Ok, quick pet peeve here. A couple of years ago I remember that the 960 Grid System was all the rage. Designers for whatever reason seemed to fall in love with this concept. Maybe because it makes it easier to concentrate on a single fixed layout – locking in your user experience to just one form. So you build your pretty site on either 12 or 16 column layouts and you kick it over the wall to development. But to me it always seems a bit lazy and I feel like fingernails on a chalkboard every time I see this on a professional site, or even worse, on an Intranet.
Today we’re a modern workforce using many different devices to access content. Users are accessing company systems on large, beautiful monitors or medium sized tablets or even on their mobile devices. Are you really going to lock them in with a set width surrounding your content? You have the browser space, you should be using it. By eliminating a viable workspace by surrounding your content with these ugly gutters, you are effectively throwing away all that extra space for users to add content and collaborate.
If you really feel like you must have the left and right gutters to give your site a clean look. Don’t lock it in by a set pixel value. Instead use a percentage value for your container so that the maximum amount of space is available. Remember, your system should be focusing on function rather than form, let the content be free to expand or contract depending on what view port is accessing the information.