I understand what you are saying about the white and how drab it appears. My house is a Victorian built in 1883. We have added alot of color since buying it 11 years ago. Everything was white and just icky!
Here is a photo of what I did to my fireplace (the room is different now but you get the idea).
What I chose to do was take the color of the Bombay chest you see in front of the window to Sherwin Williams and they matched it exactly!! I took a drawer to them and they were able to match the paint color. The living room is a caremel color with lighter goldish trim work. Although it looks dark in this picture the room is very comfortable with lots of lights from windows. The ceiling is very detailed wood work. I don't know the term for it but people gasp when they look up the ceiling. It is really pretty but dark. My point is even though I painted dark colors it all worked. Pick colors from items in the room that YOU like. To me that is the key sometimes.