Hey Martin, if you go to After Effects>Preferences>Appearance, you can change the brightness of the After Effects Interface I dont know of a way, to change just the brightness of the tool-bar though.
Well, Once Upon A Time, the interface looked a lot like this here web site -- white and shades of light gray. Makes you wonder why the Adobe thought dark gray was better. I certainly don't think it is. It's just as crummy as an Avid interface.
Sorry, for my late answer, but i'm new to this all and it costs some time to understand how it works.
Thank you for yourt answer. I've allready found this ability to change the brightness, but it does not lead to what i want.
In Photoshop i can change the complete surface by one click, including toolbars etc.
Don't understand why there is no possibility in AE.
I agree with Dave above: I also certainly don't think this dark grey background is any better than the light grey.
If you would like After Effects to provide further options for UI color, please file a feature request here.
For what it's worth, I really like the darker color. I find it reduces eye strain and helps me see what I'm working on. I have AE and Premiere set to the darkest setting for the background and then slightly tweak the highlight colors brighter.