Do you recommend designing for screen resolutions larger than 1024 x 768? Seems like there are so many larger screens now and I would like to take advantage of the extra real estate!
The answer to this question is it depends. Most of the websites we design now are what's called responsive, which means they automatically conform to the size of the person's display. Also depending upon the design, we often set a maximum width of the website to be displayed. If the website is responsive, then yes, you should have no problem designing a website to fit within a 1280 pixel display.
However, pixel density and screen sizes continue to increase and it won't be long before a 1024 x 768 display on a desktop is obsolete. As of February 2014 according to StatCounter, people that have a 1024 x 768 pixel monitor is only 10.78%
You could argue that if the demographic of visitors coming to your website are younger, they would most likely have a resolution greater than 1024 x 768. You could prove this by looking at your Google Analytics stats to see the resolutions of visitors coming to your website. Of course you won't have these stats if you're just getting started. However, our recommendation still stands, if your website design is responsive, then go ahead and use the large 1280 pixel size.
As noted above, you also need to take into account the website's design and layout. For example, the website we designed below has the main navigation on the left. This allowed us to automatically fix the products on the page horizontally regardless of the size of the visitors display. You could show this website on a jumbotron and the product images would automatically move and enlarge to fill the space.
This are exciting times given we used to design websites for 800 x 600 pixel monitors with the big argument being you needed to design for "above the fold". Nowadays with the higher resolution displays and people flicking like crazy on their tablets, there is no fold!