When designing a High School Senior Album last week, I wanted to add some nice background elements, but didn't want to do anything too busy.
At stage one, I did a simple layout, then placed a nice textured background in. The background was too light for me. Also, it didn't match well with the colors in the photos.
So for stage two I did the following. 1. I sampled the red from the brick. 2. I made a new color block with the rectangle tool covering the background. 3. I changed the color block to multiply and faded it to my liking.
While I liked this color, I wanted to make the images stand out more. Using the marquee tool. I selected around the left image, then holding the shift key, selected around the right image. I duplicated that layer. Then I changed that layer to multiply and faded to my liking, and pow! I had a nice elegant page without much work.