In his book The Periodic Table, Primo Levi mentioned in passing that "chlorides are rabble". That struck me as very well put, and is proof enough (should anyone need one) that Levi had a real feeling for his chemistry. The reason that comes off so well is that when you look through a chemical catalog, if there's only one salt of a given element available, it's almost always the chloride. They're common, in every sense of the word.
The kinship of the positive ions, the elements themselves, are well known. That's how Mendeleev worked out the periodic table, and generations of chemistry students are taught about the similarities among its columns. It's all true, of course, but there are subtle kinships of the counterions, too, a faint Y axis to the strong X of the elements.
Most of the chlorides are quite boring - white powders, almost invariably. The more chromatic elements still manage to do something for you: nickel chloride, for example, is a vivid green (copper less so), and chromium (III) chloride is a striking metallic-flake purple. But if you can't get colorful with elements like those, your counterion is a total loss, anyway.
Fluorides are almost never colorful, but they have a tough nature about them, reflecting their ultimate-hard-anion character. Iodides are the other end of the scale - that's such a big, fluffy ion that it hardly seems bound at all sometimes. Even light is enough to mess with it, and it's a rare iodide that doesn't have a warning on its label to keep it out of the sun, for fear of it turning brown in a death-tan of oxidation to free iodine.
Sulfates are nearly as boring as chlorides, but with a bit more character to them. Nitrates (similar salts from a strong acid) have a much different feel to them, since when you're working with them you can never quite get the thought of explosions out of your mind. It's not completely accurate, but it's still true that you could mix potassium sulfate with sulfur and charcoal forever and never discover gunpowder. The word "nitrate" itself has a menacing sound that it'll never lose.
If you want real problems, though you have to turn to even more loosely bound, oxygen-rich things like bromates, iodates, and (above all) perchlorates.
That's about as bad as it gets inside the confines of inorganic chemistry - to get crazier, you have to trespass into organicky things like azides. Most of the organic counterions, though, are carboxylate salts, which are relentlessly similar to each other. No explosions here - if there's one salt of a element that's guaranteed to be more yawn-inducing than its chloride, it must be the acetate.
These are all classical ions, known for centuries. The fluorides are probably the most nouveau of the lot, since even though some of them occur naturally, most of them had to wait until the industrial development of the element later on in the 19th century. But that led in the 20th to all sorts of odd creatures that (so far as I know) are never found in natural minerals at all. The higher fluorides, things like tetrafluroborate and hexafluorophosphate, have only human fingerprints on them. When you work with those salts, you've thrown your lot in with the synthetic, the man-made, the new and improved. Even weirder ones are surely on the way.