I do like the look of the sites without everything being it boxes...it looks a little more "cleaner" and less dated. Same with the font, it seems...a little "form letter-ish"? Not sure how to explain it. Almost like the site was created from one of those "easy site creator" things. I also agree about having it fill the screen. The forum fills my screen, even though it is wide-screen, but the rest of the site only fills half the screen.
As for colour...I've always been partial to clear...
Hagar:"What kind of dog is that?"
Man with dog:"He's a nice dog!"
Hagar:"You know, at the end of the day, that's always the best kind."