern take on this app look like? After spending an hour this is what I came up with. It has room for improvement, for instance I think the text could be denser and smaller, there is a lot of wasted space which I’d like to take care of but I think this gives you an idea of what you could do.