Donald, thanks, I hear you. I worked on a folded dog bone for 12x20 a few years ago, which I decided I liked enough to build - but then work got busy and my health deteriorated (much better now, can work on a layout). Both still have trains "just" looping around. The most recent design maximizes the curvature at O90.
I guess its a trade-off and preference, appeal. I think that any layout will eventually lose it "new and amazing" aspect, and perhaps become boring. [unless its a monster layout, which I could never finish]. I am actually considering the lack of complexity in construction as a positive, I don't want to bite off too much. Anyway, your points are good, thanks!
The 12x20 layout below could easily be extended to 24', and allows trains to reverse themselves. At one time I felt that being able to reverse a train's direction would be a cool way to send a train out from the yard, reverse it while running the loops, and return head-in back to the yard.
A variation in 12x18:
Here is another 12x20 I did a few years back. It has a couple of interesting features, but still loops around the room.
Your points are good, and I don't know what the "right" answer is, its just based on your "givens and druthers", and right now I feel that I want a plan that maximizes the curvature with numbered turnouts so I can watch trains smoothly run through the track. I like the bigger operating area where a couple folks can feel comfortable (and I can use the space as my 'Man Cave' with a computer and large monitor. I expect it will get old at some point as all layouts seem to do.