- Do a black background.
- A longer, but a thinner piece of drift would to give your tank some more height and character.
- Maybe some carpet plants
- Or a black substrate. I didn't even notice the cory at first.
- If you have any airline tubing, consider doing all black so it blends into the background better.
I don't know what kind of fish you have in there or how big the tank is, but a school of cardinal tetras would really liven things up. I think they are the best color for size/price on the market.
Don't be afraid to plant near equipment! When I first starting scaping, I was reluctant to place anything near filters or air-stones or heaters. But try it out. Sometimes you'll lose a plant, or it'll get dis-lodged, but othertimes, it's a very effective way of covering hardware. Corkscrew Val and Dwarf Sag cover heaters and air stones super well for me. Filters are a bit trickier.
A lot of the replies about short in front, taller in back are great! Playing around with levels, you can also plant in or on top of different types of wood (sometimes you'll need to carve a hole for plants, most times, some hemp string or super glue works fine!) to create levels. I use Anubias, Java Moss, Java Fern and Pennywort for this. Surround the base of your plants with different river stones or rocks also, it can completely change the look of your planted areas! There's tons of ways to create new effects. Just sit back and allow the artistic juices to get flowing. Like a fish Picasso, if you will.
You can also add color very easily by introducing different plants (I run *no* CO2, so none of my recommendations should require any crazy set-ups) of different shades/colors. Flame swords and red tiger lotus are my favorite 'reddish' plants that can be grown submersed with no melting.
As far as I can tell, I don't think your tank is ugly at all! Just young! Give it time to fill out and really establish a root system, and you'll see your tank become a full ecosystem in no time.
Everyone has given great ideas - though I know sometimes budgets means we can’t be as quick as we like. I agree with many: the most immediate way to ‘pop’ the aquarium would be to add a black background