Very inspiring! I am thinking of a bigger tank so I can plant stems plants and still have swimming room for my fish!
Small tanks (or more so short tanks) are fun for stems. You don't need a bunch of light to get color since the light is close to the substrate. Many fish will swim through/behind the stems so it doesn't encroach on their space as much as you would think, especially if you keep the stems lower in front, higher in back.
Hopefully I will have time to trim tonight. It should encourage some growth where leaves were lost as well as get some plants spread out more over the tank.