Most clients I experience want to feel as though they have input into how things look. I think that's just human nature. The key for me has been to always provide directed choices rather than open-ended questions.
What this means in rather than:
"What color do you want it?"
"How do you think it should look?"
You ask something along the lines of:
"Do you want that blue or green?"
"Do you prefer the way button A looks or button B?"
This may seem like a very minor thing, but it's not. You are limiting the input from the client without them directly realizing it. This helps the client feel vested and involved because they are making choices. But, in turn, it greatly lightens the load on you because you are limiting the scope of choices available.
The same philosophy works for just about any design element. You just have to ask the questions the right way.
- Do you want that a serif or sans serif font?
- NOT "What font do you want to use"
- Do you want the background to be an image or solid color?
- NOT "What should the background look like?"
- Ok, which image [this one] or [this one]?
- NOT "What kind of image do you want?"
- Do you prefer the types size in A or B?
- NOT "What types size should I use?"
Truth is, even using this method, you're almost always going to run into that one client that just sucks up your time by being indecisive and wanting constant changes. In those instances, I politely explain that a choice has to be made and stuck to otherwise I'm wasting too much time reworking things I thought were complete.
I'm odd in that I do not limit client revisions in my contracts. I've always been of the mindset that I'd rather have a satisfied client than one that left angry because they reached a revision limit and didn't get what they wanted. I've never really been bitten by this practice. Sure I may need to do a couple extra rounds of revisions for a client, but they leave happy and willing to return to me for more work. Which ultimately means I don't care about the extra revisions.
Many professionals do limit revisions though. So if that model works for you, have at it.