ASP.NET offers the "Master Page" construct where you can effectively build a "wrapper" ASPX page that contains common controls that are universal to all pages on your site. All child pages then fall within the context of that wrapper page. Does an analagous construct exist with WinForms? (Perhaps something like "subforms" found in MS-Access?)
It's worth noting that I used the TabControl aggressively on my first WinForm project. Maybe that's as good as it gets?