General theming guidance is beyond the scope of these forums as it really is more an issue of learning how to use CSS and WordPress/BuddyPress template loops to create the design you are after.
But, to help get you started, here a few links:
- Advice on using the default BP themes or Skeleton Theme that comes with BP
- A great tool to use while designing your theme.
- Basic how tos on WordPress theme design. NOTE: this link pertains to wordpress themes in general, not BuddyPress themes. But, you should really understand WP theming before you set out to do a BP custom theme.
If you happen to use a Mac… CSSEdit is amazing. It a CSS development tool that let’s you see your changes in real time as you type your code. Similar to Firebug… except that it’s an actual development tool / editor.