Although I live with warm white oak floors throughout my house, I have always admired the fantastic effects of painted floors. If your floors aren't in great shape and their maintenance is an issue, an artful finish might be a beautiful solution. There are lots of successful examples of floors painted in soft and solid colors on porches or sunny rooms, or painted in two contrasting colors in a checkerboard pattern, and set on the diagonal in kitchens or entrance halls.
The bold white grain on the black painted floor above is one of the most visually exciting I have spied in an extensive personal history of admiring faux finishes. It brings a lot of fun into the room.
Faux Bois - imitation or fake wood, now refers mainly to the finished surface, but originally was used to describe the work of late 19th century French furniture makers starting with wire frames, building up a composite in the shape of the furniture piece and then painting it to resemble wood. More recently, it has become fashionable on decorative accessories as candles, tableware, paper goods and textiles.
Click here and here for more inspiration and instruction on faux finishes. Click here for DIY decorative staircase ideas.