Selecting the right background for a photo can make a great difference in the final result. I have a couple of favorite backgrounds when working in the studio.
A solid black background will always give you the most beautiful photograph of your subject. Next would be a dark color. The photo with the dark turquoise background has the same light setting as the one with the black background. Both backgrounds are made of felt because it gives the softest, most even, background tonality.
The center photo with the textured ivory background has similar lighting but appears to have much less contrast or drama. The texture is just a terry cloth towel that creates a lovely, soft pattern to the background.
Another wonderful material to use for backgrounds is a professional gradual tone professional vinyl sheet. You can use it with the tone going from dark at the top to light on the bottom, or reverse it from light to dark. Or, you can use it from side to side and create an interesting shadowed effect the way the bottom photo demonstrates. You can see this background was used in other photos on my blog.
You can create background boards by stretching fabric over display boards so that you can use them outside if you prefer working in natural light.