Brenda's Bazaar Backgrounds offers more alluring designs than I can choose from -- backgrounds, "Welcomes," and buttons for email and guestbooks. The swan and abstract design-squares on my home page are from Brenda's treasurechest.
Brenda also has a link to the Burrills' Beach Bash in Okinawa. Our sympathies are offered on her family's relocation to the lands of winter.
(Yeah, I love winter, but I know normal people have reservations about it.)
Jelane's Free Web Graphics offers "families" of borders, buttons, and bars, nicely labeled for you. The blue borders on my text pages are from Jelane's.
Gini has an excellent and exhaustive list of graphics sites. A couple of the places I stumbled upon accidentally I found later at Gini's site.
Leverage 7 Productions has an extensive collection of animated gifs, like the one below:
And lastly, Moyra's Web Jewels is a gorgeous site. I'm particularly fond of the "cultural" section, from which I lifted the background for this page you're looking at. I liked the medieval background as well, but you can't use 'em all.
Moyra wants those linking with her to do it through one of her banners or buttons:
Hard to believe someone could know less than I do about Web pages, but life is a neverending tapestry. If you fit this description, and you're thinking about creating your own page, first: the whole process is probably easier than you think it is. For instance, there are some good sites online where you can download the most-used HTML commands. I recommend them over the book HTML For Dummies, which struck me as too damned fuzzy to read, though my friends who already know HTML cold thought it was straightforward. If I had only known HTML already, I probably would have found it straightforward as well.
The graphics controversy is something you'll have to face at some point. Every graphic you put on a page will slow down the process by which a reader can access it. I know people who hate graphics -- either they don't have a browser that can handle them, or they can't stand to wait for the download, or they get frustrated by waiting patiently only to find that there's no real content on the page -- just fancy graphics and a few uninteresting phrases.
On the other hand, some of the most graphically intense pages on the Web have been accessed thousands and thousands of times -- I suppose just because they're so damned purty.
The people who hate graphics the most will probably have them turned off through their browser, so they'll never even see the profundity of your visual design. If you want to keep them happy, give them something to read. It has occurred to me, though, that if the Anti-Graphics Forces have theirs turned off anyway, you might as well indulge yourself and pour out as many pictures as you like, to please those who do want them.
I've gone for a compromise position, myself. My home page, for instance, is about as close to the edge of acceptability as I think I can balance, and who knows, even as it is the purists might get tired of waiting.
Good luck with your mission.