Take a look at this communication app I am making for our small company (you might need to open it in a new window to see it clearly):
The application is docked on the right side of the screen. It stays on top, but it never overlaps other windows because I've tricked the computer into thinking that it is a Windows Bar.
Everything is working out great and the CEO loves it, the problem is, the top half looks a bit bland. The bottom half looks nice and professional, the top half just seems... ugly and I can't think of what to do with it.
I've got an option screen that I think looks nice:
I've also got a popup for when you click on the "Choose People" button.
What can I do with the top half to make it look nicer?
Well, I was going to do Roger Attrill's design, problem was, labels apparently don't have a background image property and it was going to be too hard to overlap controls.
I ended up going with the other two answers. I thought you guys might be interested in seeing the final result: