Often people ask me about sample layouts for their Drupal based website. Given the needs & features, the layouts can be anything from standard 3 col. layout to magazine style or business style with slideshows, snippets at many places etc.
One thing that stumbles many are, drupal theme screenshots usually don't look that way. Choosing a Drupal theme is different from say, choosing a Wordpress theme. We cannot easily decide by the looks of a screenshot or a demo site.
3-column layout seem to be best suited for community driven websites. This could be a best place to get ideas for 3 column drupal themes. But you don't have to go by the looks alone.
Some latest 'do all' themes can emulate any visual style. The theme can have 3 columns with content column can be either in center, left or right. Also, the width of 'other' 2 columns can be changed easily. It also have 13 - 25 different block areas so full size banners, slideshows can appear either above the site logo or below the menu bar etc.
The image above shows the available block regions for one such do all theme. We can use any or all blocks.
More over, certain areas like 'footer' blocks will automatically show content side-by-side.
One nice thing about such 'do all' drupal themes are, we can easily use them for 2-column or single column layouts. The side bars can be kept in left side or right side. You can even have 2 sidebars on right side. Best place to look for samples & inspiration are Drupal founder's own website.
So next time if you look for a drupal layout. Simply decide on the category in which your website should fall. Whether it's a
1. Community driven website
2. Magazine style (Professional blog style)
3. Business Style (Big slideshow or horzintal banner on home page)
4. Simple blog
5. Other exotic styles
and choose preferred colors, etc. Your website layout can be created using one f those 'do all' themes.
I'll name just two here. There are many free & paid options available. Some new and innovative options are always coming through.
not necessarily in that order