I had recently seen on CreativeLive photographers making solid color backdrops using foam core boards. Those are the boards that are foam in the center and foil on the two sides. Then one day I was walking through a home improvement store getting some stuff for the house and as I walked by the wallpaper the proverbial lightbulb went off for an idea. What about using that same foam core board and putting wallpaper on it. So I got one 1/2" 4 by 8 sheet ($8.99) and two different rolls of wallpaper that happened to be on sale for $14.99 each, and a can of spray glue. Now one side of the board is brick and the other is a fancy "Victorian looking" wall. The boards are stiff but they are also lightweight.
One other thing that we came up with when shooting that day. I had some mirrors that had gotten left in the studio when we took the space over. In a moment of artistic inspiration we decided to start using them for background too. We were able to get some interesting added depth to shots, and more wonderful artistic expression. I also have used the mirrors recently for "reflectors" for light on the opposite side of a strobe. They work really well, although they are a little heavy and hard to maneuver. The lightweight reflectors tend to be better usually.
So give the background idea a try, and experiment with single light setups too.