As with most Google products Reader is utilitarian.
Install the Stylish Google Chrome extension.
Restyle the web with Stylish, a user styles manager. Stylish lets you easily install themes and skins for Google, Facebook,… User styles are themes for web sites. User styles empower your browsing experience by letting you customize web sites. Take out irrelevant content, change colors, or completely redesign the entire site.
Stylish lets you easily manage user styles. Add, delete, enable, disable, and organize with a few clicks of a mouse, no code to edit, no obscure configuration to find. Stylish’s companion website, userstyles.org, hosts tens of thousands of user styles made by other Stylish users that you can try.
Head on over to Userstyles.org and browse the style collections.
Examples of vanilla vs styled Google Reader: