Get Into Position!
With a clearer understanding of how positioning works, you can now begin to apply positioning in your design work. Depending on the target browsers you must support, you might determine that another approach is necessary, such as combining a light table for basic structure. However, if you are targeting contemporary CSS browsers, you can create entire designs based on positioning schemes.
Absolute and relative positioning can be used for a range of contemporary browsers, including Internet Explorer 5.x and later, Netscape 6.x, Mozilla, Opera, and Safari. Just be extra careful because box model problems in some browsers affect the way positioned boxes are interpreted. Therefore, you'll want to be sure to use HTML 4.01 Strict or any version of XHTML with proper DOCTYPEs to ensure DOCTYPE switching. You might also need to use some CSS hacks to ensure that your schemes work in IE 5.x browsers.
Read more about DOCTYPE switching in Integrated Web Design: CSS Beyond the Retrofit. You can learn all about hacks in Integrated Web Design: Strategies for Long-Term CSS Hack Management.
So although it takes a deeper understanding of CSS to actually apply positioning well, the bottom line is that positioning can in fact be used with confidence in many scenarios.