Use an oversized urn with a sprawling palm tree. A 19th century Victorian Hall Tree in the right home would be beautiful and functional. An antique store would be the best place to look for a piece like this or better yet an auction or estate sale. Use a pair of corbels topped with marble or a pair of iron supports topped with glass for a shelf to hold a vase of flowers, keys and mail.
Pastel or softer colors look better in flat paint. Chocolate brown or very dark colors, I think look better with a little shine to them. The satin or semi finish will keep them from looking dreary by reflecting light around the room. Painting is the most cost effective way to give your room lots of impact. You may want to select a striking wallpaper pattern in keeping with the color scheme of the rest of the home. Stripes are great for adding volume and height.