Remember too that not all templates are portable, and you may have limitations regarding the amount of tweaking you can do. One size rarely fits all. If your site is designed to your specifications, you have a lot more room to wiggle.
I agree with the concept of reviewing sites and making a list of what you like/don't like. Overall, your content will help to dictate the look and feel, but having a wish list will bring you closer to your ideal end result.