Scott Hanselman blogged Simplify your Visual Studio 2010 Toolbar and Free Your Mind and I was interested to note his ideas about using a minimalistic Visual Studio layout are similar to what I've been using recently. This is my current layout shrunken down a lot in height but not very much in width — I believe in sticking to a reasonable line length, usually with a vertical guideline set at column 100 which is why I can dispense with the horizontal scroll bar.
I'd like to hide the status bar but it tells me when a build has finished.
I've found that using a layout like this helps me focus on the code because there is less visual distraction. It also makes it easier to use two instances of Visual Studio side-by-side which is useful when working on a multi-solution application; and it is effective on my laptop — which has a resolution of 1440x900 — saving valuable vertical screen space for the editor.
As for colours, I've been using the pale yellow background for a long time now. I find it much easier on the eyes than black on white, the default setting which most people seem to use (it's RGB setting is 232/232/166).